playback 1996

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March 29, 1996, Morning

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Beni Matias BENI MATIAS: Besides running the Center for Arts Criticism in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I've also been an independent documentary film and videomaker with almost no budgets for quite a long time. So, how we get our work done, and how we get to preserve our history is something that's been very important to me. A word of caution: I know nothing about science, to begin with. I know nothing about videotape except that I love it and I hate it at the same time, and I was not the original presenter, and I have not been involved with this working group. Makes me a perfect person to be up here. But Mona Smith, who was the chair of this working group, unfortunately, couldn't be with us today. She actually told me that she couldn't bear the thought of leaving behind ten inches of snow in Minnesota and possibly minus thirty degree weather. I know she's lying to me, but we won't get into that. What I've done is, I asked Bruce Fellows, who has spent 25 years of working with 3M as a field representative, trouble-shooting all sorts of problems in all sorts of television formats - video - to be with us. Bruce retired two years ago, and he's now living the happy life of a free man, and Rebecca Bachman, who has been with the Walker Arts Center as the Assistant Archivist on a two year project. And what I asked them to do is come up here and between them, me and all of you, because you absolutely outnumber us - so don't turn on us, please - what we're hoping is that we will have a conversation where we can start looking at what we need to think about when we think about video, and what are the qualities in it that make it disintegrate or when you're trying to transfer from one format to another, or to reformat, what is it that you have to look at? Mona, in her infinite wisdom, gave me a way of looking at video. She said to think of videotape as a coconut banana cream pie. I think that we have to, of course, be much more sophisticated at this point, and what I want to do is bring Bruce and Rebecca into the conversation, and have Bruce talk a little bit more about what the tape is, what we need to look at, and also before we get started, Rebecca has prepared a wonderful glossary of terms that is not part of your packet ... it's this, which is on the other table. So pick it up, because one of the things that we're trying to go for is really to give us a common language. So that when we talk about dropout, we don't have to do a song and dance about - well, what's dropout to me, what's dropout to you, what's dropout to someone who's been working with it for twenty five years. So, Bruce, you want to...

BRUCE FELLOWS: Good morning. It's a pleasure to be here. It seems strange to be in front of a group, I haven't done this for a couple of years. But maybe that's all right - it'll give me a chance to reflect a little bit on where I'm coming from, and perhaps maybe I'll be able to relate it to where you're coming from a bit better. I think the analogy of the cake isn't too bad, and I like the idea of starting a discussion about television recording with a hard look at the nature of the beast. I think most of the problems that have occurred in the past and will occur in the future with magnetic tapes are a result of their physical nature and their chemical nature. I know artists don't look at them that way, and perhaps archivists don't either. But when the failure occurs, it is either of a physical nature or a chemical nature. Basically what happens in television recording - we have quite a wide range of people here. Maybe I can ask the question: how many of you are currently involved in videotapes? There's a lot of experience out there. Basically, what we're talking about in magnetic recording, of course, is taking some kind of stimulation, and picking it up with a detector and turning it into an electrical signal and feeding that electrical signal to a magnet, and then dragging a substrate of some kind with magnetic particles on it, and then the fields of those particles are oriented one way or another. They're randomized when the tape is erased, and organized into a very particular pattern to represent the information when they're recorded. The basis of the tape, the physical structure, is the polyester backing. When they first started making magnetic tapes, they tried other things. They tried paper, they tried acetate, but the whole video experience basically has been polyester - there aren't that many choices. It's cheap, it's dimensionally stable, relatively dimensionally stable. But it has its problems. And a lot of the problems that you have experienced and will experience are related to those properties of the physical backing. On top of that backing is a slurry of material that's coated on much the way paint is. There's a competition for the space that coating occupies. There are things put into that coating to give it physical strength. The magnetic particles are there - it would be nice if you could have nothing but magnetic particles. That would make just a super tape, but it wouldn't stay together. Another thing that happens is we know that some debris is going to be worn off from that coating, and will adhere to the heads, and eventually cause problems, so we intentionally put in an abrasive material. It might shock you to find that 3M company has been putting abrasive materials in their tapes, but all tape manufacturers do. And they're designed to keep the video heads and the audio heads clean. And then there's a lubricant, and the lubricant basically is to keep the tape from self-destructing when it's put in the pause mode. When you're playing back a videotape, and you stop on a particular field or frame, the video heads go over and over and over that same frame many times a second. And if there was no lubricant, it would just strip the coating right off the tape. I might say that some of the U-Matic tapes that you may have in your library - when the U-Matic format started, the tapes were of very poor design, and I happened to be living in Japan at the time that happened, and I used to talk to my friends at Sony about this, and basically what happened, if the machines were put in pause mode, the video heads loaded up right away, and the picture went to snow. As a matter of fact, there wasn't even an enabling function on the cassettes to allow full stop motion, but the artists were doing it anyway, because they wanted to stop and look at individual pictures. But, later as the chemistry improved, then they were able to put the tape in stop motion and leave it there for a reasonable amount of time. In addition to that, there are other materials, for example, that control the electric static generating characteristics of the tape. If the tape if transported through the transport, it's sliding on guiding surfaces, and it generates static charge. And we up in Minnesota, where it tends to be cold and dry, experience sparking, we experience static cling. Down in the Antarctic and Antarctic, they can draw enormous sparks and in the manufacturing process, it becomes downright lethal, because we use explosive solvents in the manufacturing of the tape, running these huge rolls through the process generates static - one spark and your plant goes up in smoke. I hope that's given you an overview of the physical nature of tape.

