There’s an abandoned McDonalds in California that’s stuffed with 48,000 pounds of 70mm tape. These tapes contain never-before-seen ultra-high-res photographs of the moon shot by the Lunar Orbiter project 40 years ago. Rather than ship the film back to Earth, scientists decided to scan them on the spaceship, beam them back losslessly, and then record the data onto magnetic tape. Not wanting to reveal the precision of its spy satellites, the US government decided to mark the images as classified.
Well, lets just say I’ve gotten better at this over the last couple of years. The left image was one of the first I’ve “scanned” with my DSLR, and the one on the right I’ve just rescanned using the techniques described below (higher resolution available here). Right now I can get higher resolution and better image quality that what street labs give you on CD.
Shoebox is an app by 1000 Memories that lets you turn your iOS or Android smartphone into a scanner for digitizing old paper photos (the photos don’t have to be old, of course). The app goes far beyond manual snapping and cropping: it uses edge detection to help you crop, color balance to compensate for lighting, and auto-flattens the resulting image to adjust for your camera’s tilt. You can download it for free through the iTunes App Store or Google Play.
Shoebox [1000 Memories]
As newspapers struggle to survive in this new digital media world, an Arkansas-based collector named John Rogers has quietly built the world’s largest privately owned collection of photographs by paying huge sums of money for their photo archives. He currently has about 35 million photographs purchased from newspapers including The Chicago Sun Times, The St. Petersburg Times, and The Denver Post. Of these images, he owns or shares the copyright to about 25 million.
Part of the deal in each acquisition is that Rogers’ company digitizes and meticulously organizes the images, making the digital versions available to the newspapers. Apparently his phone is “ringing off the hook” from newspapers eager to have him purchase and digitize their archives.
Collector pays newspapers millions to digitize vintage photos (via Rob Galbraith)