RE: [stella] Stella @ 20

Subject: RE: [stella] Stella @ 20
From: "Chris Pepin" <cpepin1@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 01:05:54 EDT

Glenn, you are in the video industry, maybe you can clarify this.  I have
always heard that vhs format had a short life on the order of these 7
years, but I have seen so much evidence to the contrary.  I recently
picked up a bunch of video tapes that were thrown out.  The are videos of
classes from 1988.  The thing has better image quality than I have ever
seen out of any tape I have played in my vcr.  The tapes I got were
originals, the actual recording media(or perhaps second generation if they
did any editing, but haveing watched them tape classes more recently, I
don't think they do editing on these), and are the archive copy, not the
copy left in the library, so they hare been used very little.  So as far
as I can tell, this is a 12 year old tape, with zero degredation.(granted
a very good recording on very good tape)

So, why have I not seen any degredation as I am often told about?


I haven't seen Glenn post yet, but I feel like throwing my two cents into the ring. The quality of the tape stock has a lot to do with degradation. Some brands use better tape stock than others. Generally the quality of tape stock has for the most part declined over the years. Also, recording on slow speed (ie 6 hours) will increase dropout. How the tape was stored will also affect the quality of the picture as well. Temperature, humidity, whether the tape was stored horizontally or vertically (causing tape sag), exposure to magnetic fields, etc. all affect the longevity of a tape. The number of times a tape has been played is also a factor. Each time you play a tape, magnetic material flakes off the tapes. The condition of the playback machine will also affect picture quality. Magnetic materail that has flaked off onto the video heads will cause problems with playback, which is why cleaning the vcr heads on a regular basis is a good idea. I'm guessing that the seven year life expectancy is just an average based on numerous factors. Your kids disney videos that they watch every day, seven days a week, will wear out far faster than the video recording you made of great-aunt edna's birthday party that you probably haven't watched since you recorded it. :-)

Chris Pepin


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