BENI MATIAS: In going through the materials here, I realize that there's such a thing that I call the Goldilocks Syndrome: it's too hot, it's too cold, it's in the wrong case, it's in the wrong place. How do we start thinking about looking and evaluating our videotapes? Rebecca, how many tapes do you have in your collection?

REBECCA BACHMAN: Well, I was hired at the Walker November ‘94 to organize, catalogue, develop some preservation strategies and make available videotapes, of which there are 1500 in the Walker. We wanted to make them available to the public again. And I started watching tapes and realized pretty quickly that tapes generally made before 1985 were starting to deteriorate. And when I was making catalogue records to describe what I was seeing in terms of the condition of the tape, I didn't have a vocabulary that would enable me to describe what I was seeing. I come from a production background, and glitch is just sort of the term we use for everything, whether it's rolling, or whether it's dots, or whether it's snow, or it's a shimmering image, I couldn't describe things accurately. And we have a finite amount of money available for preserving our tapes. It's not going to be enough to preserve everything, so I wanted to describe as accurately as I could what I was seeing on the screen when I saw a problem. And perhaps after I'm gone at the Walker they'll be able to find more money again some day, and preserve more of these tapes. And it would help to have an accurate reading of what the problems are.

BENI MATIAS: What I want to move on to is, if you have all of these video tapes, what can one do, and I think the two of you probably have some answers for this, what can one do first, just by looking at the video tape, before you even begin to consider putting them in a machine, and then how do you start dealing with your video tapes and your machinery. Do you want to start, Bruce?

