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Old August 12th, 2006, 06:41 PM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Sydney Australia
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Repairing DV and 8mm tapes

I've had a MiniDV tape repaired and now I've got three snapped Video8 tapes. I'm fairly certain I understand most of how to repair these tapes. You need another tape cassette that you use to scavange parts. You end up with two tapes is the idea. Now the critical bit is the clear leader, I'm told you really need to keep this as that is how the transport senses end of tape.

So I need to join the end of the (broken) tape segements to the clear clear but what to splice it with, I have 1/4" splicing tape, nice and thin and I could use it across the splice but I wonder if that will give a large enough surface area. I was told the splice isn't too critical as it will never go over the heads, the EOT sensor will stop the transport before the splice reaches the heads.

Just wonder if anyone else has actually done this successfully or am I going to be the crash test dummy. If so, no sweat I'll report back on how I fare. Of course this isn't a repair, it's just so I can dump the video off to a more stable format.
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Old August 12th, 2006, 09:01 PM   #2
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I've done it with VHS tapes and audio cassettes with film splicing tape.

It is a very fiddly task however.

The secret is in the saliva.

Lick the end of the tape and the lay it down onto a smooth hard cutting surface. A CD disk or piece of formica is okay. It helps to have a line scratched into it for keeping things straight.

Lick the clear leader and lay that down with a little overlapping the tape.

With a nice fresh sharp piece of razor blade out of a BIC shaver, cut through both leader and tape in a pressing action rather than slicing action which will move the pieces. That should get you a matching cut.

Slide both tape and leader scraps off the ends and if the ends have moved re-align them. Use a tissue or cotton bud (earwax diggers) to dry off the saliva from the tape and cutting surface.

Cut off a piece of splicing tape about an inch or so. Stick one end down onto the cutting surface to anchor it, then draw the free end tight so the tape is just above the intended join, then use a spare finger or thumb to press the splicing tape down onto the join while you keep tension on the splicing tape.

Then use the razor in a slicing action to trim the splicing tape in line with the edges of the splice. It is helpful at this point to lay the spliced piece onto a piece of cardboard cereal packet.

Haircutting scizzors are good too. It is better to cut into the edges of the tape and leader than leave free edges of sticky material which might baulk in the cassette.

If your camera is snapping the splices, there might well be a fault. Stop the rewind just before the tape is fully rewound. Start rewind again. If the action remains violent, instead of restarting the rewind, press play, then cue backwards until the tape comes to the head end and the rewind stops.

If health sensitivies prevail, water is fine as a substitute for sticking the tape ends in your mouth. and probably more sensible as well.

Clean off all the remains of fluids from the tape.

I would not recommend splicing the actual recording section of the tape unless you have a critical need to recover as much of the vision as you can. Best to create two tapes out of one, so you don't have a splice going over the heads as the free ends of the tape can do some damage to them.
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Old August 12th, 2006, 10:35 PM   #3
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i used to use scotch tape just to get to wind and then dub over on another tape
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Old August 15th, 2006, 01:10 AM   #4
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You're getting into dangerous territory by running videotape over recording heads, that has been spliced. The splicing of film and older, linear-scanned videotape is one thing, but you can trash helical-scanned heads by passing a splice over them. If the splice is flawlessly done, you might get lucky a few times and cause no harm, but it's a bad general policy to do it. Better to restring a broken segment into a separate empty cassette shell and re-record the contents onto a new tape. Keep careful track of where the ends are that don't have clear leaders and manually stop before reaching them. Always avoid getting any dust or finger oils on the tapes.

If you're getting frequently-broken tapes, check the tape-end light, that shines through the clear leader to activate the tape-stopping mechanism. If it isn't shining, the tape will hit the end of the reel at full speed.
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