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I have found a wide variation in equpments’ ability to Fast Forward and Fast Rewind. A couple years ago, a brand new high speed (expensive) dubbing deck that would FF in record time was also bunching up tapes, which I quickly got out of the habit of doing.
1) For important projects and unique can’t be repeated footage, I make a firewire dub of all originals/master tapes. (Have needed to go to backups maybe less than 1% of the time because of damaged tapes; a few times due to “missing” tapes. As equipment ages, the percent could go up. Am remembering the days when eventually it seemed like all of my audio tape decks became occasional chewers.)
2) Fast Forward and Fast Rewind when needed, but as little as possible.
If you live in NYC (Queens/Brooklyn/Manhattan…) never leave anything in your car, including trunk, for even 5 minutes. How cold is it in your neighborhood, minus something? My limit is a couple hours. I make it a practice to never leave gear in a car overnight. If you live in the Southwest, this goes for daytime too. After bringing gear/tape into the shoot area from a hot or cold car, my rule of thumb is to wait 10-15 minutes or more for the gear to adjust to the shooting environment, if possible, before I begin. If you have condensation on your viewfinder or shooting lens, you can always CAREFULLY wipe it off.
A couple years ago, when I was considering adding to my Iditarod footage, I found a product for keeping a cam warm in the great outdoors. But up there, even in Southern Anchorage, they put electric blankets on their car engines overnight. If you are keeping gear in your car in this environment, that is spelled C-R-A-… Essentially, very hot and very cold can do damage to your tapes. Avoid the risk.
Great success to you on your project. Whether or not your subject makes it into the big clubs, this is a terrific documentary theme.
REGARDS … TOM 8)