BRUCE FELLOWS: Yes. This is a little bit different, to approach it from your standpoint. But, if I was in an archival situation - if somebody brought in a box of tapes and asked "what are my concerns here in terms of storing these tapes?" Maybe the first question I would ask is "what format are they recorded on?" And there is already reference by the artists that there's been just a tremendous evolution. I joined 3M in 1969. Basically, there was only one really popular format at that time - it was the two inch quad recorders that used 4950 feet of two inch tape for a one hour recording. And that changed. There was just an onslaught of new recording formats. Every week, a new shiny recorder would come in the room. And everybody was trying to figure out how to do this. And this led to tremendous incompatibility issues that you probably are dealing with. The new recorder would come in, shiny and new, and then the next, seems like only a few years later, it was its way out. I might make the point that for half-inch reel-to-reel, that's particularly true. Before there was a standard, what was called the EIAJ standard, there were a lot of companies making half-inch reel-to-reel tapes, and each one did it a little bit differently. Sometimes they put the audio tracks at the top, sometimes they put them on the bottom. Sometimes the control track pulses were at the top, sometimes at the bottom. The angle at which the video tracks mate with the edge of the tape were different, so there were geometric problems, formatting issues. And the frequencies that were used to represent the picture were different, between one format and another. So, there's a good chance that if you're new in the video archiving thing, and you get a reel-to-reel tape, and you flop it on your machine and it doesn't play back, it was recorded on one of these nonstandard things. So it's really important when you get a half-inch reel-to-reel tape to identify it. This is a Concord half-inch non-standard EIAJ format. And I'm telling you you're going to have an awful time finding recorders of those types to play these back. A lot of material has been lost simply because the people that were put in charge of storing these things weren't cognizant of what was happening in terms of the format's life, so start with an understanding of where these formats are at. Because I think you mentioned that Sony made their last 3/4 inch machine last year. I'll bet you a lot of you are using the 3/4 inch format, and they've stopped producing the recorders. And the big King Kong of all video recording was the quad recorder, and we have one of them left in Minneapolis, in the Twin Cities - one.

So, the first question is, OK, these are recorded on such and such a format. Where in the life of this format are we? Get the best feel for it that you possibly can. Then the next is to take a look at the condition of the tapes. Of primary concern is how many passes they've had. Tapes change with passes. Their edges tend to get stretched and corrugated. They tend to polish up, they tend to seize on the transports when they're played. If they're stored even for as short a time as a couple of days in high humidity, you'll have tremendous problems. It was interesting - the first artist that was up talked about the problems he'd had, and I noticed there were pictures from Belize and Central American countries. Well, those were areas where I covered and provided technical support. The worst enemy of magnetic tape is humidity. And humidity causes what we call hydrolysis, and it leads to a breakdown of the binding system, and it becomes very gummy. And while it's somewhat reversible, for the most part, it's not. You must also know that a lot of the materials, some of the materials in the tapes are organic and they support fungus. And I've seen library after library wiped out. Basically, what will happen is they'll just maltreat a small part of their library, they'll put it on the machine, the spores transfer over to the machine, and every subsequent tape becomes contaminated. You in California have pretty good environment, pretty good overall. But I'm telling you when you go into Central America, South America, Northern South America in particular, or anywhere along the equatorial belt, fungus is a major, major concern. I'm concerned about people who have gotten videocassettes - half-inch VHS cassettes - instead of high school annuals, a lot of the schools were providing videotapes, and these are watched a whole bunch of times when they first get them, and they stick them out there in the garage, store them, and they've turned green, and I don't know of any way of recovering tapes that have been infested by fungus. So put that high on your list. You want comfortable environment, and that means around 70 degrees, maybe a little cooler, and maybe 40% relative humidity; for long-term storage, you may want it lower than that. So you wonder where in the world those tapes that you just got in have been stored. Another thing that I would look at is the condition of the wind. You can look through the window if they're cassettes, or you can look through the flange holes and see whether there's a nice, smooth wind, or whether the wind is scattered. The most fragile part of a tape is the edges of a tape. If you see a scattered wind when you pick up the reel, you deflect the flanges and you hear a crunching sound, and probably the control track pulse is on the edge of the tape, it's just been flattened, eradicated. And then, of course, there are chemical concerns. But what I would try to do is take a sample of these tapes, and I would take the top off the machine, and I would put them on and play them full-length, and what I would watch for is I'd watch for the tendency for the picture to go to snow. I would listen for a wobbling in the audio levels, I would watch for the picture to lock up and then become unlocked - locked up and then unlocked. All of these are signs that there is deterioration or physical damage on the tape. After judging these samples of tapes, I would make a decision on whether or not it was worth pursuing their long-term storage.

