Re:Video Inspection

David Kirk (
Tue, 6 Feb 1996 10:34:26 +0800

>This subject of video inspection is interesting! We have not purhcased
>the RTI machine, mainly because we don't have the personnel to run it.
>I've also noticed that the quality of tapes is dropping fast, or is
>this just my imagination?
>Last summer we withdrew hundreds of tapes from the early 1980's because they
>were literally falling apart on the shelves- if you touched the tape
>(which looked fine to the eye) it fell apart in your hands. Magnetic media
>does not last forever. I wish more people would buy laser disc players!
>Carol Dunn
>Findlay-Hancock County Public Library

It is not your imagination. Tapes quality is diminishing. The blank
physical tapes used to be very sturdy and sold for about $15 each for a VHS
T-120 and now you can buy them for often less than $2 each on sale. They
are made more cheaply and even the cases seem to be less sturdy. Older
tapes in our collection used to last for 200 plays; the new tapes from
distributors (containing feature films) hardly last 100 plays. The
disposable society! at work. I assume they figure no one is going to watch
anything more than 20 times -- they don't plan for schools and other
library uses.
When you look at the cleaning tapes from our RTI machine you can see the
dirt particles which have been removed from the tapes during the cleaning
process. These particles come from air, dirty tape heads, dirty rollers in
the machines, dirty (dusty, etc) machines, being transported in faculty
cars, buses, thrown about, faculty children using them as play toys, etc. (
I do not exaggerate). The magnetic/electric fields surrounding videotape
players act as dirt/dust magnets. The machine also helps remove wrinkles
from the tapes. We request that students/faculty do not rewind the tapes
since this takes time and makes more wear and tear on the gears and
internal mechanisms of the players and often does not provide an "even"
rewind. The RTI machine also rewinds the tapes as it cleans it saves wear
and tear on our VHS players in the lab.

Dave Kirk - Film/Video Selector
104 McHenry Library, UCSC, Santa Cruz, CA 95064
voice: (408) 459-2324 email: