Hints: Damaged Video Tapes

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Sometimes, it is inevitable that you will damage one or two of your tapes – especially as they get older! The tape inside the cassette can get snagged, torn, completely pulled out, tangled inside a machine, or even the cassette housing itself can get damaged in such a way it won’t function properly. We can repair the majority of problems.

The Video Copy Company Broken Tape

We’ve seen all forms of damage, from white mould growing on the tape spool, to rips in the tape itself.

If a tape has a damaged casing, we will need to replace the case before it can be played. This can sometimes prove to be an expensive repair, depending on the type of tape in question;

A VHS case is relatively inexpensive as it was such a common format and we carry plenty in-house. Betamax, however, is a rarer format nowadays, so sourcing replacement casings can be expensive. MiniDV, DVCAM and HDV tapes are less rare per say, but are particularly fiddly and difficult to work with; such small tapes resulted in small parts. It is also getting harder and harder to source new tapes that are suitable for this type of repair as a lot of casings produced later in the formats’ lifecycle didn’t use screws to hold the media together. Other formats such as full-size DV are just more expensive tapes to buy in general.

The Video Copy Company Mouldy Tape

In the case of mould growth, we have a very old video player which we use to fast forward and rewind the tape through as this can sometimes remove the mould. If a tape has suffered from mould growth, it is likely that, when playing back the video, the clarity of the images may not be as clear as you once remembered. It can leave “sparkly” artefacts on screen.

A ripped tape is probably one of the most common repairs we need to do here at The Video Copy Company, and is something we can repair fairly easily.

If a ripped tape has led to more damage, like, for example, the tape becoming creased over a great length, then this area must be cut away otherwise it will tangle inside the video player or cause damage to the heads when played back.

Sometimes, a tape can become tangled inside a video player or camcorder. We can usually remove the tape from the player and both items can be salvaged. In some cases, the tape can be saved, but the player has needed to be sacrificed. This is usually if the tangle is very bad, or if it is stuck in a camcorder and the device can no longer receive power for whatever reason. In these situations, the memory on the tape is more important that the old video player which is usually past its prime anyway.

There some instances in which a repair or a clean might not fix the problem and the damaged tape is beyond repair.

If the tape is suffering from mould growth and the mould has seeped down into the tape spool, it can make the tape stick to itself. This can lead to the tape tearing in the machine. If this happens, and we repair the tear, it is more than likely going to tear time and time again each time we try to play or fast forward the tape. Unfortunately, in a situation like this the tape will be irreparable.

If we see the mould is particularly bad, then we may not put it through our equipment at all. If a tape permanently damages our players, then it can have a serious impact on our business.

A tape repair can be such a varied process, which is why we always quote on a case-by-case basis, with prices starting from £10.00.