How to store MiniDV tapes for archival

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You got lots of family MiniDV or Hi8 tapes and you want to preserve those memories as long as possible. First rule of thumb; Digitize/capture/transfer all the tapes using Firewire connection onto hard drive and name each video file logically for future retrieval. This step prevents you to go through all the tapes in the future to retrieve just one clip you need. Also, in the future there may not be a PC around with 1394 Firewire capture card, so you save yourself a headache.

Now on to MiniDV tape storage; Remember, never get rid of the original source footage, even if you already digitized them. This way you can always re-digitize them in case if the hard drive with your footage failed to spin in 10 years or so or you simply lost it, things happen..

  • Keep tapes in a dust free environment, away from direct sunlight.
  • Avoid high humidity and moisture. Use Silica gel packets, they are an effective and low cost desiccant. Periodically bake them dry if container been somewhere humid.
  • Never store tapes near magnetic fields, (top of TV, speakers, etc.).
  • Try to give tapes 24 hours to adjust to extreme temperature and climate changes.
  • Fast-forward & rewind tapes every 2 years to prevent sticking. Early tapes did stick but there’s been no reports of that with current DV tapes.
  • Store tapes rewound in their case.
  • Store the tapes standing upright to the ground, not laying flat.
  • The storage environment should not be hot, humid, dusty or smoky.
  • Store them in a plastic airtight container, like the one shown below, with some fresh silica gel .. in a temperature stable environment. Cardboard can absorb humidity.

DV tapes stored like that, have a life of about 30yrs. if you can then find a machine to play them 🙂


 

What you will need:

Sistema Klip It Rectangular Food Container

More info on this container here.

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Silica Gel Packets Desiccant Dehumidifier

 

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