Video Tape Rescue & Recovery

By | 21st January 2018

Videotape stuck in player

When a video cassette gets stuck inside a VCR or camcorder the tape can become entangled in the mechanism and damaged. Some tapes come out slightly chewed up with just a few crinkles but others might get stretched or worse still snapped. The good news is that most damaged video tapes can be repaired and recovered without loosing too much video footage.

Smashed Cassette Housings

Occasionally the cassette housing may be cracked or parts such as the dust cover or flap might become detached. Again, this type of damage can be repaired and it’s usually possible to recover the recordings.

We consider all video cassette tape repairs to be temporary. A backup onto a digital format such as MP4 or DVD is required to preserve the footage for future viewing.

Damage Investigation

When we repair broken video tapes we attempt to establish what caused the tape to break in the first place. Sometimes a customer will be able to explain how the damage happened but quite often the tapes have been stored in a damaged state for some time and they either don’t know or can’t remember what happened. We also try to find out if anyone else has had a go at fixing the tape.

If we’re satisfied the tape was simply chewed up by a player then the repair is quite straightforward and recovery is successful 99 times out of 100. If the tape has been contaminated with any kind of gunge substance (jam butties seem popular) then the job can be more complicated but is usually do-able if the gunge is only in one spot and hasn’t spread about the reels too much.

Repair Procedure

  • Examine the cassette housing and tape
  • Establish the most likely cause of the damage
  • Strip down the cassette
  • Check all cassette components are complete
  • Remove foreign objects (you’d be surprised)
  • Cut out any damaged sections and splice tape together
  • Check the tape isn’t binding or sticking
  • Replace any missing components or swap housing if required
  • Rebuild the cassette
  • Test playback and winding is functioning correctly
  • Make a digital backup of the recordings

Beyond Repair?

In some rare circumstances tapes can become sticky and prone to shredding or tearing when played. This is a known fault with some tape compounds. It requires that the tapes are baked in a temperature controlled oven then recovered quickly before it starts to become sticky again. We don’t bake tapes but we do have a contact for a specialist in this area.

Tape Rescue Service

Most tapes can repaired for £10.00 plus our standard transfer fee. If we can’t fix it for £10.00 or we are unable to fix your tape then we will get in touch with you before progressing. To arrange a repair please contact us before sending or bringing your tapes.

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