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----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tom Fine" <[log in to unmask]>
> The mastering engineer advised the parties to consider the shipment a
"write-off" because the tapes
> were so mangled as to be unfixable.  He said the tapes were packed in this
sloppy manner -- pancakes
> tapes between pieces of cardboard with the edges of the cardboard clamped
tight and taped together
> (which causes edge damage from the get-go). The boxes were so violently
handled in shipping that the
> cardboard worked loose in transit, spilling tapes from the hub in most cases
and mangling edges and
> tape-pack in all cases. Some tapes were packed horizontal, some verticle, none
wrapped in a
> protective bubblewrap, all in a large/heavy box that was obviously dropped
hard or slammed around en
> route overseas and back. The engineer lays blame squarely on the major
copyright holder, saying he
> doubts a box packed that way would make it cross-country intact, much less
overseas and back. The
> engineer states that he can't believe someone would ship master tapes without
boxes and as
> un-flanged pancakes.
>
> I would theorize that ANY tapes packaged this way in too-bulky/too-heavy a box
would suffer the same
> damage just being loaded and unloaded from a ground-shipping truck. I further
theorize the major
> damage came either in a shipping depot or when cargo shifted during a rough
airplane landing on the
> way to or from overseas. The point is, if you pack something too massive,
damage is almost
> inevitable due to simple physics/gravity, which is why I advise clients to
keep boxes small to
> medium and weight per box down and wrap everything in bubble wrap. I forgot to
mention last night
> that I also advise clients to wrap grooved disks and tapes in a plastic bag
during most seasons so
> as to avoid damage if the box is dunked in a puddle or slush in the gutter or
left out in the rain.
> The nesting a box within a box can be very helpful if there is a sea of
packing material to absorb
> blunt force.
>
> If I didn't know and trust the people who told me this story, and if they
weren't directly involved,
> I'd never believe this could have happened with master tapes owned by a major
company. These
> companies have been so cored out by "restructuring" and mega-glomeration that
they no longer have
> any knowledgable folks minding the store! I agree with the engineer, the
ultimate blame in this is
> on the person who chose to pack valuable intellectual property in such a
sloppy manner. I would
> suggest the shipper behaved like a typical shipper -- these guys are not in
the "careful" business.
>
> My takeaway is never ship pancakes, always have reels in boxes, tape boxes
shut and wrap in
> bubble-wrap (none of this taping and wrapping tight enough to squish the reel
or tape-pack, by the
> way), pack tapes either horizontally or vertically but not both, use
medium-sized boxes and nest the
> box within a larger box in a sea of force-absorbing material. Perhaps also
wrap the nested box in
> plastic so it is water-tight. Keep your total weight of tapes vastly
under-spec'd to your boxes, so
> simple physics is your ally instead of your enemy. And ship via the fastest
way you can afford so
> the tapes do not stay long in transit. And insure to full value which might,
just might, catch a
> shipper's attention before they heave your box off a 2-story drop. Oh, and of
course communicate
> clearly enough that you know exactly where to send the tapes!
>
There is, of course, another factor involved here...!

I remain firmly convinced that should one be adventurous enough to elect
to ship a six-inch cube of solid stainless steel via any commercial
enterprise in that line of business...it would arrive at its destination
in effectively unrecognizable condition...!?

Steven C. Barr