No matter how well a magnetic tape is preserved, if a natural or industrial disaster strikes, the results can be catastrophic. Precautionary measures can be taken in the design of a storage area to minimize risk, but unforeseen circumstances may occur, putting an entire collection of magnetic tapes at risk. After a disaster, some material may be damaged beyond recovery, but prompt action will ensure that a collection can have good or even excellent recovery potential. Video and audiotape have special handling and recovery requirements when damaged by water, smoke or fire, shock or mold. sio.co is fully prepared and equipped to deal with even the most severe disaster situations.
The sio.co recovery process is comprehensive, well proven and complies with all OSHA and National Safety Board regulations. Upon receipt of the video or audiotapes at the sio.co laboratory, the material will be sorted by damage and assigned priorities, and then the stabilization and decontamination process will begin. A written report will be prepared, detailing the extent of the damage and problems that have occurred, and an estimate of the time and cost necessary to recover the materials. This report will also be helpful when submitting a claim to your insurance company to recover the cost of the damage.
Each situation requires different approaches to recovery but a tape may first require rinsing and drying, vacuuming or re-spooling, all of which are performed in our climate-controlled disaster prep area. Contaminants and residue left by the water and smoke on the tape will need to be removed completely before a successful playback can be performed. The method of cleaning will vary depending on the extent of the damage. Tapes that have been left unattended for a period of time after exposure to water, resulting in the tape sticking together, will most likely be cleaned by hand.
Many will be cleaned with our customized cleaning machines that employ multiple transports that roll slowly against both sides of the tape. Our cleaning machines were built or modified by their manufacturers according to our specifications. Our process is incremental and non-intrusive. Each pass on the machine is gentle. Its purpose is to remove dirt and other debris while correcting wind at the same time.
The audio or videotape is then remastered onto a new tape to insure that it will last well into the future As the master is being played back, a restoration specialist closely monitors and documents any irregularities that may be have been left by the exposure to contaminants. Adjustments will be made when necessary.