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Photo Scanning Gift Ideas

With modern printing technology it’s now possible to create one of a kind items using your favorite photos! Over the last couple of years, there has been a lot of new companies emerging that will help you create completely custom gifts from all kinds of different photos. The trick is, however, that the photos must be in digital format. If your photos have not been digitized yet, the easiest way is to simply scan them into your computer using a high quality flatbed scanner, or use our low-cost photo scanning service. Once your photo or photos are in a digital format, you can then use your images by placing them onto common items to create unique gift ideas for friends and family.

Here is a short list of some of the amazing items that you can create out of scanned photos, slides or negatives:


Photobooks are becomming more and more popular as a way to tell a story with your photos, rather than just have them in an album. Photobooks are often described as similar to scrapbooks, the main difference being that the photobooks are actually printed, rather than having clippings and photos glued or tacked to the page itself.


Calendars are a great way to show off your favorite family photos all year round. In addition to choosing your own unique photos, you also have the option of picking the overall design such as the backgrounds and borders. Never forget a birthday or anniversary again!


Who doesn’t love a new mousepad? Especially a custom designed mousepad with your favorite family photo, or that epic snapshot of your latest vacation. Your will be surfing the web in style with one of these at your desk!

Iphone/Smartphone Cases
iphone case

If you’re sick of the same old run of the mill, overpriced smartphone cases, why not obtain a completely unique one? By using any photo of your choice, you can craft a completely custom smartphone or iPhone case for either yourself or a loved one. Show off your awesome photos right on your phone! These make truly awesome gifts for friends and family alike.

Jigsaw Puzzles

Feeling bored? Or want to keep your kids distracted? Create a brand new jigsaw puzzle out of one of your favorite scanned photos. With different variations in puzzle size and number of pieces, the sky is the limit! Puzzles make awesome gifts for kids and adults alike!

Playing Cards
photo-playing-cardJazz up the next poker night with completely custom playing cards! You can create your deck in any style you choose, using any number of images to create a special deck that the whole group would love. These are also great for a family game night where every member can play with their own custom deck!

and much more! For more gift ideas that you can make out of your own photos, check out sites like Shutterfly or Snapfish

Graduation Slideshow Ideas

Summer is here, and that means warm sun, beaches and graduation time for all seniors across the country. One of the best ways to remind students of their time in school is to present a graduation slideshow highlighting key moments during the years. Instead of just showing off some images, you can combine with music and transition effects that the whole class is sure to enjoy.

There are many ways you can organize your slideshow. It all really comes down to what content you have to work with. For starters, we recommend laying out all of your images so you can get a good general feel of what you’re working with. If you’re making a slideshow for an individual, one idea would be to start with their early years like baby pictures through kindergarten, and eventually all of the way up to high school senior year. If you’re making a slideshow for the entire class, many people sort their images by activity like school activities, clubs, sports, and also by chronological order to capture the full essence of the graduating class.

It’s often best practice to incorporate some sort of music into the slideshow. Think about which songs are special or popular to the graduate or graduating class. These might be the top hits of the year, songs from the Prom, or school spirit songs. It’s also best to mix in different styles of songs to best match the theme or tempo of the images. For example, the football team music might be slightly more up-tempo than the chess team shots.

Title Slides
Adding in some descriptions and title slides can help keep the audience engaged as to what’s going on in the images their seeing. Some of the images might be a little subjective, so some background story can help the viewers feel more part of the action. You can can also use title slides to break up the monotony a bit, and to provide breaks between sections of images.

Video Clips
The great thing about modern digital slideshows is the ability to easily add video and audio clips into the slideshow. This is perfect for showing off the year’s biggest football game win or the last dance of the prom to give the viewer the full experience of being there. By adding effects and clever placements, video can really bring out the best in your graduation slideshows.

Transferring Audio Reels to CD in Los Angeles

Los Angeles reel to reel audio to CD services

Brief History

Reel to Reel audio is a form of magnetic tape audio recording in which the tape is actually held on a reel, rather than being enclosed within a cassette. The reel which holds the tape, also called the supply or feed reel, is attached to a spindle and then threaded through mechanical guides through the head assembly and then onto the empty or take-up reel. This format was commercially developed in the 1940’s by American audio engineer, Jack Mullin with financial help of Bing Crosby. Inexpensive reel-to-reel tape recorders had seen widespread use for voice recording in homes and schools until 1963, when Phillips’s audio cassette took over. Cassettes rapidly replaced reel-to-reel recorders for consumer daily use. However, the slower recording speeds, and more narrow tracks used in cassettes compromised quality.

