From this point on put the tapes back in a sleeve or case. Don?t play them anymore to reduce further damage. Restoration from this point is possible with those tapes. It sounds like they?re going through the sticky-tape syndrome, which occurs when a tape's binder layer begins to delaminate from the base material causing slow tape speeds and viewing problems during playback. It could also be something simple like dirty camcorder heads.
You can restore those tapes on your own using two methods professionals use:
1. Baking the tape- this is when they expose the tape to elevated temperatures for several hours, physically baking the tape?s binder back onto the base material. This consolidation of binder and base stabilizes the tape system so that it can be played once while the information is copied on to a more stable format.
You could do this on your own using a convection oven or hair dryer. ?Do it yourselfers? use the Snackmaster Pro, model FD-50 made by American Harvest to bake tape because it has four trays that snuggly fit a reel of tape- I wouldn?t recommend doing this- leave it to the pros- this is an extreme measure that irreversibly physically modifies the tape. The results are not always successful, and are rarely permanent. Again, baking a tape is a one time process so you can copy your footage to a stable format.
2. Another technique is using Pellon tissue or fabric to hand or machine clean your tape- this is the safest, most-efficient way of cleaning a tape of chemical residue and debris. Unravel and swipe the cloth across. You could do this on your own, if you get your hands on the cleaning tissue but the process of bringing a tape back to a playable condition can be complicated procedure and should be dealt with by experienced professionals- especially if those tapes are important.
Now that you know what can be done, there are two reputable companies I recommend for restoring any type of tape fomat:
Vidipax or Spec Brothers
Last update: 10:43 PM Sunday, November 6, 2005