How to protect against water
Tapes Damaged By Water? Film and tape are highly susceptible to water damage, particularly when exposed to floodwaters that are often contaminated with debris and dirt, so take a look at our disaster recovery. Each type of object reacts differently and requires a unique approach to prevent further damage so its best to use some video tape protection. Acting quickly can increase the chances of minimizing damage, but keep in mind that post-flood conditions can be hazardous, so prioritize your safety and do not endanger yourself when attempting to salvage your collection. Additionally, flood-affected objects may be contaminated with biological or chemical hazards, so good hygiene practices are necessary when handling them.
Supaphoto can provide information on how to stabilize your tapes damaged by water objects and give them the best chance of recovery and help with water damage prevention. A good way to do this is to use waterproof storage with moisture resistance.
Identifying Flood Damage – Video Tape Protection:
Video Tape Protection – Before attempting to recover a flood-affected object, confirm whether the object has been damaged by floodwaters. Sometimes, the film can, or tape box can provide sufficient protection to prevent direct contact with water. If there is no direct contact, protect the object from further damage, such as mold growth due to damp conditions.
The following are simple steps that you can take to salvage and stabilize your audiovisual objects. Note that these are not conservation treatments, and you should still have an experienced conservator examine and possibly treat the object before attempting to play it.
Film – Tapes Damaged By Water:
Mold and bacteria pose the most significant threats to flood-affected film. They can feed off and destroy the film rapidly and can be hazardous to health. If the film appears moldy, take necessary precautions to prevent skin contact and inhalation of mold spores.
If your film has been affected by floods, follow these steps:
– Rinse the film with the cleanest water available to wash off loose dirt or mud.
– Label the film reels with some form of identifying system.
– If you have access to a freezer, place the film in a plastic bag, remove as much air as possible, and seal the bag tightly. Label the bag and then place the film in a freezer. Arrange for conservation work as soon as possible. Visit the Supaphoto website for more information on conservation.
– If you do not have access to a freezer, place the film in a bucket of cool water and change the water each day until you can arrange for conservation work. This will keep the film in reasonable condition for about two weeks before bacteria can become a serious problem.
– Prevent the film from further damage.
– Do not unwind the film to see if it is okay, as the film may have stuck together, and any attempt to unwind it may result in permanent damage.
– Do not try to dry the film until you have received advice from an expert on the best way to do this.
Magnetic Tape – Tapes Damaged By Water:
Magnetic tapes are audio and video cassettes and reel-to-reel audio that are also susceptible to mold growth. However, the potential for decay in the binder, a part of the tape, presents the most immediate problem.
If your tapes appear to have been affected by flood water, follow these steps:
– Rinse the object with the cleanest available water. However, if possible, do not use tap water, as the chlorine often added to help purify the water may damage the tape. Bottled or distilled water is preferable.
– Identify the tape and label as belonging to each other so they do not become separated.
– Keep the object cool, but do not freeze it.
– Protect the tapes from further damage.
– Send the tape for conservation treatment before it dries out, if possible.
– Do not attempt to play the tape “just to see if it is okay,” as this will result in damage to the tape and playback equipment.
– Don’t freeze the tapes.
– Do not dry the tapes in the oven
Introduction to Discs – Tapes Damaged By Water
Discs are a type of storage media that includes acoustic recordings vinyl records (LP’s and 45’s) and optical discs like Laserdiscs, CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray. While these objects are generally resistant to floodwater, there may be long-term effects, especially for optical discs.
Mould on Discs – Tapes Damaged By Water
Although mould may grow on some discs, it is more likely to be present on the paper covers and inserts. If you notice signs of mould, it is essential to take necessary precautions to prevent skin contact and breathing in the spores.
Discs that may have no permanent label, such as CDs or DVDs containing home movies, can be temporarily labelled using cardboard and string.
Dos for Disc Care
In case of tapes damaged by water to discs and to video tape protection, follow the below mentioned dos:
– Rinse the disc with the cleanest available water.
– Identify the vinyl disc and its centre label as belonging to each other to avoid separation.
– Air dry the discs in a dust-free environment after rinsing.
– Have vinyl discs professionally cleaned before playing them.
– Duplicate CDs and DVDs that you have the rights to copy (i.e., non-commercially produced) as soon as possible.
Do-Nots for Disc Care
You must avoid the following actions when attempting to recover discs and video tape protection:
– Do not scrub or wipe acoustic (vinyl) discs to remove any mud or debris that does not rinse off easily. Scrubbing can scratch the disc.
– Do not scrub or wipe the label side of a CD, as the label may be made from materials that are affected by water. Wiping may damage the label, which helps protect the most vulnerable part of the CD.
– Do not try to dry the discs in an oven.
Seeking Professional Advice
Audiovisual objects are very fragile, and attempting to recover them can often lead to their total loss. Most damage occurs after the flood, so quick stabilizing action and seeking professional advice is the best way to ensure that your precious objects will stand a chance of survival. Contact Supaphoto for more information and seek professional advice.