BENI: That's a wonderful start. I do think I have some green stuff in my house. I'd like to open up the floor for questions. Any types of questions that you have. The doctors are in. Yes?

Q: [Unintelligible]

BRUCE: I don't think that's an accurate characterization... The question has to do with whether there was a point in time where there was a movement to whale oil as a lubricant, and whether or not the shift toward that led to a situation where the qualities of tapes - a shift away from. It is true that materials of both types have been used, but I wouldn't characterize good tapes and bad tapes based on that criteria. There were a lot of problems. One of the major problems was a thing called oligamers. If you pick up a white plastic bag, sometimes it has that milky look to it. There are materials in there that can migrate slowly to the surface. If you take a half-inch reel-to-reel tape, it's a half-inch by 2400 feet, and you multiply that out, you end up with 1200 square inches, an incredible amount of surface area to store that recording. Let's say that even the smallest amount of material was exuding over time, exuding to the tape surface, and then the tape was played. Well, when the tape is played on a U-Matic recorder, I think the video heads travel 23 miles during the playing of a one hour tape. The video heads dig into the tape and go running across it at 400 inches per second, and if there's any amount of debris there at all, it will pick it up. And these oligamers were indigenous to the binders and the backings that were used in those days, and we didn't know how to control it. We discovered it right along with you, and they became, in essence, time bombs. I think most of the problems that occurred in the past were related to that, rather than a switch from one kind of lubricant to another. Lubricants are important, but I think the bigger problem was these oligamers.

Q: [Unintelligible]

BRUCE: I know of no way - it actually infests the surface. It penetrates it, it becomes a part of the coating and/or the backing. I think a visual inspection is your best bet. Some of these come off in God-awful colors. Well, you see what fungus does, I mean, I'm a bachelor - every time I open my refrigerator door, there it is! It is just that bad on tape, too - it's green, it's all different colors, a mottled look. It's fungus. Those of you from Florida know exactly what I'm talking about; it's probably the worst state in the Union for fungus. Yes?

Q: [Unintelligible]

BRUCE: The temperature is by far the one that has the most latitude of safety. On earlier recordings, there was the concern about high temperature, because it caused the audio to print from layer to layer on the tape. You probably have played an audio tape, and you hear a pre-sound, and then you hear the sound, and then you hear a post-sound. The magnetic information on the audio can transfer from layer to layer. And that's because, in part, because it's a long wave-length. It penetrates the magnetic coating more than the video does. Video is just on the surface, and their print is used constructively for high speed duplication, but it's of no practical concern for you. There are concerns about shrinkage in high temperature. For example, you take a VHS cassette recorded like at a wedding, and you throw it in the back window of your car. There's a good chance that when you play that tape, it will have shrunk because of the heat. And when you play it back, what you'll see is a flagging activity. The picture will be folded over at the top. On old video recorders, there used to be a tension control to increase the tension, to restretch the tape back out to its original size. But on U-Matic recorders, and all the cassette formats that I'm familiar with, there is no tension control, or skew control to compensate for that. So I would, above 75 degrees or so, I would start to become concerned. On the low end, the concern becomes when you move that tape from a cooler environment to a warm, moist environment, does it cause any water condensation? That's a problem we have in Minnesota - news crews will go out and shoot a bunch of Betacam videocassettes, and leave them in the trunk of the car and they turn cold. Then they get back to the studio, and they've got a rush job to get these things patched together into a program. And that cold tape sucks all the moisture out of the air and damp tape is just a disaster waiting to happen. Damp tapes will grab on all the guiding surfaces in the cassette and within the machine, and you're asking for damage to the tape for sure, and possibly even damage to the machine. So that really determines the lower limit. For storage, you can go down fairly cold without any major concerns. Humidity, though, that's the one you want to watch. And there are concerns at both ends - the worst and most common problem is the high end, but when you get into a low humidity environment, I mentioned earlier there were concerns about static, and these may not show up on the machine, the VCRs when they're new, but it will when they get older, and the drums - the electrical grounding of the drums become poorer and poorer with time, and almost every format I've been involved with, sooner or later the static problem causes the tape to cling to parts in the cassette and the transport, and drag to a stop. And there are also some enormous sparks that I would think would pose a risk to some of the circuitry in the recorder. But for storage, low humidity is not that bad. Comfortable for humans is good for tape. That's a good rule of thumb.

