I am trying to preserve a large inventory of our family videos by using a camcorder to transfer to an external HD.
I've discovered many of the tapes have snapped and I have been splicing them back together. Several of them have tape that appears to be fused to itself and shreds into ribbons when I pull on the tape.
I have been able to fix a few of them by carefully lifting the stuck remnant with a tiny flat screwdriver, then removing enough of it to obtain a full sized end to splice. However, they only play for a few minutes then stop.
I've found a youtube video that says you can 'bake' the tape in a food dehydrator at 125 degrees for 8 hrs and it is supposed to unstick it long enough for it to be transferred.
I've also received advice to dab a bit of olive oil on the tape, let sit, then wipe off. I don't want to risk ruining the tape further and wondered if anyone here had experience in fixing this problem.
Thanks so much
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Yes to bake; no to the olive oil (or any other substance).
Having said "yes" to baking, that procedure is usually recommended for tapes which are flaking off the oxide coating, not tapes which are sticking. Also, the oxide shedding problem has usually been reported with professional, not consumer tapes.
If you do decide to bake the tapes, do a lot of research to make sure you get the correct temperatures and times. I'm sure it is not news to anyone when I say that there is a lot of bad advice on the Internet ...
Baking is for sticky tapes, which are, in fact sticky. They quite frequently stick to themselves, layer-to-layer, and this is one way to see that you've got a tape with binder failure. That said, I have never encountered sticky 8 mm videotape. Maybe I've been lucky.
Severely stuck-together tape layers are formally known as blocking. It's usually caused by prolonged exposure to high heat and humidity, not binder breakdown, and is often irreversible.