Once professional recording studios begun using reel to reel audio, they now had several advantages which are unique to tape recordings versus phonograph recordings. Once major advantage was the fact that there was now a way to record past the 30 minute limit that phonograph records had. In addition to longer recording times, audio tape could be easily edited or manipulated in ways not possible for phonograph records. Tape editing is performed by simply cutting the tape at the required point, and reconnecting it to another portion of tape using adhesive tape, or sometimes glue. This is called a splice. Tape can also accommodate multiple tracks, allowing not just stereo recordings, but multi-track recordings too. This gives the producer of the final edit much greater flexibility, allowing a performance to be remixed long after the performance was originally recorded.

Reel to reel tape also has the option to be recorded at varying speeds. In general, the faster the tape speed, the better the sound quality will be. In addition to faithfully recording higher frequencies and increasing the magnetic signal strength, higher tape speeds spread the signal longitudinally over more tape area, reducing the effects of damage or defects in the tape. Slower speeds will help to conserve tape and are useful in situations where sound quality is not as crucial.

Tape Speeds

15/16ths of an inch per second (in/s) or 2.38 cm/s — used for very long-duration recordings (e.g. recording a radio station’s entire output in case of complaints, aka “logging”)
1? in/s or 4.76 cm/s — usually the slowest domestic speed, best for long duration speech recordings
3¾ in/s or 9.52 cm/s — common domestic speed, used on most single-speed domestic machines, reasonable quality for speech and off-air radio recordings
7½ in/s or 19.05 cm/s — highest domestic speed, also slowest professional; used by most radio stations for “dubs”, copies of commercial announcements; Through the early-mid 90’s many stations could not handle 15 IPS.
15 in/s or 38.1 cm/s — professional music recording and radio programming
30 in/s or 76.2 cm/s — used where the best possible treble response is demanded, e.g., many classical music recordings

Transfer Process

Transferring reel to Reel audio can be sometimes be much trickier than it seems. Due to the fact that the tape could have been recorded in a variety of speeds, makes it difficult to initially assess it’s length. If the tape or reel is not marked with what speed it was recorded on, the only way to find out is to load it on the machine and run it. Typically, from my experience with audio transfer in Los Angeles, most home audio recordings were recorded at 3¾ speed, so it’s best to start there first. Once you have determined the correct speed of the tape, you also want to make sure the tape is loaded correctly onto the reel. Sometimes when people have finished listening to a reel, instead of rewinding, they will leave it on the takeup reel, which if played from that, could result in backwards audio.

Reel to reel audio can also have multiple tracks on one side of the tape. One easy way to determine this is to just set the player to play both tracks at once, or stereo, so you can easily tell if the tracks are the same or not. If a reel is not stereo and has multiple tracks, you must either play the reel back again over the other track, or record in stereo and manually split them up in an editing program afterwards. After you decide the reel is ready to be transferred, load the reel onto the player and ensure that the audio out plugs from the reel to reel recorder are connected to your Line-in on your computer. All that is left to do is play the reel and hit record on your audio capture program and you are now well on your way to preserve and enjoy your old reel to reel audio in Los Angeles.

How Many Slides and Negatives Fit on a DVD?

When working on a large project, including huge quantities of slide scanning and negative scanning projects, it’s a good idea to know roughly how many images you can fit on a DVD. This way, you can better plan your discs out and include only the images you’d like on each DVD, without the worry of potentially running out of space.

The chart below will show you the resulting pixel and file sizes from your slide and negative scanning, as well as the max print size you can create from your scans.

Output Output Output Max Print Size Max Print Size Max Print Size
Format 2000 DPI 3000 DPI 4000 DPI 2000 DPI 3000 DPI 4000 DPI
35mm 1400×2500 2550×3750 3400×5000 4×7 8×12 10×15
110 1000×1300 1500×1950 2000×2600 3×4 4×6 5×7
126 2000×2000 3000×3000 4000×4000 5×5 9×9 12×12
127 Super 2800×2800 4200×4200 5600×5600 8×8 13×13 17×17
120 Small 3200×4200 4800×6300 6400×8400 9×13 16×20 20×27
120 Large 4200×5500 6300×8250 8400×11000 13×17 21×26 27×35
3D/Disc 1500×1700 2250×2550 3000×3400 4×4 7×8 9×10

The chart below will show you the resulting file sizes from slide and negative scans at various resolutions.