BENI: Unless you live in Minnesota.

Q: [Unintelligible]

BRUCE: Well, I would go through the transport with isopropyl alcohol and clean all guiding surfaces. Yes?

Q: [Unintelligible]

BRUCE: Yes, we sent some of the spores that we found on tapes over to our health department, you know, 3M's big in the health area. And they went "yikes" a couple of times, and said, "Do you know what this stuff is?" And they started mentioning botulism and just ugly words. So, it's no joke.

BENI MATIAS: Bruce, I have a question for you. When can I or should I bake my videotape?

BRUCE: Uh... uh...

BENI MATIAS: It was in the literature that I read - it said I could bake my videotapes. I just want to know.

BRUCE: Yeah, one of the problems that can happen with tapes that are stored for long periods of time, and where there is chemical degradation, is they can experience a thing called blocking, and this is when there is layer-to-layer adhesion. I think it's most common on the half-inch reel-to-reel. I know Sony had an awful time with some of their formulations with it. I don't know how big of a problem it was for the company I worked for, but basically, when you put these things on and you dub them off to U-Matic or whatever, VHS, you push the play button and you hear a ripping sound, and basically what's happening is the magnetic coating is ripped off the site that it was coated on and is transferred now to the back side, it's glued to the back side. And that's not a good recoverable kind of a situation. All of the tape companies that I'm familiar with are familiar with the fact that recovery efforts can be enhanced by, in some cases - this is risky business - when you can't play it back any other way, you explore these ideas. The tapes can be heated. And this will allow them to be played temporarily. If you combine heating with wiping - I've had U-Matic tapes, for example, and these were 3M tapes, that came in, put them on the machine and hit the play button, and it was like 1001, and the picture had turned to snow. So, obviously I was in big trouble. So I cleaned the video heads, hit the play button, 1001, and it was back to snow again. So the video heads were loading up big time. And I stored those tapes at 125 degrees Fahrenheit for three days. And then I wiped them, using wiping fabric, and they played back end to end. But a few days later when I tried them, they were back to clogging again. I sometimes wish I was still at 3M, because I know there are people still calling - we're out of the business - still calling, saying, what do I do? And I could tell them if I was there. Yes.

Q: [Unintelligible]

BRUCE: Yes. I know that's a contradiction, but in fact in most cases, it does shrink. It has everything to do the way the polyester is processed. The way the backing is made is, it's kind of extruded, and it goes through rollers, and these rollers can elongate it in the tape direction, or cross direction, or some combination thereof, and these backings can be pre-shrunk. I would almost expect a pre- shrunk tape to expand when it was heated, rather than contract. I've had more problems with tapes shrinking as a consequence of high temperature than I have expanding.

Q: [Unintelligible]

BRUCE: Thank you - that's a perfect description of the situation. The change in the 3M products occurred somewhere in the middle. Some of our earlier production tapes were not on pre-shrunk backing, and when we dug them out of archival situations and put them on, the skew error was so severe that it was beyond the range of the correction on the machine. Then once we got to the pre-shrunk backing, we actually would heat the stock rolls - I think that's the way they did it, and then that problem seemed to come under control. But don't be surprised when you put these old tapes on to see the evidence of the physical displacement of the information on the tape. The most visible in the video because it causes the top of the picture to hook one way or hook the other way. It's called skew error.

BENI: I have a question now. My videotape, from what you've told me, is only as good as my access to machinery. Right?


