As the world adapts to the change over to digital, there are still times when a traditional film transparency (slide) is required. Producing a transparency from a digital file has become a popular way of bypassing the film camera. With film, we would typically have to shoot 12 to 24 bracketed exposures to insure a good representation of a painting and provide duplicates. These duplicates were a necessity once the original painting was out of our hands. Second-generation slides never produced as good a result as directly shooting the painting. With digital, one file can be saved and used indefinitely as long as it is kept safe—a good reason to have a backup file saved in another location away from your computer.
There are a number of businesses that offer the service of converting a digital file to transparency film; some even provide large 4×5 transparencies suitable for major publication needs. A Google search-engine inquiry of “digital to slide” produced over 28 million links. Be cautious when choosing which one to work with. Some may sound good but prove to be small operations with inferior equipment and knowledge. The final transparency needs to be of high enough quality to meet your professional requirements. If you have produced a good digital image on a well-calibrated monitor, the final transparency should look the same. Some of the better businesses offering this service will provide information on how they want the digital file to be formatted, which will lead to a superior outcome.
If you are in doubt concerning your digital abilities, take your file to a graphic design business and have the image reviewed before sending it off for conversion. Many of these agencies will already have a working arrangement with a conversion business and can handle everything for you. Personally, I have my digital files proofed by a local agency even though I trust my equipment. It is worth the extra cost to make sure they are professional. One national service with a very good reputation is Gamma Tech Digital Imaging (www.gammatech.com). They came highly recommended by other professional artists and I have not been disappointed. If you have personal experience with another digital-to-slide business, please post a comment.