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Article on videotapes decay and preservation

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I thought this would be an interesting read for some of us: Videotapes are becoming unwatchable as archivists work to save them

They mention a tape preservationist group, anyone has ever heard of them?
(This post was last modified: 2017-06-05, 10:57 AM by Evit.)

Is this it? They seem to be mentioned through-out the article.
Very cool read Evit, thanks
Very cool indeed Evit, thanks.
I recently got finished backing up some heavy metal concert bootleg VHS tapes that were sitting in my friend's mom's basement for years. Some of them had actual mold on the tape. First I put them in a low humidity environment for a couple months to make sure the mold was dead, then used a Japanese videotape cleaning machine I got off Yahoo Japan (for like $300 but it was worth it IMO). After that most of them played fine, with only a couple bad spots. But most of these were from the late 90's and early 2000's, so they're not that old as far as VHS goes.

OTOH I've also got some tapes from the 80's that still play fine, so I've personally yet to see a VHS tape actually lose its magnetism. Although digitizing everything that hasn't already been digitized ASAP would probably be a good idea...
A lot depends also on the quality of the videotapes. My father used to buy the cheapest blank tapes possible and anything before 1993 didn't survive intact. Plenty of parts missing.

What's this Japanese tape-cleaning device? I want to know more
Ah, haven't checked any home-recorded stuff that old, only pre-recorded.

The tape cleaner I have is called the LPL HR-200V ZERO-PRO, it's basically a fancy VHS rewinder/fast forwarder that has a big soft head that, once rubbing alcohol is applied, cleans the tape as it fast forwards/rewinds. It also comes with a tape eraser head, but I've never used it.

One could probably modify a tape rewinder to do the same job, but I'm not too good with modifying mechanical devices like that.
I made a DIY version of it with my tape rewinder. It works pretty good but if mould affects the tape, cleaning it is only a temporary solution, spores will alway survive and regenerate it eventually. It's good for trying to salvage what you can and digitalize it though.

Make sure you always use isopropylic alcohol, not other kinds.

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