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Old 01-12-2010, 02:27 AM   #1
Rik1138 Rik1138 is offline
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Default Warning about storing Blu-rays in anything other than cases

So, after a couple of years of thinking Blu-ray discs were indestructible since I've never been able to scratch one accidentally, I discovered a potential flaw in their design that can cause some real problems depending on how you store them. I have a lot of check disc samples and other discs that don't have cases, so I thought I'd keep them in those white sleeves made out of that material that's impossible to rip (Tyvek, if you know what I'm talking about). Non-cased discs (like check discs) come in these from some of the disc manufacturers...

Well, I started looking at some discs over the weekend that had been in a stack of discs packaged like this for months (in some cases, almost a year), and noticed that every one of them has permanent pits and marks in the read surface of the disc!

Turns out, the material on the read-side of the disc that prevents it from being scratched easily is very slightly 'viscous' (I think that's the word, it's not a hardened material). Over time, the surface pattern of the white sleeves actually pressed itself into the surface of the discs (and it does make the disc unreadable in that area). I found many discs like this, and they all gave me read errors if I tried to play them back or copy them to my computer.

Also, if there was any unique shape touching the discs, that shape could be clearly seen pressed into the surface of the disc. I suspect if you put a stack of coins on a disc and leave it there, it will leave an impression of the bottom coin on the disc (I'm testing this now... )

Now, most people probably get discs in cases and leave them there, don't change that practice. But, I'm wondering if there's anyone that likes to store their Blu-rays in a binder, or some other way that allows any kind of material to actually touch the surface of the disc. If you fall in this category, look at some discs that have been stored like this for several months or more and see if the read side is still perfectly shiny... I'm curious to see if a cloth material or something really soft will still do this.

Also, any bonus Blu-rays that might come packaged in a sleeve instead of a case are at risk...

Now, this part is kind of cool: Since I now had discs that were unreadable, I figured I'd take a chance with them and see if heating them up somehow would fix them. A friend tried it on one of his (I'm not the only one to confirm this problem) with a hair dryer, and was actually successful in removing the pits by heating them. So, I tried several of mine that wouldn't read anymore, and I was able to recover them all (unless the pits return over time). Obviously, you don't want to melt your discs, so be careful, but it is an interesting discovery. (It's also possible that, over time, taking your disc out of the envelope and putting it in a case will slowly cause the pits to disappear... Not sure about that...)

I'm also going to try putting some scratches on a 'trash disc' and see if the heat process will remove those. Since this layer melts at a lower temperature than the disc plastic itself (apparently), you can heat it up to the point of fixing it self without worry about warping the disc (but I'd still put it on a flat surface). I want to see if the layer is actually melting a little (which would probably remove a scratch), or if it's just heating up enough to 're-settle' into it's original state (which would probably not remove a scratch).

So, final word of advice: Make sure all of your Blu-ray discs (store-bought, demos/samplers, BD-Rs and I suspect PS3 games) are stored in actual cases, and not binders/sleeves. (Or stacked in spindles if you like that, the surface is protected when stacked in a spindle.)

I'd be curious to hear if anyone else has noticed a sudden appearance of surface damage due to storage... And if anyone else chances the hair dryer technique to fix them.

Rik
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Old 01-12-2010, 02:31 AM   #2
skatalite skatalite is offline
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Pictures please! If you have any. Sounds like you fixed all the damaged discs and all.

Maybe some before and after if you can swing it?
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Old 01-12-2010, 02:58 AM   #3
Rik1138 Rik1138 is offline
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I thought about that, actually... I'll see if I can actually get pictures of the pits on the disc. It should be possible, you just have to get the light to reflect just right. I'll try some tonight (I have about 20-30 discs affected by this...)

And, yeah, so far it seems the hair dryer trick is working... So at least I can save my discs. Although I can't say for sure if the heat will cause any other problems long-term. But if the alternative is throwing them away...

