Abusing my scanner to capture slide mount notes

I can’t find any other place to ask this, so I’ll try here.

I had several thousand of my in-laws’ slides and negatives professionally scanned recently. Tthere are a lot of the slide mounts with hand-written annotations with names and dates that I would like to capture. So, I came up with something I thought was clever enough. I have a Brother MFC 8710, and I put the slides on the glass plate. I point one of these lights at the bottom of the open scanner lid to bounce light off of it and illuminate the slides. Scanning with xsane works pretty well, and I can see the image of the slide well enough in my scan to match it up with the professional scan. But the slide image is pretty much monochrome.

Here’s an example. This is a scaled down version of the professional scan of a slide:

And here’s my scan of the annotated mount (and the image):

I realize this is a pretty weird thing to do, and the current result is probably adequate. The image is recognizable enough to match it to the full size scan. But if there’s some easy way to improve the color in my scans, I would love to do that. I’ve tried playing with xsane settings and curves. I tried a warmer (4800K) light source. Nothing made any discernible difference. And I’m not sure what would cause the mount to scan in color, but the slide image to turn out monochrome.

You could try making a reflector…try first with tin foil maybe to see what you get then you could try the card stock…there are other solutions for a regular scanner people hack but this might work for you?? I think maybe your extra light is cancelling out your scanner light or something so the film portion is black and white?? https://www.lomography.com/magazine/131781-how-to-scan-film-without-a-film-scanner

I tried a sheet of blank paper behind the slides at first. And I’m using the top of the scanner as a reflector. This is the only way I’ve gotten enough light through the slides that they’re visible. Everything else so far (including the light on lower modes) just under-exposes the slide image.

Just for kicks, I even tried all 3 color filters with the lights. I still wonder if the difference in color temperature between my light and the scanner light is the issue. But all the filters looked about the same. Which makes me want to figure out how to get a RAW image from my scanner. I’m scanning 18 slides at a time, and no matter what color filter I use, the light around the edge of the slides is white. So I suspect it’s some auto-correction that’s causing that, and maybe the monochrome slide images.

This is just a really rough shot of a page of 20 slides photographed together on a light table. I digitized the slides separately in high res, but for recording the written captions on the slide mounts it should be fine doing 20 at a time.

As I say, this is just rough. To do it properly I’d use two overhead lights, on each side of the page, at 45 degrees to the page to reduce or eliminate reflections and light the table evenly. I’d probably also use cross polarization for the best results, but for this demo I didn’t bother. You can also see that the slide mounts are not all lit evenly in this rough example.

In summary, the slide page is on top of a daylight balanced LED light table. I used an overhead light, also daylight balanced, lighting the slide mounts. Adjust the intensity of the overhead lights (or move them closer or further away) so they balance with the backlighting on the slides.

Here’s a crop from the high res.

That looks better than mine. I don’t have a light table, since it was my father-in-law that shot slides. I never really have. Maybe I should get one. Thanks.

Just make sure that the light table and the overhead light are the same colour temperature, i.e. either daylight or tungsten. The cheap light tables sold on ebay or amazon, such as the Huion, are about 9000 K and would be very difficult to balance with any overhead light.