Tips to prolong your videos life


First step and most importantly, transfer your videos to DVD to ensure no further video deterioration will occur to your precious memories.  Your videos are safe once  stored in digital format.  Always make a second copy of your videos and store them in a safe place outside your home (Office desk, with a family member, close friend,  safety deposit box, etc...) in the event of any disaster like, fire, theft, or flood.  The secret is moving them today, don't delay.


Below are a number of tips that I hope will assist you in preserving the videos you still have on magnetic tape.


Store tapes at recommended temperatures and humidity


Most manufacturers recommend storing tape cartridges at a temperature between 15C- 25C and between 40%-60% humidity. Storage environments must be cool, dry, clean and relatively stable to maintain tape in good condition. Proper storage can extend tape life by years. If you are having problems playing back some of your tapes, you should consider taking action now before additional tapes deteriorate.


Equipment obsolescence


Ensure you transfer your video to the most current digital format before your video player becomes obsolete.  The problem is no one can service it because parts aren't available, and no video transfer companies will support the video format you may have.


Mechanical damage 


Try to keep your free from debris and ensure it receives regular service by an authorized technician.  If your tape is destroyed or damaged, you will loose treasured moments. 


Improper handling


Be careful not to drop tape cartridges.  If a cartridge has been exposed to physical shock, such as being dropped, examine it closely prior to use.  Look for broken pieces and lightly shake the cartridge to see if pieces are rattling inside. If the cartridge appears to be damaged, do not insert it into the tape drive. This could  further the problem by damaging the tape drive in addition to the tape.


Keep your tape storage area clean


Tape media is reliable in most environments, but can be compromised by dirt and other impurities. Be sure that your storage area is as free of contaminants as possible, including dust, dirt, moisture, smoke, fingerprints, mold, etc.


Prevent Accidental recording


Always remove the write tab  to prevent this from happening to you.



Helpful Tip




Avoid Magnetic fields


If your treasured video memories are stored on magnetic tapes, use caution around potentially damaging equipment like stereo speakers, and TVs.  Magnets are used to store this information and unfortunately can also corrupt or erase tapes.  Never store your videos near a TV or stereo equipment as it acts like a big magnet and could damage your videos.


Inadequate description or documentation


Always label your tapes accurately to ensure they are not misplaced, or mishandled and potentially thrown away.


Avoid exposure to direct sunlight


Heat and exposure to ultraviolet light can prematurely age your precious videos.  Store them in a cool dry location out of the harmful effects of the sun.


Rewind or forward tape cartridges every year


Over time, long periods of inactivity can cause the tape layers within stored cartridges to stick together.   To prevent this tape adhesion from happening, fully rewind or forward your tapes each year. 


Put labels on correctly


Only apply labels where they belong on the tape. This may seem obvious, but it often causes unnecessary tape failures.  Improperly placed labels can interfere with tape loading, degrade the tape alignment or even peel off inside the recording mechanism.


Store tapes upright in their cases

Stacking tape cartridges on top of each other can warp their shells, so always store tapes upright on either their sides or ends. Whenever possible, make sure to keep  the cartridges in their original cases.


 Do not touch the tape media


Do not open the tape access door on the cartridge and do not touch the tape media. Dirt and oil from fingers can cause impurities on the tape, which can compromise your videos.


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