Mini DV tapes are small magnetic tapes encased in a cassette. It is designed for recording and playback of audio and video shot using a small video recorder. It was originally designed to be used by amateurs but has now gained popularity among professional videographers. Carrying the mini DV cassettes with you while filming and recording can attract particles of dirt and dust on the tape’s magnetic surface, which can affect the video recording or playback. Check out the tips below on how to clean mini DV tapes.
- Immediately wipe the mini DV cassette tape when liquid such as water, juice, soft drinks or what ever gets in contact with the cassette. Liquid can seep through the gaps and opening of the cassette and land on the magnetic tape. Damp cloth, tissues or paper towels will usually keep your mini DV cassettes clean. Make sure that you keep the cassettes dry.
- Use a lint-free microfiber cloth for general cleaning. Wipe the outside of the cassette. Open the cassette tape lid and wipe the inside of the lid. Using a microfiber cloth ensures that no lint will be left on the magnetic tape surface that can ruin your recording or playback.
- Some of the dirt and other foreign particles are transferred on the magnetic tape from the video camera itself. Open the lid of the cassette tape chamber and take a look the capstans and leader guide. Oftentimes there will be some buildup there from the tapes themselves. Soak the end of a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and carefully rub this along the surface of the capstans. Do not forget the recording head, as this can also be a source of dirt that gets transferred to the tape. Lightly swipe the moistened cotton swab over them. Shine a flashlight inside the chamber to enable you to see better.
- Take a look at the surface of the tape to check if there are foreign particles that have adhered to the tape’s surface. See if you can lift the particles with a cotton swab moistened with a bit of water. Gently rub the cotton swab over the tape so as not to stretch or scratch it. Advance the tape slowly with finger as you look at the tape surface and remove whatever is on the surface.
- Prop the lid of the cassette tape and blow the interior of the cassette tape with compressed air to dislodge any other materials that may have been trapped inside the cassette. If you have used water to clean the inside of the tape casing, make sure that you wipe the surface dry and allow sufficient time for the inside to dry completely before closing the cassette lid.
Always handle your mini DV tapes with clean and dry hands. Include a separate foam lined insulated bag to hold your mini DV tapes to prevent them from knocking against other hard object as well as prevent dust and other foreign particles from getting into the tapes.