Film Recorder

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Slide Tips

 Using the Polaroid Film Recorder

The purpose of a film scanner is to convert an analog medium (film) into a digital one.  What do you do when you need to go the other way and convert digital information into film?  Although computerized projection systems are reducing the need for such conversions, the traditional 35mm slide presentation has a lot going for it.  It is usually easier to lug a tray of slides and a slide projector around (and find a place to plug it in) than it is to carry a laptop and a projection unit, plug them (and the mouse) in, untangle all the cords, boot the system, defragment the hard drive, remove the viruses, find the file - you get the picture.  For the purpose of making 35mm slides from digital images, our department has 2 Polaroid Film Recorders.  These instructions will help you use them, at least to print from PowerPoint.  While it is possible to print from other software, including Photoshop, we just haven't had the call to do so yet.

 

Which recorder to use? The Polaroid CI-3000 (above, left) is an older unit. Its maximum resolution is 2048 lines/inch, which is more than enough for an attractive slide, and which may be of higher resolution than the images you want to place on it. The chief advantage to this unit is that it is located in the computer lab, where it is more available for use. It is also somewhat faster than the other film recorder.

The Polaroid HR 6000 was purchased in 1999. It has twice the resolution (4096 lines/inch) and a newer camera unit. It is located with the other graphics equipment, and access is restricted. It is available for any student to use to prepare class-related graphics.

Both units share many features. In particular, they use the same software interface and film. There is also an additional camera back that uses Polaroid Instant Print film for making photographs; the print back will fit on either of the film recorders.

The following steps for printing assume you are using PowerPoint and that you are sitting at whichever computer the Polaroid unit is attached to. Instructions for printing to a Polaroid unit over the network follow.

 

1. Start RasterPlus95

From the Start:Programs menu choose RasterPlus95

 
2. Configure the Queue:
  1. Select Edit: Queue Properties from the menu.
  2. Select the Transform tab and set it up as follows:

  1. Select the Server tab and set it up as follows:

4. Select the Device tab and set it up as follows:

5. From the Device Tab, click on the Options Button
and set it up as follows:

6. Close the options window and click on the Advanced Button in the Device tab. Set up the advanced options as shown.

Do NOT close RasterPlus95. Leave it open and proceed to the next step. You can Minimize RasterPlus95 by clicking on the "-" icon in the upper right hand corner.

3. Set up the Printer Options:

1. Open My Computer and double click on the Printers folder. Select the appropriate Polaroid printer and Right click on it. Choose Properties on the menu that appears.

2. Click on the General tab and check the settings:

3. Click on the Details tab and check the settings:

4. Click on the Paper tab and check the settings:

5. Click on the PostScript tab and check the settings:

6. Click on the Device Options tab and check the settings:

7. Click on the Graphics tab and check the settings:

8. Once all the settings have been checked, click OK

 
4. Printing from PowerPoint:
  1. Start PowerPoint and check to be sure that your presentation is ready to print.
  2. Use the File:Page Setup Dialog (below) to ensure that the setup is for 35mm slides (otherwise there may be blank areas on either side of your slide.

  1. Go through your presentation slide-by-slide to ensure that reformatting to fit on the slides has not altered the appearance of the slides.
  2. Good slides will not have the information too close to the edge of the slide. The printer tends to lose a little of the information at the edges; in addition, the focus at the edges of the slide is often not as crisp. Be sure to leave some "empty" space around your graphics and text.
  3. For more hints on slides, click here.

6. When you are ready to print, use the File:Print menu to bring up the print window (see image to right). Be sure that the correct printer is selected (the Polaroid is rarely the default) and that you are printing the slides you want to print. It may well be that you have simply made corrections to a few slides and don't really need to print all of them.

7. When everything is ready, click OK. This will print the file, a process that may take a few minutes.

8. Locate and Click on the RasterPlus95 icon at the bottom of the screen:

 

5. Checking the Output and Printing the File

The file is not printing at this point. You can now use RasterPlus95 to verify that your slides will print correctly.

1. Once RasterPlus95 is opened, you should see your file listed in the queue. You should also see a toolbar with a magnifying glass allowing you to Preview All Files. Click on the magnifying glass.

2. In the preview window, check the slides carefully (you will only see the last 8 or so). Look for any potential problems. For instance, in the image below, you can see while spaces to the right and the left of the slide. This occurred because the Page:Setup dialog in PowerPoint was not used to size the slides for a 35-mm slide. Instead, the setting was left at the default, for an on-screen slide show. In this context, "on-screen" means on the computer screen, not on the projection screen. If this happens to you, click on your file in the RasterPlus95 queue and hit the delete key to delete it. Then, go back to PowerPoint, change the page setup, recheck the formatting of each slide, and try printing to RasterPlus95 again.

 

3. Load the Polaroid Unit. To do this, slide the cover latch to the left and allow the back to drop down on its hinge. Place the film canister at the top, with the "axle" of the canister facing to the left. Pull the end of the film down to the white arrow near the bottom of the camera (there are printed instructions there to show you how far). Close the camera back. The film should advance and the LCD panel should say something like "Exposure 1 of 24"

A word on film: To get the best results, use Kodak Ektachrome 200 speed slide film. Not that it's necessarily the best, but it is widely available, the printers have a setting for it, and it is a reasonable compromise between image quality and printing speed. You could get 100-speed slide film, but it will take twice as long to print. You could get AGFA or Fuji slide film, but if you couldn't find the film in the recorder's database, you would run the risk of the slides being slightly off color. I try to keep the end tabs from some film boxes on the bulletin board outside my office; feel free to take one, take it to the film store, and say "I need one of these". The film normally comes in either 24 or 36 exposure rolls.

4. If the slides look OK, use the File:Print Queue menu item to begin printing.

 

Printing will take some time. On the HR 6000, expect it to take at least 3-4 minutes per slide, or about 2.5 hours at a minimum to expose a roll of 36 exposures (1.5 hours for 24 exposures). Watch the process for the first slide or two; then you can leave and come back when you expect the slides to be done. If you are working on the computer in the Bartlett Lab, you will want to place a sign on the computer saying that it is printing and that no one should use it in the meantime. To avoid inconveniencing people who need to use that computer for the scanner, it might be a good idea to plan to expose your pictures overnight. All use of the HR 6000 must be scheduled in advance so as not to conflict with other uses of that computer.

 

5. When printing is done, rewind the film by gently pressing the rewind button on the top of the camera and holding it for several seconds.

6. With the film rewound, open the camera back and remove the film.

7. Shut down the computer and all peripherals.

8. Developing can be done at O'Brien's Photo Center (in the Big Bear Plaza) or at any of a number of other photo finishers. The comments to the right refer to O'Brien's:

 

O'Brien's Photo

If you get the film to them at opening time (10 AM) they can usually have it developed by 5 PM.
Rush orders will cost extra.
Alternately, film dropped off after 5 PM should be ready around noon of the next day.
They are open until 6 Monday-Friday; they close at 5 on Saturday and are closed on Sunday.