I have a VHS tape with a home video on it. The initial minutes (4 mins) or so of the tape is okay, but suddenly seems to go into a weird fuzzy, almost grey scale mode where you can vaguely see the image but the sound is messed up for a small bit. The tape might also be slightly sped up when it does this. After this one spot, the tape plays normally for the remainder of the tape I can actually see (maybe the next 10 minutes). The issue is that after a certain point about 20-30 minutes into the tape, the screen goes blue: nothing shows at all. For the rest of the tape, the image comes back from the blue screen for only one brief period of about 3 seconds before going blue again. I can not tell if something else was taped over and then deleted somewhere, if there is damage, or if the VCR is having trouble showing everything that is occurring during the blue screen.
Here is the thing about my VCR: It seems to plays other tapes (all movies plus another home video) normally, with the exception of one recording of a TV show. The first 30 minutes into that tape plays flawlessly. However the second part of the tape (after the channel was changed it seems), will not show anything at all unless you press the pause/resume button in quick succession (and it will only show for a second after resuming from a pause before going blue again. You can do this numerous times though, like the video is being hidden). I am not sure if this might also be a hint for what is happening with the family video.
In any case, I am more concerned with the family video. I can not tell if the issue with that tape is deterioration and there is nothing that can be done, or if the tape itself can be cleaned (not sure if that is possible) or if the VCR needs to be cleaned for some reason. I would appreciate any insights into avenues I can explore.
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As you can imagine, this forum receives many questions of a similar vein.
The basic things are to open the tape flap at a problem spot on the tape and look for creasing, either obvious
damage to the tape or just the edge. If you spot damage, the problem is the tape itself.
If the tape looks OK sometimes humidity can be a problem especially if the tape and/or VCR has been brought
from a cold room into a warm room.
Rewind the tape to the end and back to the start a couple of times.
Open the case and clean the stationary head