Saturday, September 19, 2009


Edited to add: Please check the comment section for reviews from other users of ScanDigital. My experience was positive, but others have not been as satisfied..

Several weeks ago I got a PR inquiry from a company called ScanDigital that takes non-digital media (photos, videotapes, etc...) and converts it to digital formats. I was intrigued for a variety of reasons.

First, because I have a small videography business and I constantly have people asking me about converting videos to DVD. I don't have that capability, but would love to have a reliable place to send clients to.

Second, I was interested because I have thousands of paper photographs that mean a tremendous amount to me but that would be lost if something terrible, like a fire, ever happened to my house. There are too many to grab and take in an emergency (especially considering I'd be trying to save three kids, three pets, and a husband who sleeps through all alarm noises), so having these photos stored elsewhere in a digital format is a big deal. (All of the photos in this post were scanned by ScanDigital.)

My dad and I. I'm a kick-ass card player, by the way.

ScanDigital offered me a gift certificate to try out their services. I decided to use the photo to digital service, but am interested to know how the video service is. If anyone uses it, or has used it in the past, please leave a comment here to let me know if you were satisfied.

I'm going to disclose here that I signed up to be an affiliate for ScanDigital (which means I earn a percentage when people order from their site using my affiliate URL). I did this mostly for my videography business, but wanted to let you know my interest in the company.

The way it works is that you go to the website and download and print a mailing label (and pay a shipping deposit) and then send your photos to them via UPS. I was a little bit worried about sending my precious photos, but I felt better knowing that they had a tracking number attached to them. Also, ScanDigital does a good job of keeping you updated on the progress of your order, so you know when they've arrived, when scanning is done, and when they are being shipped back to you. All of my photos arrived back safe and sound and in the Ziploc bags I sent them in.

They scan all the photos and put them on a disc and in your own online gallery. They are organized in folders according to how you send them in. For instance, I grouped my photos in Ziploc bags and wrote names of the groups on the front. For example, childhood, high school, college, wedding and honeymoon. And that is how they came back. Each photo was named according to the group: "childhood-001," "childhood-002," and so on. It makes it very easy to go through and organize them.

"Childhood-020," a.k.a. me in my favorite shirt.

I sent in 175 or so photos and all of them were successfully scanned, but for one, which my computer was unable to open. However it is available in my online gallery.

The photos were well scanned, with older photos obviously coming back grainier because they were of lower quality to begin with. The photos, most of which were 4"x6" snapshots to begin with, are now available to be reprinted at a larger size.

For instance, this photo of the most adorable puppy known to human kind.
She's still cute, but not this cute.

They will also scan slides, negatives, scrapbook pages, whole photo albums, and other variations. Prices vary depending on the source of the photo, with unmounted photos being the least expensive. Pricing starts 48 cents a photo. It is definitely worth taking a look around their website to see if they offer the service that you need.

I only have one major complaint. The cost. Oy. ScanDigital is definitely comparable and competitive with other scanning services. And the way I look at it is that I would probably never do it on the scanner that I have at home. One or two photos, yes. 175 photos, oh my god, do you know how long that would take? They also have special pricing for packages. But in the long run I figure it's worth it. (Also, their website sometimes runs slow and is difficult to load.)

Especially when the photo I am preserving in a safe place and putting in a format that I can share, print, order, and alter digitally is as important as this:

Honesty Clause: ScanDigital gave me a $75 gift certificate to try out their services. Also, I am an affiliate for their company. Now, because I am so in love with the photos that I got back from them, I'm going to make you look at more below, in sort of random order.

Alex and baby Jack. The scanning is so clear you can still see Jack's tiny little tear.

Jack's first birthday. Sam picked out a cake with a giant fish on it.

At Alex and my wedding reception. I love this photo.
The negatives have long been thrown away by the wedding photographer,
so I'm glad to have it archived.

My favorite wedding photo. Especially because Alex is stepping on my dress.

My mom. Bow-chicka-bow-wow!

More of my mom. I love having these old photos safely digitized.

My dad. Photos of him are the photos I would be saddest to lose.

