Probably our best customer is the self-employed small company," explains Victor DiMeglio, vice president of Hyper-Scan. That's because, especially in the small company, "Everybody's job is important, and they need to be focused on what they're doing. Doing grunt work - that's unproductive, really. That's been our motto since we started six years ago: 'We do the grunt work so you don't have to.'"
"Your Media Mill," as it's identified in a company profile, Hyper-Scan Digital Imaging Services, Inc. (www.hyper-scan.com) was founded and established by Edward E. Schiff and Victor DiMeglio, who have more than 20 years of experience in the imaging industry. The company specializes in converting analog media to digital formats archived onto CDs. Hyper-Scan counts among its customers libraries, museums, and historical societies - and, in case you were having doubts, multimedia companies and, yes, Webmasters.
Still, many of you may be hearing about them for the first time.
DiMeglio lays it out within the first minute of our conversation. "How can you, in all honesty, say that [AVN Online is] out there to service the Internet industry and we wait three years to see an article on a part of the business that is crucial? Any article?" He isn't asking for a Hyper-Scan profile; he's concerned with basic, informational reportage on digital scanning. "For my money, the article should be unbiased and should expound upon what the benefits are of using a company like mine and what the benefits are of not using a company like mine."
Well, here's a good place to start.
Hyper-Scan can archive digital information permanently; provide personalized service and advice to those new to digital media; perform PhotoCD scanning as an authorized Kodak PhotoCD service provider; accurately digitize documents by way of triple entry key punch; do audio CD mastering; clean up images and get them Web ready; and offer fully compliant DVD conversions, complete with chaptering and menus, with a guarantee to work with all players. All this, with emphasis on customer service.
"We have one policy," DiMeglio says. "[In which] we will provide 10-20 scans for free for anyone - provided they haven't done it before - so they can evaluate the product. Now, I always provide it with a stipulation. I say, 'Send me 10 things that you've had scanned before.'" He encourages comparison shopping.
"Quality, to me, is a very important thing," he continues. By insisting on quality, "you do a job once so that you don't have to do it again. That means your library is forward-compatible. The Internet is not a static thing.
"Just behind quality is what we do to mark the jobs - how we indicate what's on what." Hyper-Scan has worked out an industry-standard method of uniformly labeling hard, digital, and negative images. "That's what I try to explain to people. The advantage to working with a company like mine is uniformity. Regardless of who I fire or who I hire, the very first scan I do for you is going to be identical in size, naming convention, everything, to the last scan I do for you. That makes for a library that's even from beginning to end, is easily accessible for sale, is easily migratable. At some point or other all of us have to consider data migration; that is, moving the information off of a CD, possibly onto a DVD - because maybe CDs are about to go obsolete [but] it's not going to happen for 20 or 30 years," however, changing technology is the hub around which the adult Internet industry is based, and making preparations for the future is recommended whenever possible.
"Another thing," DiMeglio adds. "If your library is easily accessible, well then, guess what? It's easily copyrighted." You know what you have and where it is - and in a medium where branding is key, copyrighting is a first step toward distinguishing product.
The delivery of digitized images is both anticipatory and thorough. For as little as 75 cents an image, customers get a file that can be delivered in .tif, .bmp, and .jpg. "We prefer to deliver them with the Kodak PhotoCD method. What that is is an independent file format that opens up in all major imaging packages. Kodak, for the last decade, is the only [provider] that can say it's visually lossless on this compression."
The image pack consists of five image sizes. Every scan comes in 2048x3072, an 18 MB file; 1536x1024, a 4.5 MB file; and 512x768, a 1.13 MB file which, DiMeglio says, is perfect for an image on the Internet. "Most people run their screens at around 800x600. If you open up an image that's 800x600, what are you going to have to do to view that image? You have to scroll. If you open up an image that's 512x768 on an 800x600 monitor, it's going to be perfect.
"Then there are two, smaller thumbnail sizes: 256x384 and a 128x192."
Hyper-Scan will customize its services to meet company needs. It's "Another reason I think we're nimble," DiMeglio says. "We want to function like we are a department of the ordering company." For museums, which often have prints without negatives, Hyper-Scan specializes in negative creation and preservation.
"We've also developed a gift certificate, where you can get 100 prints that don't have negatives for our shoot-and-scan service, that generates a negative and scans it onto a disk." Hyper-Scan created the gift certificate for the New England Genealogical Society. "But the catalog [in which the certificate appears] goes out all over the country.
"We want to be able to function that way," DiMeglio says, "but we also want people to say, 'Hyper-Scan will get the job done; I don't have to worry about it.' We want to be in the pipe. We're the invisible company that gets the stuff before you do, just so that when you get it, it's the way you want it."
Additional services Hyper-Scan is looking at includes video streaming, image-cataloging and databasing, special effects rendering, and high quality digital output. But the bottom line is, "We handle a lot of the big names out there, we get the job done, we know how to do it properly," DiMeglio says.
"I love what I do. I love helping people navigate these waters. I envision us as the kind of company that says, 'You're an artist. You have 300 images to scan here. You have a friggin' degree under your belt; why should you sit down and scan? You should be using your mind to create and manipulate these images. Anything less is a waste of material. What is your time worth?
"My only interest is in keeping customers productive, making money, and happy," DiMeglio concludes. "That's the only way you keep customers in this world. We do business the way we want people to do business with us. That's the only way we know how to be."