File Size JPEG File Size JPEG File Size JPEG File Size TIFF File Size TIFF File Size TIFF
Format 2000 DPI 3000 DPI 4000 DPI 2000 DPI 3000 DPI 4000 DPI
35mm 6 MB 14 MB 20 MB 25 MB 30 MB 55 MB
110 2 MB 4 MB 5 MB 8 MB 9 MB 15 MB
126 6 MB 12 MB 13 MB 23 MB 26 MB 46 MB
127 Super 12 MB 23 MB 26 MB 45 MB 51 MB 90 MB
120 Small 20 MB 39 MB 44 MB 77 MB 87 MB 154 MB
120 Large 34 MB 67 MB 75 MB 133 MB 149 MB 265 MB
3D/Disc 4 MB 8 MB 9 MB 15 MB 17 MB 30 MB

The chart below with show you the number of scanned slides or negatives that fit on a standard, single-layer DVD (4.5GB).

Format 2000 DPI 3000 DPI 4000 DPI 2000 DPI 3000 DPI 4000 DPI
35mm 740 315 175 315 145 80
110 2230 890 555 1115 495 295
126 740 340 190 370 170 95
127 Super 370 170 95 190 85 45
120 Small 220 100 55 110 50 25
120 Large 130 55 30 65 55 15
3D/Disc 1115 495 295 550 260 145

How to Make an Animated GIF of a Video File

If you’ve spent any time on the internet lately, chances are that you’ve come across an animated GIF. It’s an image file that contains multiple still-frames that play looped in a sequence. Nowadays, animated GIFs are used to convey messages or reactions that a still frame just can’t match. Plus, animated GIF images are a popular way to show off your favorite video clip without the need for a fancy web video player. Plus, they are really fun to make once you’ve transferred your own home video tapes to DVD.

Look below for a sample of an animated GIF.


At first glance you might think GIFs are complicated to make, but it’s actually the opposite… they’re actually fairly easy to make, if you know the right tools.

Photoshop Method

If you have access to Photoshop, you can have your own animated GIF created in just a few minutes.

(click here for an Adobe Photoshop Free Trial)

Step One: Find a good video sequence with which you want to make a GIF. This can be anything really, but try to go for a clip that’s not too long, as longer video generally leads to a larger file size which can lead to upload and viewing problems for users on slower connections. Ideally, you want to keep your GIF length around 3-5 seconds at most.

Step Two: Download or save the video you’ve picked to your computer’s hard drive. Check out our quick guide on how to download YouTube videos if you need some assistance with that, or check out our free guide on how to rip a DVD if you’re looking to pull a clip from one of your favorite movies. Next, make sure to crop the footage down to only the length you want the GIF to play. Remember to keep the clip under 5 seconds for best results.

Step Three: Now load the video clip you’ve selected into Photoshop. To do this, use the top navigation bar to File -> Import -> Video Frames to Layers. Select the video file you created in the previous step, and it’ll be imported into Photoshop and split into several still images or frames. You can choose to import the entire video from beginning to end, or use sliders to select a smaller portion of the clip. Limiting the frames will create a smaller file, but on the other hand, limiting frames will tend make the video more choppy.


Step Four: Adjust the settings to ensure the image looks clear, and the color balance is correct. Feel free to use a slew of Photoshop touchup and effects tools if you’d like. When you’re finished, navigate to File -> Save For Web

Step Five: These next settings can be adjusted to reduce the size of your GIF. Ideally, you want to keep your GIF under 1MB, but longer GIFs may exceed this. Most people are running on broadband internet these days, so it’s not TOO big of an issue as it was years ago.


Step 6: When finished, simply save the GIF image, and you’re done and ready to start sharing!

Alternate Methods / Web App

If you don’t have access to Photoshop, there are other easy alternatives you can take. For example, if you wanted to quickly make a GIF from a Youtube video, all you’d need to do is first navigate over to

Step one: Start the process by entering a Youtube link. Nearly valid Youtube link will work, however the video duration must be less than 10 minutes in length. Also, keep in mind the video must be viewable by a non-logged in user for this to work! Private videos will not work with this method. Also enter a title for your GIF below the link.


Step two: Once the link is in place, you will be granted more options for how the GIF will be created. Here you can choose precise start and stop times to ensure you capture only the footage you want. You can also adjust other variables such as the GIF length, size and overall quality… all of which will affect the resulting file size, so it’s best to be conservative in these areas to keep the file size down.


Step three: When your settings are where you want them, click “Create” and you’re all set! It will spit out a brand new GIF for you to save and start sharing around the internet.

Do you know of any easier methods? Feel free to post in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!

