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Cleaning Digital Video Tapes

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 8/24/2009

Here is a guide to cleaning digital video tapes for your video camera.

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    Making Them Last

    You will likely begin to notice that you will blow through digital video tapes on a regular basis. Even though videographers tend to not reuse tapes often, if you want to get the full life range from them you have to put in some effort. This digital video tape maintenance means protecting the tapes for further video use and for the information they store. Here are some tips for cleaning tapes so they can continue to be reliable.

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    Brush

    The most important thing you can do is to clean them without being too invasive. This means hardly ever using any form of liquid cleaner except in rare cases when it is specifically designed fluid for cleaning digital video tapes. If you do use a cleaning solution it is important that you use very little and follow instructions carefully.

    Your best practice should be to get a micro fiber brush and go into both the bottom tape revealing area as well as the center circles where the spokes are located. Go through this area lightly, and if you can get a micro fiber cloth in there that will be great as well. You can try using cloth that is specifically used to clean glasses. This will help prevent scratches.

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    Canned Air

    If you see dust obstruction or objects being lodged inside then you can try to use air in here. Compressed canned air can be great for getting inside hard to reach places. There is less risk of damage with compressed air, but do not get the nossel too deep inside.

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    Maintenance

    The most important cleaning tip is common tape maintenance. Never put your tape into a digital video camera that has been using a different brand of digital video tapes. Different brands use different lubricants and this can create blockage both in the camera and the video tape. Always keep your tapes cased and avoid allowing them to engage in normal outside irritants. If you can give them a moderate clean down after every use that is helpful. This includes wiping down the casing as this can be the main source of dirt infestation.