Videotape Condition Issues

Archiving Topics » Videotape Condition Issues

Several common audiovisual archiving problems are associated with the magnetic recording tape used by video recorders. Awareness of these concerns may help archivists prioritize their migration plans as well as detect and mitigate problems as they occur.

Videotape Condition Issues (Full Text) pdf


  • Dropouts are momentary losses of information which can be readily masked during but not after a transfer.
  • Contamination on a videotape or on a recorder renders the recorder’s critical components temporarily inoperable during an event known as a video head clog.
  • Injured videotape may be wrinkled, creased, spliced, scratched, or moldy.  Remediation can often improve the condition of injured tape.
  • Videotape chemically reacts with its storage environment.  A humid environment often leads to damaging reactions which may be reversible.