BENI: What can we do about also understanding how we need to keep the machinery functioning?

BRUCE: It was nice when I was at 3M, because we had tentacles out into the industry, and we had so many users that I would help track down recorders. Somebody would say, "Where can I find an Akai 1/4 inch video recorder?" And I'd say, "Boy, I just happened to see one at the last call I made, and there was one sitting on the shelf, and I'll put them in touch." But I'm afraid I can't contribute in that way. I'll tell you a little story. I got a call from a fellow down in Kentucky - I'll use Paducah... anybody from Paducah, forgive me - but he says, "Hello, Mr. Fellows. I'm the mayor of Paducah, Kentucky. We're all going to have our bicentennial down here. I'm going to give a speech and we're going to videotape it, and we're going to stick it in a time capsule for a thousand years. And I want to know whether it'll play back." And I paused for a second, and I said, "Your Honor, I have a question for you." "Yes?" "Are you going to bury a video recorder?" And dead silence at the other end. Hadn't even thought about it. But I'm telling you, I've gotten so many calls from people, trying to play some of these obscure tapes back. It's really a serious matter. I might say a little bit about digital. We haven't talked about digital, and that seems to be the magic word. I'm hoping that, as you know, when you make analog copies, the errors, the mistakes, the noise, the dropouts, everything, timing errors, all accumulate and are passed on from generation to generation. So, particularly on the lower end formats, the picture goes to pieces pretty fast. There wasn't much room to start with. On VHS, for example, you make a master, and now you're down second generation on your master, then you make a work master, now you're three, and you make your copy, that's four. And now, you as archivists are going to come in and say, well, we want to move this over on a different format , and that's five. It's falling apart. It's possible that in the future, digital will turn out to be a much more ideal storage medium. It has the potential anyway, because as long as a one stays a one, and a zero a zero... We talk about digital recording, we're representing the information in ones and zeroes - both sound and video. Instead of having an electrical signal that's rising and falling continuously. As long as a one stays a one and a zero stays a zero, you're making clones, and you can see the advantage of that. In the lab, we went a hundred generations on one of the digital formats, and it looked just like the master. The difficulty that will emerge, and you're going to have to watch this to see what's possible - you should have understanding in this area, and it should be part of your planning. There is a tremendous evolution in the digital area, different ways of compressing. Those of you who are on the Internet are passing video images around, like GIF files, JPEG and MPEG. Know that some of these files can be transcoded, and you're going to be facing the same thing with the various digital formats. There's going to be an evolution there, too - I see the digital video cassette is now on the marketplace in the Twin Cities. First consumer digital video recorder - and there will be a better one later on. And then you'll want to move the information from one to the other. One of the things that you should do is convert the digital information into video, put it into the video input on the new recorder, and then convert it back into digital and plop it on the tape. But there's some degradation in that conversion process, both ways, so the ideal way would be having a black box that would transcode, just like your computer does when it converts a JPEG file into a GIF file. So that's an area that I don't envy you, having to follow this - develop your experts, and try to follow what's possible as digital formats evolve, because they will. Yes?

JIM WHEELER: [Unintelligible]

BRUCE: Jim, first of all, it's awfully good to see you again. Jim is from Ampex. And while we competed in the tape area, we had so many friends, and we depended on each other. In addition to the machines falling apart, you have to remember that tapes have chemical characteristics that cause them to crumble with time. Let me guarantee you that video recorders have components that crumble with time, too. I opened up a drawer just before I left the lab, where we'd stored - I don't know if it was a part for an old Ampex recorder, or a Sony, but it was a belt and it had completely liquified. I had an elliptical - the point I want to make here is, the drums corrode, the pinch rollers get hard, the parts become hard to replace, and I hope that in each of your operations you have people who are really into the industry, they're into it passionately, so that they're following these things, and they have the historical perspective that these things have a finite life, because just as the tapes get old and die, the machines do, too. I saw so many interesting recorders come into our lab, I loved to rip open those boxes and see what popped out. And then they died, you'd see them gathering dust. I wonder whether it might not be too late for some of the formats. The half-inch reel-to-reel stuff - maybe something could be done there. You should start thinking about storing parts and stuff, pinch rollers, and the head scanners maybe for your best U-Matic recorders, because perhaps you might want to move those over next. Yes?

