How To Splice Videotape
By James Grahame
Conventional wisdom has it that you should never splice videotape. Most video mavens suggest that the best way to repair a damaged cassette is to cut out the damaged strip, find a "donor" tape case, and create two short tapes. This works in most cases, but you'll be unable to view a short period of content at the beginning/end of the cut tapes. You'll need to resort to more drastic measures if you wish to recover every frame possible.
Contrary to popular belief, videotape can be spliced in an emergency. You'll need a tape splicing block, razor blade, and properly sized splicing tape (never use Scotch tape for this -- it will bleed gummy residue onto the tape and tape head). You can then cut out the damaged tape and splice the two undamaged pieces together.
Back in the day, splicing was a standard skill for recording
engineers. The only difference (and it's a biggie) is that analog
reel-to-reels use linear heads, whereas video decks use rotary heads
that maximize contact. Spliced videotape should be played only in dire emergencies, and should be played only once to archive onto a more stable medium. This will minimize the risk of head damage.
So where do you get this equipment? Glad you asked. Tape Center sells a variety of splicing blocks for audio and videotape, including 1/2" (VHS), 8mm, and miniDV. The aluminum blocks are made from hardened aircraft aluminum, and have precision-machined tape and cut guides.
Aluminum tape splicing blocks (Tape Center)