Can't I do anything by myself, Quinn?

Sam, age one. This photo may be even cuter than the puppy photo above.

My sister and I in college on Halloween.
I was Pippi Longstocking. She was Charlie Chaplain.
Best costumes ever.

My dad in the field. (He's on the right.)
How would I ever feel if I lost this?
Even if you don't use ScanDigital, back up your photos somehow.


Patti Schoenrock said...

I am writing to comment on the quality of the videos available at ScanDigital. I will disclose that I am the mother of Anderson Schoenrock, co-founder and CEO of ScanDigital so I know my opinion is bias BUT they have converted a collection of our home movies to DVD and I could not have been more excited at what I received. I have watched a good number of them and was pleased with the quality and function of the video. Plus I don't have to drag out the movie projector or hookup the old VHS to view them! What I particularly liked is that each video was labeled as per my original AND the protective DVD box that ScanDigital provides comes with a picture log to guide you to where certain segments of the video begin. We had a major celebration at our church this weekend and I was able to easily play videos of events we recorded without making our friends endure our personal videos on the same DVD. It is so special to know that these precious memories are preserved!

Anonymous said...

I had many old tapes converted to DVD by ScanDigital and was very pleased with the results. It was a painfree process from sending them in to getting them back. The tapes are documenting my two daughters as they grew up. What could be more important to preserve? Now that my girls live a distance away, anytime I want to see them I put a DVD on and get a smile on my face! A great job by ScanDigital. I will definitely be sending them futute orders. I would highly recommend giving them a try.

Stimey said...

I'm so glad to hear that the video to DVD service is good. Thank you for the feedback—even if you are the mom of the CEO. :)

Melissa said...

Thanks for sharing all these great photos! The quality looks really good.

Lane said...

Great review. For those interested in this type of service, I can also recommend ScanCafe. My wife and I have had them scanned nearly two thousand old photos that we'd collected through the years. They're one of the cheapest of these services and they provide outstanding service.

A E Havrilla said...

I am currently researching what company to use to scan my older prints, slides, negatives and videos. ScanDigital looks like a winner. I did see mention of ScanCafe and I love their prices (about 1/2 compared to ScanDigital) and it is reported that they do quality work. BUT they are processed in India. Now I understand they need jobs also, so nothing against them BUT so many folks are out of work here in the US that I feel I shouldn't hesitate to pay more to keep the jobs here (CA in the case of ScanDigital). Plus, so many people comment on how fearful they are to send their precious prints and all via UPS. I'm thinking the chances of them getting lost or damaged just might be a little greater on such a long journey.

L. Johnson said...

I thought their Groupon deal looked great, so I bought it. I waited a few days before I sent my materials in because I thought they’d be swamped with so many people taking advantage of theGroupon.

On 8/10, I went online to place my order and debated whether to pay an extra $24.95 to have my 7 videos converted to a hard drive instead of DVDs. After 2 or 3 online chat sessions with a clerk at ScanDigital, I decided to pay the extra amount (noted on the order form), and sent them off.

Early in October (yes, about 7 weeks after I sent them in), I received a box from ScanDigital. Inside, there were my original mini-cassettes, 7 DVDs, a hard disk, and a receipt. On the receipt, they reported an unauthorized charge to my credit card made on Sept 29th for an additional $144.65! They had transferred the videos to DVDs AND to a hard disk, and automatically charged me for both when all I had ordered was a transfer to the hard disk (pretty explicit on the order form).

I called ScanDigital to find out WTF. Kelly told me to look at the website, that the POLICY OF CHARGING ADDITIONAL AMOUNTS TO PEOPLE’S CREDIT CARDS is spelled out there. I had to laugh because the website has entirely different content now than it did 2 months ago when I placed my order. When I told her that, she said, “Oh no, our website doesn’t change. It doesn’t change EVER.”


That’s what they did for me – $1.35 per minute of video turned out to be the "great" Groupon deal. Grrr...

Anonymous said...