Q: [Unintelligible]

BRUCE: Right now I'm watching all the people in our Magnetic Products Division relocate, watching all these years of expertise just drifting off into other areas of science. Fortunately, they're excited about it - almost all of them have been placed. But gee, it sure would be nice to have access to them. I don't know how that could be accomplished.

MONA JIMENEZ: [Unintelligible]

BRUCE: I traveled about 3 million miles for 3M - I was in 65 countries. I've been in a lot of old video storerooms, and their old machines sure didn't have priority in terms of air conditioning. Just as you can be concerned with how their old tapes were stored, you can be concerned about how their old machines were stored. So it's a serious problem. Yes, sir?

Q: [Unintelligible]

BRUCE: I've been out of the game for the last two years, but I'll try to answer your question. My perception is that there were a lot of horror stories out there about metal particle tapes, and they were generated from the earlier renderings of it. I think there has just been tremendous progress in the encapsulation of these metal particles in such as way that rust isn't a problem. But it was a problem, it certainly was. In fact, when the tapes were slit, you could see rust along the edges. Two years ago, certainly, when I was there, things were looking very, very good. In my mind, if I were to say, what are the prospects of this tape lasting for a long time, like fifteen or twenty years, I wouldn't make that decision based on whether it was a metal particle tape or a gamma ferric oxide tape or a cobalt modified tape. Where evaporated tapes are concerned, that's a whole, whole different domain. I don't know, maybe you'd like to make some comments, Jim, about that. I know it's an extremely difficult process. Electroplating tapes is a difficult proposition, and I'm sure they're making mistakes at the front end of this, and where they're at now... The earlier evaporated metal tapes that I saw were pretty bad. They had high dropouts, there were real severe problems. Electroplating tapes - you get an incredibly smooth surface by doing that. You have the potential of getting that, but if that incredibly thin, efficient magnetic coating simply mirrors the roughness of the back coating, you haven't accomplished anything. And if that incredibly smooth surface is wrapped around polyester debris eroded from the edges and wound into the tape back, that again doesn't accomplish all that much. But I expect that it will follow the course of other types of tapes, that is, you'll see a lot of mistakes made on the front end and then it'll get progressively better, both from the archiving standpoint - and it doesn't change the rules of storage one iota in my judgment. Cool and dry is best. And leave the tapes in a good wind, with a good smooth tape wind. And another thing I think you should do is store the tapes so that the hubs support the tape. If you leave the tape stored flat, what happens is you lose your air conditioning control. Those winds can loosen up and then they'll sag. And then when you tip the tape up and stick it in the transport, and the transport yanks on the edge of the tape, it'll sometimes pull the tape in between the flange and the tape deck, and you've got a real mess on your hands. So you want to store the tapes with as smooth a wind as possible, and you want to store them so the hubs support the tape. The flanges are vertical.

BENI: Unfortunately, we've run out of time. Thank you all for coming. Barbara will have some final comments. Mona Smith also reminded me that she's Dakota from Minnesota, and that they always look seven generations into the future, and she wanted to remind us that this is one of the things that we who are in the video and in the magnetic arts field - I don't want to use electronics any more, because it sounds like "I've been saved, I know the difference now." So, just think of what materials we're working with now, and what materials we're going to need to preserve for the future generations. Thank you.

BARBARA LONDON: I want to thank Beni, Bruce and Rebecca. I think we have even more to share. We didn't even get into the plastic binders and the rubber that's rotting and going to hell inside, but we need to talk a lot more. Next, we're going to have Morrie Warshawski talk, and then we'll have a quick break for lunch.

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