Media Facts


  1. Video records are a vital part of our culture, but videotape is prone to deterioration and losing its recorded contents over time.
  2. Videotape and all magnetic media is considered high risk from a preservation perspective.
  3. Fewer than 50% of all feature films made before 1950 have survived.
  4. In 1990 Universal Studios lost thousands of videos of TV shows and movies in a back lot fire.
  5. Universal Studios on June 1, 1998 lost 40,000 to 50,000 videos and film reels in a video vault that burned in a devastating fire.
  6. Many films have sadly been burned in warehouse fires or turned to vinegar in uncontrolled storage environments.
  7. Every original piece of film footage by director Billy Wilder has gone missing,including the original negative of Sunset Boulevard.
  8. MAP can convert your media into digital assets for secure access.
  9. We can create an efficient document management process to capture, archive, search, and retrieve information from multiple venues.
  10. We facilitate the preservation of historic video by capturing the assets to individual computer files that can be copied without loss – forever.
  11. Videotape priority for digital transfer is determined by age, condition, and video format. 3/4” U-matic tape is threatened severely if more than 10 years old, Hi8 is jeopardized at all ages, Betacam SP and 1“ tape are endangered, betamax is critically endangered . 1/2” open reel tape and 2” tape are extinct with very few machines in existence to playback the tape.
  12. Videotape was introduced in the mid 1950's and over 65 formats of analog and digital tape have been in use at one time or another.
  13. Videotape can easily be damaged by sunlight, fungus, extreme temperatures, and changing levels of humidity that cause expansion or contraction of the tape itself.
  14. Wet or damp videotapes are particularly vulnerable to damage. Roof leaks, flooding, broken pipes, sewer problems, fire sprinkler systems, and spilled liquids can cause severe contamination and damage.
  15. The estimated life of videotapes if properly stored is 10-20 years. However, equipment and format obsolescence may pose a greater threat to the life of tape than the media degradation factors.
  16. The ability to play back a videotape in the future depends on the existence of functional playback equipment.
  17. The chemical binder that holds the magnetic particles on the videotape is the weakest point of most tape. Some binders can degrade in just a few years.
  18. Migration to digital media must play a significant role in a comprehensive approach to videotape preservation.

Download: Preservation Facts