Transfer Videos From Your iPad to Your Computer

If there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s that mobile technology is increasing at an incredibly fast rate, now to the point where we can shoot HD video from our smartphones such as the popular iPhone or Andriod devices. However, only watching the videos from your phone is limiting at best, so many people wonder how to convert iPod or iPhone videos to another source, or how to place them on a DVD?


For this guide, I’ll be showing you how to transfer your videos recorded on an iPhone, iPod or iPad and transfer them to your computer running Windows. To get started you’ll need your iPhone or other device, the correct USB transfer cable (often the same cord used to charge your phone), and also the latest version of iTunes, which can be downloaded free of charge from Apple [here].

The first step to transferring your iPhone video to DVD is to connect your iPhone to your computer using the provided data cable. If this is your first time connecting your phone to your computer, it will take a few seconds for the drivers to load. If iTunes has already been installed, it should open up automatically. To transfer videos, iTunes is not necessary, but you can leave open as it will begin to sync your other files to your computer (if you have enabled that feature). For Windows users, click on your start button, then select My Computer. You should see your device showing up as a “Portable Device” drive on your computer.

Next, double click the new drive that showed up, and you will be taken into a new directory titled, “Internal Storage”. Double clicking on this will then take you to a folder called DCIM, then inside that is the directory full of all the photos and videos you’ve shot with your phone. Depending on how you use your camera, there may be thousands of images/video or just a few. Most likely, the images will all be labeled as IMG_XXXX, depending on the order of when the shot was taken, however usually a thumbnail preview will be provided. To transfer photos or videos off of the device, simply drag and drop the selected videos or photos from the phone and place them wherever you’d like.

Be default, your videos will likely be in Apple’s native MP4 format, which unfortunately is not the correct format for converting them into a DVD movie. To correct this issue, you’ll need to convert the video to an MPEG-2 format video, which you can find out how to do in the next guide, How to convert video files to MPEG2 format.

Need help? Give one of our stores a call!

We have offices that can handle iPhone video to DVD in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and Denver, Colorado!

GUIDE: How to Rip a CD to MP3 Using Windows Media Player

CD Ripping or transferring your CDs to your computer’s hard drive has several advantages. For one, it allows you to make duplicate, backup copies of your favorite music as either a pieced-together mix tape, or a complete copy of the original CD. Secondly, it allows you to consolidate your entire music collection into one location on a hard drive, forever eliminating the need to shuffle through your sock drawers to find the long-lost album you’re looking for. In this guide, I’ll show you how to rip a CD for archival purposes on your computer. Once everything is indexed on your hard drive, music sorting programs like iTunes or WinAmp will easily allow you to catalog your favorite tunes.

If you’re looking for a quick guide on how to rip or transfer your audio CDs to your computer, it just might be easier than you’d thought, and can often be accomplished without buying any additional software or equipment! If you’re running a version of Windows with Windows Media Player installed, they actually include this feature right in the program.

To get started, first check that the computer you’re using comes with a optical disk drive whether that be a CD-ROM, DVD-ROM or Blu-ray player. Also check that you have the latest version of Windows Media Player. For this example, I am using Windows Media Player 12 on Window 7. If you need a new version, you can download it from Microsoft here. The great thing is that Windows Media Player is bundled right along with Windows, so there’s no need for purchasing more software or any large downloads. Once Windows Media Player is installed and opened, you’re ready to get started.

First, place the CD you’d like to rip into your CD-Rom drive. Depending on your Windows settings, the disc may start to play right away, or ask you what you’d like to do with it. Go ahead and open up Windows Media Player and navigate to the options panel by clicking Organize –> Options.

Once you open the options panel, select the Rip Music tab at the top and you should see something similar to the image below.

Here you can adjust settings to fit the project you’re going for including where the ripped files will be placed, what format the ripped audio will be in and quality adjustments.

As far as the audio format choices, most of the time people will opt for the MP3 format, as it’s a great format for both saving space and keeping the quality of your music relatively high. However, they also offer lossless formats if you want to preserve the integrity of your music for archival purposes. As for the audio quality slider, you can adjust the output quality of the ripped music. Keep in mind that higher quality generally means large files, so if you’re limited with hard drive space, it might be best to not max out the quality of all of the audio.

Once everything is selected to your specifications, press apply, then hit OK. At the main window, all you need to now do is click the button that says “Rip CD”.

The resulting audio files will be placed in the directory you specified previously at the options menu. Now, just verify that the audio files play correctly and you’re done! You can use this method to rip all of your music to your hard drive for future mixes, or just for backing things up.

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