where memories matter


The Best Way to Preserve Family Videos


You may be asking yourself, ‘what is the best way to preserve family videos?’ and how to avoid any sort of tape decay, if that’s the case then we’re here to help. Videotapes consist of a plastic polyester backing coated with a layer of magnetic material and binder that holds the image and sound information. It is essential to take proper care of videotapes to ensure their longevity.

Preserve VHS tapes and Other Types – Storing Tapes

When it comes to the best way to preserve family videos, to store tapes correctly, maintain a temperature between 18°C-24°C and a relative humidity of 35-45%. Heat and humidity are the two biggest threats to videotapes.

Another tip for safeguarding old movies is to avoid storing tapes directly on concrete floors, in attics or cellars, near bathrooms or laundry areas, or next to VCRs in enclosed cabinets. After use, return the tapes to their containers and store them upright to prevent damage to the tape edge.

Spooling tapes at low speed or playing them from start to finish before storage will ensure proper winding inside the cassette.

Extra Precautions When Preserving Family Videos

To preserve family tapes, do not place camcorders and tapes in bags or holders with liquids, food, or other materials that may contaminate the video materials if the container breaks. In extreme climatic areas, allow camcorders and tapes to adjust to the temperature before use to avoid clogging video heads and jamming tapes.

Electrical Appliances and Tapes

Most household appliances’ stray magnetic fields are too weak to damage videotapes, but high voltage power lines and electromagnetic interference from large buildings can cause problems. Small but powerful magnets found in items like flashlights, fridge magnets, headphones, and speaker cabinets can also affect how to preserve family tapes.

Playing and Cleaning Tapes

Playing tapes at least once a year may help extend their lifespan to preserve tapes, but creating copies of frequently used tapes is recommended to create a backup. Discard tapes that do not play correctly to prevent damage to the VCR and other tapes and preserve VHS tapes. Under normal circumstances, head cleaning tapes are unnecessary. If the heads require cleaning, it is best to have them cleaned manually by a trained professional, as cleaning tapes can cause premature head wear or damage.

Preserve Tapes – Brand of Tapes

Major brand name tapes from VCR equipment or magnetic products manufacturers are generally of consistently good quality. Beware of bargain tapes and note that high prices do not always guarantee higher quality in relation to how you preserve family vhs tapes…

Overseas Machines

Tapes recorded on one international system, such as NTSC, cannot be played on another system, such as PAL, without multi-standard VCRs and TV monitors. Tapes may be copied through a standards converter to produce a copy for another standard, but this process is expensive and may result in some quality loss.

Protecting Tapes from Natural Disasters

To protect videos of personal importance from natural disasters like fires or floods, consider copying them onto other tapes and storing the copies separately. To preserve video tapes in the event of a flood, evacuate the tapes or store them in a sealed container to avoid water damage. When it comes to how to preserve tapes, in the event of a fire, evacuate the tapes or place them in a sealed container.

Conserving Video Tapes – Conclusion

The advice in this guide is based on the best international experience and information available to Supaphoto. Seek specialist advice for the best care of your video, as circumstances may vary. You may have other issues to content with too such as mould on tapes. Likewise, you should also consider the types of tape you have too such as vhs-c , super vhs, video 8 or a relatively newer type such as mini dv

If you need help preserving ones of old tapes, photos or film, make sure you have a digital backup. Convert your old videotapes to DVD, USB or cloud with Supaphoto – the number one video digitisation service for quality in the UK.

supaphoto wordmark logo

Preserve, Share & Enjoy