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How to Prepare a Tape for Editing

In professional editing situations, correct tape preparation is very important.

Exactly how you prepare your tapes will depend on your circumstances. The following procedure outlines a typical method for professional editing. It's not always necessary to complete all of these steps—use your discretion to decide which steps are appropriate for your situation.

  1. Check that the tape is clean and free of dust.
  2. Fast-forward the tape to the end, then rewind. This ensures that the tape has the correct tension.
  3. Record "black" from a stable source throughout the entire tape, then rewind. This is critical if you're planning on using insert editing but isn't necessary for assemble editing. If you don't know what these terms mean, then you probably don't need to do this step.
  4. Record 30-60 seconds of correctly configured colour bars and audio tone at the beginning of the tape. This provides a technical reference for use later.