I realise that this is a somewhat unconventional question as most people would like to do the reverse of what I want.

I've just found a tool called Light Blaster that uses a lens, a speedlight as well as a film slide to project an arbitrary image onto a surface. I have a lot of images that I'd like to project but unfortunately most of them are digital images.

Is there a way to "print" (analogise?) these images to film slides at home?

Addition: In the FAQ at Light Blaster I found some links to companies making slides from digital so I edit the question to only deal with making them at home.

  • 1
    Was going to say - I did a lot of digi-slide conversion before many camera clubs went digital and we always used a service that uses a laser film writer (as used in the film industry.) The results from people like microquiz were always beautiful. Sep 15, 2015 at 12:51

6 Answers 6


Inkjet printing is not an option due to the real-world resolution that could be achieved being very low (<300dpi) added to other optical and ink based fuzz/bleed/dirt etc. Pigment inks are also opaque.

Laser printing is also not an option as the toner is opaque and suffers similar resolution limits.

You have only 2 options that I can think of:

1 - Make the slide bigger - E.G. A4, on inkjet acetate and use an OHP instead of the 35mm equipment quoted (so not a solution to the question)

2 - Do it optically. Get a camera loaded with slide film and a long-ish lens (85-150mm) Take a photo of your monitor displaying each picture (You will probably want to do this with your DSLR first to get the exposure correct) You will want to have it as a fairly long-exposure (> 1/2sec) to negate any oddities caused by backlight/refresh frequency. This is the only method that I can think of that you can do at home that will yield sufficient on-film resolution for display.

Don't worry about trying to attempt colour film development at home, it is complex and expensive -just send your roll off for standard development.

Source: I used to work for Epson.

.... Or just use a digital projector.


What you ask for used to be common, and called a film recorder.

Really old ones were analog. You connected video signals to them, and the result would end up on film. Usually it took several seconds to 10s of seconds to expose each frame. A common scheme was to have a camera pointed at a black and white monitor, with separate red, green, and blue filters that were switched in, usually by using a rotating filter wheel.

More modern film recorders (late 1980s) were digital. The host computer would write digital values, usually a scan line at a time. Again it was common to use a black and white CRT with a filter wheel. The image was sent in three passes, one for each color component.

I remember one high end film recorder that was the size of a desk. It exposed 8x10 inch sheet film by attaching it to a rotating drum, then hitting it with a modulated laser spot. The raster scan was done by a combination of the drum rotation and it also moving slightly sideways after each turn. This device was primarily used to record spy satellite image data onto film so that people could see and interact with it.

You may be able to find some old film recorder in a dusty corner of the internet somewhere. Be prepared to write the driving software yourself.


You can make your own slides at home by printing your images onto Inkjet or Laser Acetate Paper. Please make sure you buy the correct Acetate type for your printer, whether it Inkjet or Laser. As they use different formulas to allow the print to set properly.

Here is a simple tutorial for printing on Acetate: http://www.ehow.co.uk/how_6815727_print-acetate-sheets.html#page=3

From here you can then cut the images to size. E.g. Film Slide Size 35mm

You might also want to attach the prints to a piece of acrylic, or try laminating the printed Acetate to make it more Rigid and Durable.

Have a look online as there are a few dedicated sites that provide free premade digital files that are ready to print onto slides. (I will post link when I find it).

You might also want to consider buying an old second hand overhead projector, that way you can use much larger Acetate prints aswell as the Lightblaster.

Have fun!

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    You really couldn't print a 35mm slide with enough detail to project it. I know inkjet printers claim resolutions of 5000+ dpi sometimes, but that is physical ink droplets. In the real world they print with an optical DPI of around 300. so you would in effect be projecting an image at lower than VGA resolution, with added fuzz and bleed. Sep 15, 2015 at 8:17

First of all, what an interesting tool you discovered.

The bad news. I doubt a inkjet acetate print made in home could give you the necesary depth, it will just be washed out. A color laser print could help. There are other kind of papers, like vegetal paper which is cheap, or sinthetic one which is more uniform.

But there is a specialized kind of inkjet print on "backlight" material. This material is the one used on the busses stops and billboards. Prepare a strip with lets say 50 designs and print just some linear cm. on a specialized shop.

Probably you can just take a picture (or 24) from your monitor on a true transparecy film and made it develop.

  • Laser toner is opaque so certainly isnt an option. Inkjet printing is a really bad solution as the resolution of the print (as well as colour depth) would be extremely poor. Sep 15, 2015 at 8:19

You can use a projector to expose your film! You need to find the focal length of your projector's lens, and the size and distance of its display from the lens in order to calculate what lens can reduce the size of the image coming out of your projector to the 35mm size. Once you find that out you can put a slide film in your camera, stick the front of your camera lens to the front of the projector lens and just shoot... You will probably also need a ND filter given the level of brightness of the projectors.


You can develop color slide film at home, using only a "can". Printing is the equipment-heavy part.

The other day I saw a "picoprojector" that was essentially a tablet with an odd display. It was G3, wifi, bluetooth, and runs Android. That would let you project digital content onto a surface in a similar way.

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    I don't really understand the answer. I want to convert a digital image into a film slide to flash through it. Developing the slide is not the problem I need to expose it to my digital image first. Also using a projector is not an alternative since the characteristics of a continuous light is very different from a flash and won't let me take the same photos. Thanks for the answer but I think that you may have misunderstood me.
    – Hugo
    Sep 14, 2015 at 17:07
  • Shooting the slide as a photo of the screen does pretty well. With modern high-definition displays it probably is comparable to the professional film printing of the late film age. Especially seeing that you can test the exposure using a digital camera, it should be easy.
    – JDługosz
    Sep 14, 2015 at 17:15
  • Alright didn't get that your idea was to use the projector to expose the slide.
    – Hugo
    Sep 14, 2015 at 17:18
  • I was thinking of a few different things at once and answering quickly. The projector would give continuous images that people could see, not just a "flash". Good for projecting onto "things" and re-photographing to re-project... Just using the projector rather than a monitor to expose slides would not need a portable solution: just the best home theater room among your friends that you can access. A monitor will be higher resolution than a projector. I wondered what is the utility of a projector on a flash, can't really be seen. Only for re-photographing, right?
    – JDługosz
    Sep 14, 2015 at 18:50
  • 2
    By flashing through a film slide you can get interesting textures in flash photography. Look at the website i linked to in the question and you'll see.
    – Hugo
    Sep 14, 2015 at 18:55

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