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What is Microfilm?


microfilmMicrofilm is similar to things to which you are already very familiar such as photographs and paper documents.

First, think of microfilm as a very small black and white photographic negative image of a document—a paper or digital document. 

In fact, the original method of making microfilm was very similar to taking a photograph of a still image; in the case of microfilm, the still image was a piece of paper that contained handwritten, drawn or typewritten information.  Through the optics of a camera, the size of the image was reduced to film. Initially this film was 105 mm by 135 mm.  Later, film with smaller size widths such as 16 mm and 35 mm were developed.

Second, think of microfilm as an analog image of a document similar to a document on paper.  Microfilm is an image that is readable by the human eye with the aid of a magnifying glass. This is in contrast to a digital image which is made up of digital bytes that are only readable by a computing machine with the appropriate interpreting software.

Microfilm Creation Today

The most up-to-date method for creating microfilm is very different than previous processes. Today, microfilm creation is very similar to making a paper print with an LED digital plain paper printer. Digital printers create rows of dots (pixels) on an LED light bar that are exposed to an imaging drum. The imaging drum transfers the dots to the paper as it moves past the imaging drum. In the same way, microfilm images of digitally created documents or scanned documents are created using a recording device that exposes the film to a row of pixels using a high resolution LED light bar combined with precision reduction optics as the film moves past the LED light bar.

Please note that microfilm and paper documents are similar; they are analog renderings of documents that are eye readable and are created using similar processes.  Also, the cost to produce paper documents and microfilm documents is essentially equivalent.

Advantage of Microfilm Storage

As in the past, there are still many advantages to using microfilm as preservation for critical records.

There are two major advantages of microfilm documents over paper documents.

1. Microfilm documents require significantly less space to store.

2. Microfilm documents have a life cycle of more than 500 years when properly stored.  The life cycle of a paper document can be much less depending on the quality of paper as well as the storage methods.

Microfilm also has significant advantages over digital documents for long term storage.

1. Important or vital documents can be stored in a human readable format for easy access.

2. Microfilm can store documents independent of computer formats, software and computing equipment. Migration issues are nonexistent.

Therefore, if the longevity of your documents is vital for your business, consider microfilm as a critical step toward meeting your objectives. Tameran has been involved in microfilm creation for decades. Let Tameran provide a microfilm archive solution tailored to your document preservation needs.


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