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When transferring any videotape, one has to take into consideration several factors as to how a tape will play and why the video heads may clog. It may be binder breakdown. It may be crinkled (damaged) tape. It might be the past history and usage of a tape (if only the tape itself could talk, telling us where it's been and how much it has been punished in it's life). It may be the current temperature and RH in the transfer facility. It may be the current life left on the pole tips of the video heads (worn heads tend to clog easier). Other factors come into play as well. So it's a tough call to make a blanket statement as to why someone says "it never happens to me" while someone else is experiencing problems. As  a matter of fact, a producer is sending over a couple of Hi8 tapes this morning for evaluation that he is having problems with and I've already asked the question as to what the history of these tapes are (just to give me some indication as to what to expect). 

As Richard pointed out in his experience, even the occasional metal evaporated tape has had surprising issues that one would not expect. 

We are now decades into the lifespan of magnetic media and everyday can be a new experience "for the books".

Best Regards,

David Crosthwait
DC Video
Videotape transfers and more!

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On Sep 20, 2012, at 4:45 AM, Richard L. Hess wrote:

> 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
> http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.
>