If done properly, baking can be safely done to videotapes.  There are always
cautions about any procedure but there is no documented, laboratory evidence
of re-dimensioning/tensilization-related damage done to tapes by baking at
reasonable temperatures with reasonable controls.  That said, we have
"baking" equipment that is stable to 1/2 of a degree and prefer to call the
method we use "incubation".  If you bake at the wrong temperature, in a
commercial home oven, a microwave or a jury-rigged mechanism without good
temperature control, you can damage the tape.

There are additional problems with baking videocassettes that do not appear
with reel-to-reel audio.  Among these problems are the fact that many video
cassettes have end splices, tension pads and internal slip pads that are
attached to the cassette by glue that can become viscous with heat.
Reducing the effects of sss and ending up with a tape covered with glue is

Many Sony 3/4" from the early 70's to mid 80's have binder hydrolysis (sss).
One quick test for this is to "sniff" the tape where it exits the cassette
under the tape access door.  If the tape smells of "candle wax" or
"crayons", it has binder hydrolysis-(sss).  Another bad offender in this
area is Agfa 3/4" of a similar era.

With Erik's problem, you may want to take the cassette apart and check the
slip-pad if the cassette won't turn at all.  If the edge of the slip-pad
comes loose, the tape flange can get caught in the exposed glue under the

Another warning about treating video tapes with binder hydrolysis: if the
sss is bad enough, simply running the tape through a cleaning machine
without some form of baking or incubation first can seriously damage the
tape.  We have had to re-restore a large volume of 1/2" video tapes that
someone else simply "cleaned" multiple times on a cleaning machine.  They
scratched the recording surface, stretched the tape and left large deposits
of oligomer (sss residue) in clumps on the tape surface.

Peter Brothers

Restoration and Disaster Recovery Service Since 1983

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Joav Shdema
> Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2006 4:48 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] F1 difficulties
> Interesting view.
> We were always cautioned against baking video tapes. I have recently run
> against an audio Umatic master, PCM701 encoded that does not run
> whatever I do to it. I have a Sony Umatic unit and the PCM701 and since
> I have both master cassette and the original production copy I'll try to
> bake the copy and see if it runs... BTW, it's a Sony cassette.
> Joav Shdema
> Producer/Engineer
> Joav Shdema Inc.
> dB Recording Studios Inc.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Erik Dix
> Sent: Saturday, February 04, 2006 11:34 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] F1 difficulties
> Hi Mike!
> I baked a bunch of 1/2 open reel EIAJ videotapes from the early 1970s
> with a lot of success. They would otherwise not have played at all
> because of SSS. Two of them I re-transferred approx. 2 years later. I
> had to bake them again and I was still able to play them back. 2 hours
> in a food dehydrator were enough for our tapes. I think these were
> mostly Sony reels. We had some BASF that squealed and gave off a white
> residue. Baking didn't help those.
> I have bunch of Ampex vhs tapes from the early 80s that will not rewind
> at all, but they are not gumming up the mechanics in the vcr. So I am
> not sure if i should bake these or not. Maybe just re-housing them would
> work.
> If people request dvd copies of our material we use stand-alone
> panasonic dvd recorders with success. I copy the footage onto the
> onboard harddrives and then do minimal editing and then burn them onto
> dvd
> Once the dvd is finalized i make a copy of it with our computer dvd
> burner for our Archives
> Hope this helps!
> Erik
> Notre Dame Archives
> Quoting [log in to unmask]:
> > In a message dated 2/3/2006 3:43:47 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> > [log in to unmask] writes: There have been lots of reports about
> > SSS from videotape in 3/4" sizes. I wouldn't be surprised if you had
> > it. After all, it's Ampex! (sigh).
> >
> > On the AMIA list, Jim Lindner has cautioned us against baking
> > anything, but especially videotapes. He has good reasons for it,
> > including the possibility of the tape deforming and/or snapping back
> > to an earlier geometry prior to tensilization. I hope I'm quoting him
> > well in this brief summary.
> >
> > Jim got his start restoring 1/2" EIAJ videotapes, including Andy
> > Warhol's as I understand it. I have a lot of respect for him. Jim
> > Wheeler, a videotape engineer from Ampex is also on the AMIA List.
> >
> > I think joining and asking your question on AMIA-L would be a good
> > source of information.
> > ***************
> >
> > I haven't had SSS on some of the first Sony Umatic or TDK VHS
> > cassettes ever sold, though wear or loss of lubricant may be a
> > problem. However some recent VHS tapes have shown SSS-like problems in
> > high humidity.
> >
> > I have a number of back-coated 1/2" reel-to-reel videotapes that
> > definitely show SSS. It is disappointing to learn that baking might
> > not work on them.
> >
> > I've tried on a couple of occasions to join the AMIA-L list, both via
> > email and from the web page, without success.
> >
> > I'm looking for a practical (cheap & quick) way to transfer various
> > video formats to DVD for very small quantity distribution (1 or 2 at a
> > time), with minimal video editing. Any sources for practical
> > experience with this would be welcome.
> >
> > Mike Csontos
> >
> --
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