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How to Convert Computer Output Microfilm to Digital Image

Computer Output Microfilm (COM) is the most tricky type of 16mm roll film to convert to digital image. Computer Output Microfiche is not problematic, but its roll film version creates numerous issues for roll film scanners not manned by an experienced scanner operator.

The true professional and experienced scanner operator relishes in the challenge of scanning Computer Output Microfilm to digital images because it truly pushes his or her level of technical expertise.

Why is Computer Output Microfilm is different than tradition roll film? Regular roll film has frames containing documents with a clear separation/space in-between each frame. The edges are nice and contrasted from the background of the film. Scanners can be set up to detect on these edges and separate each frame to create individual images.

Convert Computer Output Microfilm

However, Computer Output Microfilm usually has very thin edges between frames and almost no space in-between them. This is due to how they were created: they were electronic data stored on a PC and were transferred to 16mm roll film.

Depending on the layout of the Computer Output Microfilm, the experienced scanner operator can attempt to detect frames by carefully choosing multiple sense areas, and modifying edge detection filters, but the operator is at the mercy of the nature of COM, and this usually results in missed detection.

Another aspect that is film dependent is if the COM has blips or not. If the COM has small markers on the outside of the frame, it may be possible to detect each image. However even this may not be an exact science due to the nature of COM.

The final method would be to scan strips of several images with a backup over-scan to guarantee that all frames are captured in these ribbons. Then these giant images must be manually split and cropped to create individual frames from the strips.

If you have Computer Output Microfilm to convert, please contact Generation Imaging today, CONTACT US