Mag Deterioration Glossary

With most audio formats like tapes and discs, there are fairly limited forms of surface deterioration.  However, magnetic film deterioration through vinegar syndrome can be especially severe and varied.  Each film stock often has its own “personality” in the way it deteriorates and behaves.  Additionally, the storage conditions and handling history of a particular set of film can further influence its unique deterioration.   Following is a photo glossary of some of the various issues we are often called upon to deal with:  


Base dye separating


Broken perfs


Cardboard fibers on mag


Edge curl

Mag powder

Missing oxide

Plasticizer crystals

Plasticizer powder 

Plasticizer spotting

Plasticizer spotting

Poor film repairs

Shrinkage Dimples


"Slimed" (previous transfer lubricant applied)

Sticky oxide loss

Surface scoring