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     Video Art / Media Art Preservation:  Studies and Suggestions
                     THE DANISH VIDEO ART DATA BANK

Restoration / Conservation: What is done?

What is done to an old and obsolete tape that need to be restored and transferred to a new carrier? Depending on the condition and detoriation it might be a long and difficult process, complex and labour intensive – and a process which most companies keep as “company secret” . In the following I lean on a description from RGB’s web site.

The first thing to do is put the tape in the appropriate video player and sample at least two minutes from the tape to check its stability and the content of the tape.

The next procedure is to clean the tape. RGB do not bake or wash the tapes because these procedures can damage the substrate or binder that holds the magnetic oxides in place and shrinkage of the substrate or loss of the oxides will cause serious loss of quality by increasing dropout.. instead RGB (and I would guess also other companies) uses their own proprietary cleaning process to retrieve as much of the original program as possible.

After cleaning the tape it is copied from the original old or obsolete format to a modern format of the customer’s choice. In many cases this can only be done  if the company have the old and now obsolete video players and equipment to it’s disposal in perfect functional conditions. When copying the process is monitored and necessary adjustments made: Checks for synchronisation and image colour quality and image enhancements.