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Emergency Preparedness and Response

Collection Recovery Methods: Audio/Visual Recordings

Audio/Visual Recordings include any motion picture films, audio or video tape recordings, and compact discs.

Motion picture and aerial film   -   Sound and video recordings on magnetic tapes   -   Compact discs (CDs)


Motion picture and aerial film

Recovery Priority during 24-48 hours

  • Bare films will fuse together permanently if allowed to dry in contact with each other. Cover them with plastic to prevent partial drying until they can be frozen or salvaged. Image surfaces are susceptible to mold and physical damage, especially at high temperatures.
  • Rewash and dry within 48 hours.
  • Local commercial photo labs that offer traditional photographic processing may be used to rewash and dry films. (Certain filmmakers will only reprocess, dry, and box their brand motion picture film.)

Freezing Procedures

  • Keep wet or moist films wet. Do not remove wet films from boxes or cans; hold carton together with rubber bands or tape.
  • Pack in plastic containers or cardboard cartons lined with garbage bags to prevent drying prior to freezing. Keep wet up to 48 hours only.

Air Drying Procedures

  • Damp motion picture and aerial film on rolls:
    • Place the roll on a rewind station. Unroll the film one section at a time onto a new core and dry by using a handheld blow dryer on cool temperature.
    • To prevent drying and fusing or any moist sections on the remaining rolled portion, cover with plastic while working on the unrolled sections.
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Sound and video recordings on magnetic tapes

Recovery Priority during the first 24-48 hours

  • Immediately rinse off rolls or cassettes if soaked by dirty water.
  • Dry within 48 hours if stored in paper boxes. Otherwise, tapes may be stored for several days.
  • Do not touch magnetic media with bare hands.
  • Do not scratch the surface of exposed magnetic tape.
  • Send to a commercial vendor for salvage. See also Salvage of Wet Videotapes.

Freezing Procedures

Air Drying Procedures

  • Carefully wick moisture from the edges of the roll by gently blotting with an absorbent material.
  • Keep wet or moist tapes in plastic bags until they can be dried. Pack vertically in a plastic crate or tub.
  • Air dry by laying rolls flat on an absorbent material.
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Compact discs (CDs)

Recovery Priority during the first 24-48 hours

  • Using clean water, immediately rinse off discs soaked by dirty water. Dry discs on water absorbent materials (e.g. blotters).
  • Dry paper enclosures within 48 hours.
  • During the cleaning process, make sure to avoid scratching the discs' surfaces.

Freezing Procedures

  • For large quantites of wet discs, pack vertically in crates or cardboard cartons.

Air Drying Procedures

  • Air dry only.
  • Drain excess water.
  • Stand CDs in rack, or spread them out on an absorbent material.
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