Hi-8 Tape Recovery


Feb 4, 2015

I recently found an old Hi-8 tape at the back of my attic, it's been broken and all the tape is pulled out and mangled, I'm guessing one of the kids broke it years ago and stashed it. It's been in an attic so it's pretty dusty as you can imagine. I'm just wondering if there is any point trying to recover the data on it or will it all be gone? I'm estimating it's been there about 10 years.


Mitchell Robinson

Sep 18, 2013
Hello there,

It just so happens that this problem is what my job is all about. Now i'm based in Australia working for a company called DiskBank. We specialize in recovering/repairing and transferring old media to new digital forms. You are more than welcome to send the tape(s) over to us by post and we can fix and capture any tapes/film you have.

Ofcourse, you could always try and repair the tape yourself. If you are going to do this be careful when handling the tape inside. The tape is easily damaged by the oil on your fingers etc. I would recommend using a pair of cloth gloves. Unscrew the 5 screws under the tape using a small phillips head screw. Now be careful to make sure the tape doesn't come apart in this step as there are lots of small pieces and springs that fall out unless the tape is faced upwards.

Now you need to take both the take-up reels out of the hi8 casing and, using scissors or a sharp razor, cut off any badly damaged tape. Unfortunately if the tape is all screwed up or ripped you will never see that footage clearly again. and if you try and run it through a camera damaged it may get tangled in the camera and cause you even more hassles. So its best to just cut of excess damaged tape.

Next you need to splice the tape back together. To do this you need to cut the end of the tape at a 45 degree angle so that when you tape it back together the 45 degree angles fit together. Now using some clear tape neatly tape the splice together, making sure not to have any tape hanging over the edge. Any excess tape that may be hanging out from the splice will cause the tape to get caught in the playback device. There is some good quality tape for splicing if you want to go find some. Its simply called splicing tape. 3M and Scotch make it.

Now that the tape is spliced back together place the two takeup reels back in the case making sure that the tape is running correctly through. Carefully place the top back on making sure not to knock any or the springs around and re-screw.

Now the spliced area will act funny when you play it back throough the tape for a few seconds, but for the most part you should have a decent image.

Unfortunately with these old tapes they degrade quite quickly so its best to get it put to digital media ASAP.

There is more information at my businesses website. Diskbank

As i said earlier, you are more than welcome to ship the tape(s) to us here in Aus. We service American customers all the time :)

Goodluck with your tape!

- Mitch

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