78rpm related Scanning

  • Here are a few tips on 78rpm related scanning. As a Windows only user, I'm not aware of equivalent software for Linux, Mac etc. so comments from users of other systems are very welcome.

    Scanning records

    Except for the smaller 78rpms, most are too big to sit flat on the scanner glass. And since the scanner focus is set to the top of the glass, large items scan out of focus.

    The main item of interest is the label on the record. Here's how I do it, and its the method recommended by some other 78 sites.

    1. Put your record on the scanner so that one part of its edge touches the glass. If you can remove your scanner lid, try using the longest part of the scanner area, with the edge of the record in contact with the shortest side of the scanner area.

    2. If your software allows it, take a preview and set the area to be scanned as slightly bigger than the label.

    3. Scan it at a fairly large resolution. I use 600dpi.

    The following instructions are based on the Paint.Net program, which is available for Windows for free at http://www.getpaint.net/. Non Windows users will probably be able to find similar software like gimp, etc. Please add your suggestions to the comments!

    4. Select the circle/elipse tool (dotted circle on tool bar). Hold down shift, click on one edge of the label, and drag out to include the whole label. This will mark a perfect circle on the image. If you get it wrong, just keep doing it again until you feel its satisfactory.

    5. From the menu select "Image"-"crop to selection".

    6. You'll probably need to straighten the image. From the menu select "Layers" - "Rotate/zoom". On the controls that appear, the rotate is controlled by the top slider and/or the top spinedit. Use the top or bottom edge of the controls box to line up something on the label image horizontally. When you are happy with the result, press the OK button.

    7. Most 78rpm sites like a 600 or 700 wide pixel image, but before you do this sharpen the image (menu : "Effects"-"Photo"-"Sharpen" and I usually use values at the high end of the slider). Then resize your image to what you want (menu : "Image"-"Resize", and you'll need the "Maintain Aspect Ratio" box set).

    Scanning Sleeves/Covers.

    You need to make four scans of a 10 or 12 inch cover or sleeve - one on each corner - and stitch them together. For Windows machines the best stitching software is Microsoft ICE  . Any recommendations from users of other machines ? After you've stitched the images together you'll need to straighten,crop, and resize as you did for record labels.

    Scanning Documents

    One of the biggest faults in scanned documents is "Bleed Through". This is where the printing on the other side of the page you are scanning shows up on your scan. You can minimise this by placing a piece of thin black card directly behind the page you are  scanning - assuming your document is black print on white. I got a pack of five of these black cards for under $1/£1/1 EU. I cut one card in half, so I could use them when scanning two pages of smaller documents, where the open book would fit onto the scanner. Minimising the bleed through will also help if you are doing OCR.


  • Sam H
    Sam H There are many photo programs for Mac. I use photoshop but there are free alternatives. Try: gimp, iPhoto, pixillion and photofy - just to name a few...
    December 5, 2014
  • Julian Baker
    Julian Baker Great blog post, Wes. Very helpful information about how to 'join' a photo together.
    December 15, 2014
  • Tom Jardine
    Tom Jardine Wes, thanks for the tips on scanning! 10" labels scans come out better for me than 12" records. The glass on my HP Officejet is just over 8.5" wide which leaves the label too far away for proper focusing even putting one edge of the record on the glass....  more
    January 15, 2015