Memories Linger but those VHS Tapes Will Inevitably Fade
For some of us, some of our most treasured possessions are those old VHS tapes featuring our friends and family. As our grandparents, parents and friends age, we creep ever closer to losing those treasured memories.
This is especially true if we relocate to another country and friends and family stay in touch and keep you current on family events by sending you videotape packages.
The good news is that whether you’re sitting in steamy Brisbane or languishing in London, with the modern digital conversion technology options available today through Tapes to Digital Brisbane or Tapes to Digital London, you can easily preserve those memories of your loved ones.
Keeping Treasured Memories Alive
Play your creaking VHS home movies anytime and you can laugh at yourself as a child, snigger at your parent’s hairstyles and poke fun at your sibling’s choice of clothes. But 20, even 10 years on from today, all your children may see is blurry video accompanied by a crackling soundtrack.
Science, backed up by real-life experience indicates your stash of family videotapes have a life expectancy of 15 years and dropping. Like a strip of photographic film, whose colours fade as your film grows old and brittle, videotape also struggles to hold back the advances of time and climate.
Professional video archivists point to the fact that even professionally maintained videotapes inevitably become ratty as they age, requiring painstaking restoration before they can be played again or copied. Understandably, consumer tapes stored in boxes under the bed, in cupboards or relegated to the garage have a greater chance of degrading, increasing the risk they will be unplayable.
A Tough Retirement
High temperatures, dust, mould and humidity disrupt the magnetic strip on your videotapes. This strip is where the image and sound data are stored on your tape. A harsh storage environment may also damage the actual videotape materials themselves. And these effects worsen over time.
If you live in Brisbane and your air-conditioning isn’t up to scratch, your tapes are going to become degraded. Similarly, the heat and humidity in storage areas and garages are a breeding ground for mould.
With many popular television shows and movies of the past 30 years stored on videotapes for posterity, your home movie collection is also at risk of disappearing entirely one day. And it is not just early videotapes that are deteriorating.
The appalling part of this horror show is the audio-visual heritage of our migrant community is in danger of being completely lost.
Videotape manufacturers have devoted significant resources to improving the stability and longevity of their magnetic tape products. But still, many problems persist.
It’s the Total of the Tape That Counts
Magnetic recording videotape comprises a metal oxide particle coating sprayed on a plastic backing material using a chemical binder. A binder is typically another plastic compound.
Playback problems can occur when each of these materials degrades or is compromised by dust or mould. Malfunctioning video players are also a leading cause of videotape degradation. A poorly maintained machine can cause gruesome – and occasionally catastrophic damage to your videotape. We’ve all experienced that sinking feeling when your video player “eats” one of your treasured videotapes.
However, ruling the roost of potential videotape problems is demagnetization. Videotape recorders store information, be it moving images, sound or data, by coding the magnetic orientation of the oxide particles. Changes to this code signal sound or light to the player.
Over time this magnetic strip gradually becomes increasingly random, or demagnetization. This process is accelerated by oxidation, humidity or heat.
Household VHS tapes have a life expectancy of around 20 years before they lose magnetization and degrade. With Tapes to Digital Brisbane or Tapes to Digital London, you can easily preserve your favourite memories of friends and family back in Ghana for years to come.