Re: repairing videotapes

Scott Lehman (
Fri, 7 Feb 2003 06:38:51 -0800 (PST)

I have repaired many hundreds of videotapes in my years in an Indiana
public library system. I'm not sure which kit you were using that was so
bad, but I've used a Video Tape Fixer Workstation that cost about $110, and
has paid for itself many times over (especially considering the $5-10 that
repair places charge for a splice that takes a few seconds to accomplish).
Ours probably came from the Video Store Shopper, but it is available at
many other places as well.

With good splicing tape and an experienced employee, the "brown part" is
not a problem at all to splice. It is most convenient, of course, when the
damage or break is at the beginning or end of the tape, so none of the
program has to be cut out. Most damage seems to occur at the very beginning
of the tape. For damages during the program, it may be easier to buy a new
one if it is an inexpensive tape. But for a $200 or out-of-print tape, it
may be easier to cut out 3-4 seconds of the program and live with it.

And when the video shell gets damaged, cracked, broken, stepped on, etc.,
it is convenient to have a lot of empty VHS replacement shells around too.
They usually cost just over a buck apiece, and you can just take the tape
out of the shell and put it into the replacement (provided the tape
spindles aren't damaged). A small Phillips screwdriver is the only tool you

Hope something here is helpful.
Scott Lehman
Audio Visual Services
Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library

At 05:48 PM 2/6/2003 -0800, you wrote:
>If a videotape stretches, snaps or gets crumpled in "the brown part",
>that's where the sound and image are recorded in a diagonal pattern.
>Repairs in that area should only be done by a professional with appropriate
>equipment and (hopefully) lots of experience. The safest thing you can do,
>if you can't get a pro to repair the tape, is to buy a new one.
>Brigid Duffy
>Audio Visual/ITV Center
>San Francisco State University
>San Francisco CA 94132-4200
> >On 2/6/03 4:09 PM "Mike Boedicker" <> sent this out:
> >
> >> Do you repair damaged videos or simply discard them? The two local places
> >> that did our repairs (a photo store and a video rental store) stopped
> doing
> >> it, so I bought a kit to do the job myself but frankly it sucks (both the
> >> kit and the process). I'd be interested in hearing your policies re
> damaged
> >> tapes. Thanks.
> >>
> >> Mike
> >
> >In my regular life (before being laid off from being Director of
> >Multimedia), we did repair tapes whose brown part had become separated from
> >the leader, but we didn't undertake repairing the brown part itself. We
> >always purchased a new replacement copy if circulation demanded it. In some
> >cases we had multiple copies and the other copies were sufficient to pick up
> >the slack for the damaged tape and so we wouldn't buy a replacement in that
> >case.
> >
> >Bottom line was that I didn't want to jeopardize the schools' equipment with
> >a splice on the brown part of the tape.
> >
> >HTH
> >
> >Rick Faaberg