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Legacy Republic Unveils Studio, A Portable Scanner For Family Photo Albums

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Legacy Republic is removing a big hurdle in its photo digitizing process — putting albums in the mail.

YesVideo launched its Legacy Republic initiative back in 2014. The idea is to recruit a freelance workforce of so-called Legacy Makers who help families digitize their photos. Through digitization, the company says it can preserve memories and make it easier to share those pictures between family members, particularly when you’re living in different cities or countries.

However, YesVideo CEO Michael Chang said customers are “often hesitant” to go through the process, since it means sending the photo albums to Legacy Republic’s lab — not something you necessarily want to do with photos that have tremendous emotional significance.

Enter the company’s new Studio product, which allows Legacy Makers to do the scanning on their own, either in their own home or the customer’s. Why not use a regular scanner or camera? Chang said that many photos cannot be removed from their albums without damaging them, and the albums create glare that obscures the photo that you’re trying to capture.

Legacy Republic’s solution is to create a rig with eight LED lights. (The rig connects to an iPhone 6s, which serves as the actual camera.) After you set up a curtain to block any external light, Studio takes eight different pictures, with a different light illuminating each one, then it puts them together to create a single, 20-megapixel image without glare. There’s also a 3D laser scanner that flattens the image to remove any warping.

Chang demonstrated Studio for me last week. Within a few minutes, he’d set up the Studio, taken pictures of each page in a photo album and presented me with a beautiful digital replica. And while Chang said Studio costs hundreds of dollars to manufacture, the company will be providing it to active Legacy Makers at no charge. (They’ll need their own iPhone, though.)

“The key for Legacy Makers is to empower them to give cool experiences to their customers,” added Brian Knapp, head of Legacy republic.