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How do I take care of videotapes?

Videos are more fragile than motion picture film and wear out in 7 to 15 years. When converting films and photos to VHS, save the original copy. Photos and films will remain in good condition for a longer period of time than VHS tapes. Major causes of videotape deterioration are heat, humidity, dirt, magnetic fields and improper handling. Symptoms of breakdown or deterioration are fuzzy images, blank spots and static on the tape.

Some tips concerning video tapes:

  • Avoid direct sunlight.
  • Store and keep tapes away from sources of heat, e.g., radiators, heating vents, air conditioners and other appliances.
  • Keep videotapes away from dust, dirt and oil, cigarette smoke, oil and acid from fingers.
  • Keep tapes away from magnetic fields, e.g. speakers, motors, amplifiers, telephones, magnets, electric typewriters, voltage transformers and TVs. A distance of 2 to 3 feet is recommended.
  • Keep tapes away from moisture.
  • Keep tapes well ventilated.
  • Fast forward and rewind tapes once every 3 years.
  • When playing the tape in the VCR, don't leave the tape in the pause or still-frame mode for more than a minute. This tends to wear out the tape.

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