I've dubbed a bunch of U-Matics to DVD and never had a problem except one tape had been dropped so 
it had dropouts (dropouts literally happen when U-Matic tapes are dropped on a hard surface). My 
setup is butt simple -- a JVC DVD recorder hooked to a Sony U-Matic play-only deck. U-Matics are 
generally not stellar examples of video quality, and I am far from a videophile. As long as the 
picture doesn't roll and it's not too snowy, I'm good. Keep in mind that, except in the case of 
"community access" type productions or raw footage from portable cameras, U-Matic tapes are almost 
always at least second-generation from a much better quality video master somewhere. Having made 
plenty of "community access" type productions in my youth, I can attest to their poor quality from 
the minute the idea is conceived. As my father used to say, Amateur Hour in Siberia.

By the way, having had another recent brush with attempting to work with video in Windows, I have to 
say that the Mac world has everyone else smoked when it comes to civilian-friendly video production. 
I'm sure you video pros can work either way, but I found Sony Vegas nearly impossible to master and 
it was the only Windows program I could find that actually turned out good-quality DVDs that worked 
in any player and looked good on any TV.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2012 7:45 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] 35mm slide scanner -- what's good these days?

> Hi, Shai,
> You're a brave man doing video, too <smile>.
> Ten years ago I heard of the same problem/practice with 3/4-inch U-Matic.
> Twenty years ago (plus or minus) I had this issue with one box of 10 DAT tapes I bought new back 
> then.
> I have probably run fewer than twenty tapes in my DA-38.
> With that said, binder hydrolysis is probably an issue with some runs of coated tape (though I 
> would not expect it with metal evaporated tapes). So far, I have baked one DAT tape and that made 
> it recoverable. Oddly, it was an Ampex tape.
> Storage conditions make a huge difference. The Library of Congress is apparently NOT experiencing 
> the need for increased baking times that other restorers and I have noted due to the fact that 
> they are transferring their holdings which are stored in proper storage conditions (which I do not 
> have the specifics for at the moment). Is it possible that your location in Israel is a dry one (I 
> do recall a fair amount of desert there, though I also recall that much of the population is in 
> the coastal region) which is reducing the amount of binder hydrolysis?
> Trying to generate a "big picture" from all these data points is interesting and sometimes 
> frustrating, and I do not think we'll ever know the complete picture due to the lot-to-lot 
> chemistry changes and manufacturing tolerances that have been documented.
> Cheers,
> Richard
> On 2012-09-20 1:26 AM, Shai Drori wrote:
>> Hi Joe
>> Why are you stopping many times to clean heads on 8mm and Hi8? That never happens to me. I would 
>> check tape path or heads or try another deck just to be sure. Sounds odd. Any one else has data 
>> on this?
>> Shai
> -- 
> Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
> Aurora, Ontario, Canada           (905) 713 6733     1-877-TAPE-FIX
> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.