Rik
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:26 AM   #4
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Interesting post and thank you for alerting me to that issue with the BDs. I had all of my BDs stored in binders (plastic sleeve/cloth back) for a good 6 to 7 months and never had any issues with the disc surface. Just my experience but who knows if a longer amount of time would have made a difference. All my BDs have since been moved back to cases.
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:29 AM   #5
iam1bearcat iam1bearcat is offline
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Good info OP.
This is why I never take anything out of the cases. No matter how "protected" the discs are or how safe the binder option is, I'm never one to take my blus out of their cases for this exact reason... ANYTHING can happen to them.
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:35 AM   #6
Rik1138 Rik1138 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lordofdoubled View Post
Interesting post and thank you for alerting me to that issue with the BDs. I had all of my BDs stored in binders (plastic sleeve/cloth back) for a good 6 to 7 months and never had any issues with the disc surface. Just my experience but who knows if a longer amount of time would have made a difference. All my BDs have since been moved back to cases.
The way they are stored probably makes a difference too. If the binders are stacked with the discs vertical, there isn't much pressure on them. I had a stack of sleeved Blu-ray piled up horizontally, and the deeper I went into the stack, the worse it was. Any maybe cloth isn't strong enough to cause the impressions (or it might take longer).

I had another Blu-ray that was in a paper sleeve and stuffed into a Blu-ray case (like a bonus disc or something), and on the few spots where the paper was touching the disc, it left little impressions...

My friend had several stacked horizontally in sleeves that were kind of offset (not piled neatly), and the hub-ring of one disc left a nice circle on the disc below it... I'm going to try to photograph that one.

Rik
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:36 AM   #7
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Interesting information. Tyvek is really tough material, but I wouldn't have necessarily thought it would be hard enough to deface whatever polycarbonate-type material Blus use. I almost wonder if you would have seen any/less damage using cheaper, plastic sleeves.
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:33 AM   #8
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I've confirmed this phenomenon as well. I had several check discs offset so I could read titles I wrote on the top of the sleeves with a fine sharpie - like this ((((( - with a few retail discs stacked on top (they really don't weigh much). The result is an impression of the stacking ring on each of the check discs.

I also placed a check disc of a reissued title in the retail Blu-ray case I already owned, in a Tyvek sleeve. The result was a perfect impression of the Blu-ray case hub on the playing surface of the check disc.

(FYI - Check discs are the first discs pressed in the line for final testing purposes, thus are identical to retail discs without the silk screening).

I've also confirmed that using a hair dryer on high heat at close proximity to the disc, and moving it in a circle around the disc, fixes this problem. I could actually see the marks disappearing with each pass once the disc heated up. Prior to heat treatment, the discs would not play in my player, and the same spots played fine after the treatment. As to what heating a replicated disc does to the pits, or what the heat does to the dye in a recordable disc, only time will tell. In the meantime, previously unplayable discs now play fine.

If confronted, it's a safe bet that Sony would claim anything other than an authorized Blu-ray case is improper storage. I wonder where that leaves the CD/DVD binder manufacturers legally, as anyone storing them horizontally is sure to get impressions of the backing pattern on their discs. Does anyone who uses these binders know if they're "Blu-ray certified"?

This is unsettling from a studio perspective, as replicators often ship check discs in paper sleeves, tightly held together with rubber bands. Studio vaults tend to store large stacks of check discs, which I've also confirmed is a problem. This could get interesting...
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:46 AM   #9
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glad i saw this.

i purchased a bluray writer about a year and a half ago, and have been archiving all kinds of data and personal hd video files to bd-r. and i store them in a case that has folders of sleeves! 2 discs dont work i wonder if this is why. and i havent checked the discs in awhile. i wonder if this is an issue with bd-rs also, that will make storage a hassle.
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:56 AM   #10
Rik1138 Rik1138 is offline
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Okay, photo time... Shiny surfaces just don't photograph well... So I used a couple of BD-Rs mostly, since the dark surface shows the pits better. I included a picture of a retail disc as well, but it is much harder to see.

