Common Issues With VHS Tapes

Posted by Ian Stewart on

VHS tapes were once a popular way to store memories and watch them with the family in the future. It became a tradition for them to gather in front of the TV and watch home videos of family milestones, such as baby's first steps or the wedding of Mum and Dad.

Back then, people relied on the VHS to record and playback footage. It was revolutionary at the time. But now, most people have a device in their pockets capable of recording anything. There are far more efficient ways to create a hard copy of a video without risking its deterioration over time.

Let's take a look at VHS problems and why DVDs and MP4 recordings don't have the same issues.

Digital Corruption 

Some tapes like the Mini DV and Digital 8 VHS tapes can suffer from digital corruption, meaning that the footage could be lost or unrecoverable. They were steppingstones to the digital age, when capturing footage directly to digital became the norm. Unfortunately, video recordings are susceptible to digital corruption. This can lead to video pixelation or even loss of audio.

Mould Damage

Storing your tapes in the right conditions is essential to prevent damage. Commonly, videotapes are stored in suboptimal conditions, leading to mould. Mould grows on the tapes when they are left in warm, damp conditions. These mould spores eat into the oxide coating on the tape, which can cause the tape to stick to itself. It also impacts the video quality of your video footage. In some cases, mould is repairable, but it is unfortunately not in most cases.

The problem with old school tapes like VHS is that they can degrade quickly and not be stored long. The best thing you can do to prevent this is keep them in a moderate temperature and humidity, but this can be difficult to achieve. Fortunately, DVD's do not suffer this problem and can be stored for a very long time.

(Please note: we will not accept any tapes that show signs of mould, and they will be returned to you. This is because it is very "contagious" and could infect many other videos that we have)

Tape Slippage 

An issue with VHS tapes is that they have moving parts. What does this mean? That they're more likely to be damaged and lost. One of the most common culprits is the tape itself, which can slip. This happens when the tape loses its tension or becomes warped. This usually happens in storage when there are times of high temperatures or changes in humidity.

Restoring tape tension is a difficult process, but tape warping is a different story. Playback becomes disrupted and noisy when the tape stretches or bends too much. If the damage exceeds a certain level, the tape cannot be played in the player at all.

Lack of Players

Even though VHS players are becoming rare, you might still be able to find one on the internet. Manufacturers ceased production in 2016, so the only new ones are expensive used models. It may be difficult for people who own old VHS players to find spare parts to repair them.

If you want your old VHS tapes to be seen by future generations, then you should think about converting them into DVDs. You won't be able to watch them with a VHS player in the future, and your children and grandchildren will often not be in a position to do so.

To keep your rare video on a reliable, sturdy disc format, transfer it to DVD. You'll be able to hold onto this footage for many years without any of the video-ruining problems. DVDs can be stored and played on a variety of devices and retain their quality for a long time.

We have many years of experience converting your VHS tapes to digital video, and we will always treat them like they're our own. If you're looking for a company to convert your video footage, we're here to help. Contact us today!

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