I bought a Groupon for ScanDigital, and a month after I submitted my video tapes, they emailed me that there was going to be a delay on my order due to large volume of orders (Maybe they shouldn't have issued a Groupon then!!). I told them I needed my tapes by April 15th (2 months after my submission), or I would like my tapes returned with a refund. They emailed me back saying I will receive them by that date. On April 15th, I didn't have anything in the mail from them. Then I called... They said I can have everything in a week... They called half an hour after to say they just realized the format of my tapes and it would take another month.. (!!!!) They just realized??? You mean during the 2 months they didn't have a chance to check even the format which would take them only 10 minutes? And after promising I would have my tapes by April 15th - even if they were not finished, they forget and don't even let me know??

I don't know how their service with photos is. But I wouldn't recommend them with videos unless you want to wait forever without any idea when they will finish... I hope it's worth the wait, otherwise I will be very MAD!

I am now freaking out after reading in the reviews that I cannot make copies of the DVD's. If that's the case I will be furious. I will call them to make sure on Monday, and cancel my order if that's the case. Why did I wait all this time and pay all this money? And if they ask me to send a hard disk.. I can't go through the hastle!! I chose ScanDigital because of convenience. I didn't want to find a store nearby, or do the tapes myself. If they are causing all this frustration there is no reason to use their services. There has been other online deals with other companies, and I passed on them because I trusted ScanDigital. This is very very irresponsible and dishonest.

Kim in NY said...

I just received my large order back and feel so sad. I was so excited about having this project completed. I have about twenty discs.

Of the two I have tried, one will not play in my husband's SONY VAIO laptop. When I put it in my MAC it plays nicely but has "video calibration" popping up all over the faces. I knew it was an old low quality tape to begin with, but their adding these words everywhere did not help.

The second plays in both computers, but the sound is so quiet that I have difficulty hearing what is being said with the volume on high. I wish someone had helped us out with sound levels. The brochure says "All materials are inspected, manually processed and quality reviewed by trained technicians." Someone was sleeping. I had no intention of going through all these CDs now, but it appears I have only seven days to get back to them.

Also, their online "tracking system" showed me as having received the package a week or more before I did.

I would have called and asked these questions, but they are west coast and I am east coast so timing such calls in busy days is tough.

Oh, and I cannot manipulate these video files at all or copy these discs for safe keeping which I planned on doing and putting a set in our safe.

Anonymous said...

I am so upset right now at ScanDigital I could literally scream! My sister and I sent them our old reels and a hard drive and have been waiting about a month and a half now. We applied 4 Groupons to our orders thinking surely that would cover what we sent them. My sister informs me today that ScanDigital wants to charge us an additional $723.20!!! Of course I try to reach them through repeated calls and emails and cannot reach anyone. What an absolute nightmare!

Joat said...

I suggest reading the "filtered" comments on Yelp. Because Yelp has a vested interest in maintaining good relations with businesses represented on their site, you generally have to look for the light grey text link such as "(72 Filtered)" at or near the bottom of the reviews. There you often find less-glowing reviews of the business. Note that these are not factored into the overall rating that Yelp posts.

Anonymous said...

Not a good outfit. Sent them one dvr to conert to check out the service. After the warning on their site to use a proper box, not an envelope, I paid $10 extra to be sent a shipping kit. Ten days later I received... an envelope. A $10 envelope.
Eleven (!) weeks later did get back the original dvr and one dvd, not the two dvds I paid for. Finally reached Angelina there who agreed had paid for two dvds but would have to "check with bookkeeping" and call me back. Naturally, have not heard a thing.
I have a whole shelf of dvrs I need converted, but not by them.

Anonymous said...

Having similar experiences as those who used the Groupons. Order is scheduled for completion tomorrow...but status in the system indicates it's nowhere near completion. Submitted my order end of June (also in one of those expensive $10 envelopes!)three months later still waiting for completion of five tapes. Guess I'll expect to see extra credit card charges as well. Don't think I'll be using this service again.

Anonymous said...

For all of you having a bad experience with scan digital please check out a company in Ohio called Keepsake Solutions...great work! quick service!

Anonymous said...

I also bought the $100 Groupon for Scan Digital, and sent them the negatives from my first wedding to have scanned into digital format. That was back in July. I STILL have not received my order. At first, I was getting status emails every step of the way, including one pointing out that there will be additional charges because my negatives are large-format. That had been stated on the website, but I'd missed it. I told them to proceed anyway. In September, I inquired about my order, and was told they'd been swamped by Groupon orders and were running behind, but I should receive my order by the end of October. Which is tomorrow. Still no order. At this point, I just want my precious, irreplaceable negatives safely returned to me. My daughter and I are both basket cases about this. I am desperately hoping that, when I DO get my order (because I will, right? RIGHT?), the gorgeous quality of work will make me forget all about these months of worry and frustration. And also that whatever "additional charges" they hit me with won't make my rent check bounce. Please, ScanDigital, come through for me!!!

Anonymous said...

I bought the groupons also. I mailed ALL of my precious videos of my only daughter to have converted. I mailed to ScanDigital June 2011. Today is December 3rd and I still haven't received anything! I have called the 1-800 # and left numerous messages. I have emailed several times and spoke with Linda Eaves. Linda said my order would be shipped out Nov. 7th but still no tapes. I have asked several times for them to return my original videos and now the only response I've received is from a guy named Justin that tells me Linda is no longer with the company. He never explained why they haven't sent my originals back or what the total cost will be. I just want my tapes back safe and sound. I don't care where Linda's at, I just want my precious home videos returned safely where I can find a LOCAL company to send to. I don't recommend ScanDigital!

Anonymous said...

I used ScanDigital on someone's recommendation, but I regret that. I sent them several 8mm films. It took about 2 months to get them back. The company claims that a technician watches the films as they're being transferred, and then they claim there's another quality check when the DVD is completed. But the DVD we received was awful. They had put the first film on the reel backwards, so it starts with about a minute of black/grey, and then it shows people walking backward, a baby falling up, etc. The second film was put on the reel upside down! Plainly no one is actually checking these. I think "Scamdigital" is a better name for the company.

Anonymous said...

ScanDigital ruined irreplaceable family photos. I will never use their service again.

Anonymous said...

I am trying to resolve a service dispute with Scan Digital. I used their service with a Groupon coupon, and hav after taking nearly 4 months to get 6 VHS tapes back with the DVD's they created, I was charged for a hard drive AND the format used to create the DVD's does not allow downloading to iPhoto, or to do any editing. All my calls to request assistance, and problem resolution, have been anwered with "That is what you ordered, and we can';t help you" This is not a comany I would ever use agan.

Anonymous said...

I had similar nightmares. Bought two Groupons. They took months to complete the video conversion order, and then they charged my credit card an extra $151. Plus, they sent me duplicates that I did not order: 20 DVDs, when all I wanted was 10. They never answer the phone. I'm fighting the charge on my credit card. I wish I'd read these comments BEFORE I bought.

DR said...


Don’t send your memories to ScanDigital - they lost all of my films! I am absolutely heartbroken. Through unbelievable months of ignoring my calls, employee and facility changes, and a flawed tracking system, the end result is that 30-year old precious movies including my son’s first baby steps and Christmas are ALL GONE!


IF YOU SENT MOVIES TO SCANDIGITAL in the last half of 2012, PLEASE CHECK YOUR ORDER TO MAKE SURE MY MOVIES WEREN’T ALSO SENT TO YOU - and if you have movies of a baby that you don’t recognize, PLEASE contact Matt Stone at ScanDigital! If you received film containers you don’t recognize, my film containers are the small Super 8 plastic canisters that are bright blue and white. They had stick-on embossed labels from a label maker from the 1970’s. The drive I sent with my order was a small LaCie drive in a black plastic surround. Thank you!

Jackie R. said...

I have used Scan Digital multiple times over the past 3 years - I buy a Groupon every time it is available. They have scanned probably approaching 2,000 photos for me and they did all of my deceased parents slides and I loved the results. I have never had a problem! They are super accommodating and don't charge extra for every little thing like other companies I have used the Groupons for. Love them!

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