How To Use Transparency Film

A transparency film is a thin, clear material used as a medium of communication. Although digital is now in demand, transparency film is still being used in schools, churches, offices, exhibits and art photography. Sizes range from 35mm film size to 8 inches by 10 inches.

Transparency film has two types: color transparency film and black & white film.

From the name itself, color transparency film is used to transpose colored graphics or pictures. 35mm slide scanners cannot scan photos, but can scan transparency film and 35mm slides, which are called slide scanning. Slides are inserted into the tray or the single slot and fed into the scanner. Transparency film is scanned individually or in groups in the same way. Aside from slide scanner, flatbed scanners can also scan film transparencies and 35mm slides using a transparency adapter.

On the other hand, black and white transparency film is used in lectures and presentations, commonly in school or offices. The film used for overhead projectors is commonly called transparency paper. Typed notes or printouts are transferred to the transparency paper and projected to display a bigger output. It can be written on without damaging the film and projected, which you may have encountered in churches and some presentations. Archivists and presenters use permanent markers to mark or number their slides and to explain them better. This type is also used in black and white photography. One disadvantage of photographic films is its sensitivity to light.

The coming of digital photography did not push transparency films right out though. In fact, with the help of new technology, transparency film still finds its place in the process. A good example is the Kodachrome film, which is the first applicable method of producing a color transparency slide. Manufactured in the year 1935, these transparency films are much brighter than their ancestors. Since transparency films are used to store archival pictures, it is a must for the transparency film to have a long life span. Kodachrome film has an amazing life span of 200 years, much longer than others.

Not only that, small screen printing businesses use transparency films. Logos, graphics and layouts in the computer can be migrated to transparency films, and then transferred to screen to be printed on fabric.

Transparencies can be printed using laser printers or inkjet printers. However, printing on transparency film is not the same as printing on paper. Depending on the kind of printer you will be using, the settings may vary. In buying transparency films, if you plan on using a laser printer, check the label of the pack. It should state “Laser Printer Friendly”. Otherwise, it is “Inkjet Friendly” if you plan to print through inkjet printer. Those made for laser printers will not dry up when printed using inkjet printer. It is also possible for the transparency film to roll-up smoothly, causing printer jams and headaches.

Instead of using stencils in interior decorating, the design, which can be traced by the hand, can be projected using transparency film. This makes designing easier. Transparency film is indeed a big help in handcraftsmanship.


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