Friday, May 1, 2009

Who you gonna call?

One of the main reasons I prefer doing stop-motion is that I like working with my hands. I'm pretty sure I get that from my father. I like building things, fixing things, taking things apart, putting them back together… the whole she-bang.

A long time ago I was hanging out at a friend’s house. How long ago? Let me put it in perspective for you: we all rented a VHS and had just popped it in when the VCR preceded to eat the tape. Typical. Well, for any number of reasons (none of which actually matter), I sat down and decided to fix the tape.

Now, for those of you who don’t remember the joy of VHS, you can’t just wind the tape back up like a cassette. You have to crack open the casing. Last night, I popped a tape into the VCR and heard the familiar sound of crinkling plastic. It actually kind of excited me.

If you ever find yourself in this kind of predicament, relax.

Find yourself a small screwdriver and, depending on the tape, some kind of edge you can cut with. Next comes the hardest part: fighting with the VCR to remove the video. Here’s where it can all go wrong: if you rip the tape, it’s all over.

Luckily, I was able to separate the VHS from my TV. Then I sat down to work on fixing what very well maybe one of the few surviving copies of The Real Ghostbusters: Showdown at the O.K. Corral on VHS (and yes, I paid for it).

Remove all the screws and try to keep in mind which holes they came from. Gently pry open the case. You may not be able to open it all the way. Some old tapes have labels and unless you absolutely need to, you probably want to refrain from removing them.

Wind the tape back in and screw the casing back together.

Ta-da! And for those wondering, I did manage to fix the tape my friends and I rented. I have no recollection as to what it was, though. Apparently, my joy at resurrecting the VHS overshadowed the feature.

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