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Vintage Television and Video Vintage television and video equipment, programmes, VCRs etc.

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Old 3rd Oct 2019, 11:43 pm   #1
cjacek2000
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Exclamation Water damaged video tapes

Hi,
I'm wondering if you can shed some light on something.... I recently got a bunch of sealed BASF Beta cassettes, probably from the early 80's, judging by the boxes... But what I noticed is that the boxes / cassettes were for sure exposed to water or humidity in the far past. Some of the boxes were kinda deformed (wavy, not straight) and had what looked like loose dark dirt inside of the actual plastic wrapper. I unsealed one of the boxes and couldn't even take the cassette out of the box. It took some prying but I did it. It was stuck. None of the cassettes were still wet, all were dry but who knows the history of what happened. Anyway, looks like the water got inside the case but dried out. The labels sheet was dirty, like the ink lifted and dried off ... The cassette and tape itself appeared fine (no white mold or anything like that) . I tried to play it and record on it. Appeared just fine. But then I noticed that what I recorded was of rather poor quality (like a bit of horizontal waves or interference - not very obvious but it was there). I then found another BASF tape (same lot) but no water damage to the box or anything. Recorded something on it and the quality was much better (no issue as before). I then popped in a known good SONY cassette and still no issue. Sorry for rambling on but MY QUESTION IS: Is the first "water damaged" cassette the cause of the poor video recording and if so, what caused it, how, why? And should I throw out any of the cassettes that appear to also be water damaged? Thanks!
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Old 4th Oct 2019, 10:25 am   #2
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Default Re: Water damaged video tapes

If there are horisontal lines I would guess that there should be visible lines along the tape. Is the any shedding or discolouration along the tape?
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Old 4th Oct 2019, 10:57 am   #3
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Default Re: Water damaged video tapes

Hi. Not sure what can happen with video tapes, but with audio open reel tapes we've found baking them can help, though obviously at a VERY low temperature because of the plastic case. It's worth a try to see if anything improves. Of course, the moistutre'could have damaged the tape irreversibly.
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Old 4th Oct 2019, 11:02 am   #4
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Default Re: Water damaged video tapes

Personally, I'd probably dump them, as damaged tape can wreck video heads and these are getting harder and harder to source.

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Old 4th Oct 2019, 1:11 pm   #5
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Default Re: Water damaged video tapes

Good point, as of course these are blank tapes so aren't of any historical interest.
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Old 5th Oct 2019, 11:50 pm   #6
cjacek2000
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Default Re: Water damaged video tapes

All good points. Thank you very much to all of you.
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Old 6th Oct 2019, 9:57 am   #7
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Default Re: Water damaged video tapes

As an aside, I had an issue with a DVD which was not playing. There seemed to be no obvious scratches, but cleaning with a dry cloth had no effect, despite the surface appearing perfect. In the style of trying anything in desperation, I washed it in detergent and warm water after which it worked perfectly!
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Old 7th Oct 2019, 9:27 am   #8
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Default Re: Water damaged video tapes

Similarly Blu-ray discs can also appear perfect yet refuse to play till washed. However I wouldn't recommend this with video taoes....
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Old 7th Oct 2019, 11:38 pm   #9
cjacek2000
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Default Re: Water damaged video tapes

.... .......
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Old 9th Oct 2019, 10:36 pm   #10
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Default Re: Water damaged video tapes

The problem is, there could have been damp on the tape surface which has evaporated leaving behind who-knows-what. There could well have been a chemical reaction with the particles, binder, etc. Maybe not visible to the naked eye but could harm the machine as Nick says.

Perhaps you could try running them through on a junk machine first.

I would bin any suspicious looking tapes, or any giving poor results. Just not worth it! I recently found a stash of mid 80s beta tapes, you would be welcome to a few FOC but unfortunately, BC is a bit far from me!
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Old 9th Oct 2019, 10:41 pm   #11
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Default Re: Water damaged video tapes

I might be wrong but some plastics used for tapes can absorb water so might not work even when left to dry.
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Old 10th Oct 2019, 8:19 am   #12
cjacek2000
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Default Re: Water damaged video tapes

Thanks again. I'll indeed likely toss the suspicious looking tapes.
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