No, I am not talking about having to cope with my dear sweet wife and adorable kids being out of town for any time. I merely meant that my box of shame has finally forced me to investigate the wonders and mysteries of batch scanning.
I have been a big fan of the Vuescan scanning software for quite some time. It is a 3rd party application which can be used to control nearly any scanner. I have used it with at least six different scanners over the last ten years or so with great results. I love it for its straight forward (if detailed laden) interface, consistent usage model across both film and flatbed scanners, and high end features such as color calibration/profiling, multi-pass scanning, and infrared cleanup of slides.
I am usually a control freak and like to tend to each scan one-by-one, but with 18 rolls waiting for my attention I figured it was time to learn to automate!
I was afraid that I would lose some control if I used batch mode, but actually it is more about saving user time than automating. I enabled Input>Batch Mode>Auto & Crop>Multi Type and started a preview on a cut strip of film with six images. Vuescan proceeded to perform independent preview scans of all six images.
The beauty is that before performing final scans, Vuescan allowed me to step through each preview and adjust scanning setting for each independently. I rotated for vertical if needed, set scanner focus point, adjusted crop (though auto was almost always perfect), and even adjust color settings. Then when I hit scan it executed all six final scans but with their independent settings in place. This might not have sped up the overall process, but since I could focus on other tasks (like a blog post) during the preview and scanning phases it felt like I was much more productive.
I wish I had tried this before, as you don’t lose any control at all. And it also makes me seriously want to process slide film as strips for batch scanning rather than mount them since the days of analog slide shows are pretty much over.
Oh, by the way, one down and seventeen left to go…