Take 5: Five Tips for Tape Storage

How do you preserve your videos over the long haul? Here are five tips.

1) Stay Cool

Always store your tapes in a cool, dry location that is free of dust and other pollutants. Heat, humidity and dirt can destroy magnetic tape. Cool is good, but a consistent temperature is important too.

2) Think Inside the Box

Never leave a tape in the camcorder or VCR when it is not in use or place it on a shelf without its protective jacket. Tape jackets keep dust and dirt from crudding up the tape and potentially damaging your camcorder when you play it later.

3) Be Kind: Rewind

Rewind the tape before storing it on a shelf and always store tapes upright. Tapes that are not tightly wound can slack on the reels and warp over time.

4) Stick It

Label all your tapes clearly so you can easily identify the contents of the tape. If a tape is not labeled well, it can easily become misplaced or inadvertently tossed out. Further, in order to figure out what is on the tape, it must be played and this results in more wear.

5) Make a Copy

This is where digital video really shines, because the bit-for-bit copy will be an exact clone of the original master. Never use an original for any purpose other than making a working copy. Keep in mind that even though you are not using the original master recording, it will still deteriorate over time, so plan to clone the master tapes periodically. It is better to err on the cautious side than to loose irreplaceable footage, so set up a conservative schedule to insure that all important footage isn’t lost due to either handling, wear or too much time sitting on the shelf.

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