We microfilm images on our archive writer machines. This is possible with our state of the art pre-processing software tools, and as we mention, the archive writer machines we are using. Images from different sources, TIFF, JPEG, PDF and other formats can be transferred to 16mm microfilm. Every image is processed and then we transform it in bitonal.

The microfilm images which we output are of high resolution and we can also match special targets regarding quality aspects. We do however recommend to customers that they also check this article prior to the services. It will give them a lot of knowledge regarding the transfer of images to microfilm.

Most important questions and answers about microfilm images

As we already showed in past articles, we love microfilm. We understand though that some people do not know what it is. Microfilm is a micrographic storage medium, on which you can store images and documents. It comes in the shape of 16mm or 35mm film. It is spooled on reels, and the size of the reel is dependant on the size of the film.

Reels for 16mm are around 20mm in thickness. 35mm are around 40mm in thickness. The length of the film can vary. You will probably use the 30.5m / 100ft reels of film. But there are also the 66m or 215ft reels of film. Extra long sizes of 300 meters also exist. So, all in all, you will use microfilm to store large quantities of documents in smaller spaces. In translation, archives micro packaged.

Question 1: What are some examples of microfilm on which images can be transferred

As we talked before, we have the first example based on the height of film. 16mm film is the first and 35mm is the second. This is if we relate to types of film. We will cover this in the next question though. We can have different brands of microfilm. For example Agfa, Kodak or Fuji. The first one, Agfa, has ceased microfilm operations. The 2nd one, Kodak, has sold the division to Eastman Park. Agfa now produces the film for Eastman Park. The film is based on the old Kodak films, with significant improvements being added. Fuji is still producing film. Although it is quite big as a company, quality of the film is debatable. While the output is more or less ok, the film does require some machines to run extreme settings. This, in turn, makes some vendors stay away from Fuji film.

Question 2: What types of microfilm to use

As we learned in the other paragraph, we can classify microfilm on certain characteristics. First of all, it is the height of the film. We already said that it is either 16mm or 35mm. You can choose between monochrome or grayscale exposed microfilm. We also have color microfilm. But this is very expensive because of its rarity. Based on length, there is the film that can be as long as 300m. Some customers also make custom length film, by splicing reels together. Then we have film for microfilm cameras. This is usually silver film. On the other hand, there is special purpose duplicating film. The diazo is the most well renown duplicating film. We also know of the vesicular and silver film. The diazo is still the most used film in this sense.

Question 3: What are the advantages of microfilm

For an entire article on this topic, we will recommend another article of ours on advantages of microfilm. But to be brief, microfilm has been around for a long time. Because of this, technology has become very reliable. Being reliable, we can also achieve significant cost savings. Microfilm is getting cheaper and cheaper. We can also benefit from its small size and high storage capacity. Not to mention that this kind of storage is almost impossible to forge. Then we come to its longevity. Nowadays, digital storage is improving, but every 4-5 years, storage mediums become obsolete. File formats are changing, and with constant updates, old formats sometimes can’t be opened. That is why microfilm is here to stay. It will only be easier to read 100 years from now. The biggest advantage is its simplicity.Another advantage is the writing process which we describe in the next paragraph.

Question 4: How is the microfilming process done?

The microfilming process has evolved a lot in the past 50 years. While in the past we used to microfilm paper documents now we microfilm digital ones. Nowadays we streamline the microfilming process to work mainly with digital files. This makes the process very flexible. It combines the advantages of high-performance document scanners with digital-only documents. This combination works great. It does not limit you to the scanning technology used. So as scanning equipment evolves it does not restrict you. Regarding the rest of the microfilming process, documents are sent to microfilm writers. These writers expose the digital files ono film. The film is then sent to a microfilm processor. Using photo chemicals reveals the images written on film. On the one hand, the developer reveals the image. To stabilize the image on film we use fixer chemical.

Question 5: What is microfilming of records?

This process is actually identical to the microfilming process. It refers to the transfer of paper-based records to film.
In the past, microfilming of records was done directly. You would use a film camera and the paper-based document. You would film sheet by sheet or page by page. Today, we first convert records to digital-based formats.
Sometimes, we combine paper records which we digitize, with digitally born documents. We then send it to the microfilm writer to convert it to film. Most of the time though, we need to create an appropriate structure for the documents before writing them. For this, we use indexing after scanning. This indexing process will help us achieve well-structured rolls of film. Having a good structure will help us retrieve the information much easier post writing.

Question 6: Differences between microfilm and microfiche.

Besides microfilm we also have microfiche. Microfilm and microfiche are both micrographic products. They are made from the same material. They both offer the same reduction sizes and they both perform the same archival duties. Microfilm and microfiche have the same life expectancy. So what is the actual difference? While the microfilm is spooled on reels, microfiche is sheet based. It usually has a size of 105mm by 148mm. Microfiche is used a lot in areas where you need to store microfiche separately. Doctors for example store patient records in folders. Usually, each patient has a folder. So for each case, you would also store a microfiche in that folder. The number of documents is large, but not large enough. Using a roll would not be efficient. But a fiche would. So microfilm and microfiche serve the same idea, but for different storage purposes.

Question 7: What is microfilm in computer?

This does seem like a strange question. Because not many people are familiar with microfilm, the questions might not sound very clear. We have seen customers ask us about microfilm in computer when it comes to scanning microfilms. This process is actually the digitization of microfilm rolls. The transfer of microfilm based information to digital information. Researchers and genealogists are very fond of microfilm scanning. It lets them research a lot more in a shorter time. Such services we do by taking the film, 16mm or 35mm, and inserting it into the scanner.
Post-scanning, images have to be cropped and processed for quality improvement. We index and structure information, then deliver it to readers. It is important to check documents post scanning to make sure they are readable. Most films have been written a long time ago. Therefore, sometimes you need good post-processing to reveal information.


We also recommend reading the British Library guide to preservation microfilming. 

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