The first picture is the really obvious one. This is the one where the discs were stacked sort of offset, so the inner ring (which is indented on a disc for spindle stacking protection) was sitting about an inch off-center from the disc below it (and with several discs stacked above it). (Note- these discs are completely clean of all fingerprints, dust or any sticky residue. The marks you see are actually impressed into the surface, and can be felt if you gently run your finger over them.)

The next three pictures are the more frequent damage I was finding after discs had just been stacked in an even column in these sleeves. This was usually limited to the far right and left of the disc, where there is an extra fold in the sleeve holding it together. The third image is a close up of the second image so you can see a little better that these are actually impressions in the material.




And this last one is an attempt at photographing the damage on a retail disc (well, a check disc technically). In between the light bulb reflection and the outer edge of the disc you can make out little spots. Those are the indentations in the surface of the disc from the Tyvek sleeves.


None of these discs will play all the way through any more. As mentioned in my original post, other discs I had like this that I gently 're-melted' with a hair dryer now work again, so at least it's somewhat fixable. I have no idea if the impressions will slowly re-appear (or if they would eventually go away on their own), or if the heat from the hair dryer will cause any kind of damage later on. (For what it's worth, I'm actually using a heat gun and taking an 'I don't care if this disc lives or dies' attitude with applying the heat. So if mine are surviving the process, anyone gently using a normal hair dryer should not have any issues...)

Keep in mind, I'm not blaming the sleeves themselves. I had another disc in a paper sleeve, and it had similar problems. I just believe that anything that touches the disc surface long enough will start to distort it... If you ever get a disc in a sleeve of any kind, best to put it in a plastic case made for discs of some kind (CD case, DVD case, Blu-ray case, or even stacking on a spindle). These all are designed to keep the surface of the disc from contacting anything. (If you use a spindle, don't put so many in there that they apply pressure to the lid of the spindle. This will push the discs into each and defeat the purpose of the little rings around the hubs. Use the little foam rings that usually come with spindles of new discs.)

Rik
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:57 AM   #11
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I stopped storing in cases after something like that happened to some DVDs.

I bought a lot of 2nd hand and cheap DVDs so I put them in a case. Stuff I didn't need on the shelf.

Where I live, Taiwan, it is very humid, which I thought may have caused some of the problem.

After a long time, I went to get a movie and had to peal the plastic of the disc like a Band-aid. Problem, many discs were flippers. Even the part of the sleeve touching the other side left a netting impression on the disc. They were all cheap so I washed them and scrubbed them in the sink with soap and hot water. Seem to play, haven't tried all. But I'll never use sleeves for CDs, DVDs or BDs again.
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Old 01-12-2010, 07:58 AM   #12
Rik1138 Rik1138 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinbr100 View Post
glad i saw this.

i purchased a bluray writer about a year and a half ago, and have been archiving all kinds of data and personal hd video files to bd-r. and i store them in a case that has folders of sleeves! 2 discs dont work i wonder if this is why. and i havent checked the discs in awhile. i wonder if this is an issue with bd-rs also, that will make storage a hassle.
Check the surface for any kind of imperfections. This affects every type of Blu-ray (retail, BD-R, BD-RE). They all have this same surface material on them. If your last resort is to just throw away the disc, try the hair dryer trick... Can't do any more harm at that point.

Rik
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:01 AM   #13
Rik1138 Rik1138 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis View Post
After a long time, I went to get a movie and had to peal the plastic of the disc like a Band-aid. Problem, many discs were flippers. Even the part of the sleeve touching the other side left a netting impression on the disc. They were all cheap so I washed them and scrubbed them in the sink with soap and hot water. Seem to play, haven't tried all. But I'll never use sleeves for CDs, DVDs or BDs again.
That was probably a case of high humidity, and cheap plastic in the cases (or maybe the discs). I've seen that happen where the two types of plastic sort of react to each other and bond together. Sometimes it removes all the printing off the disc. If it's a CD, I've seen rip all the metallic surface material off the disc... There's no hope after that. (That can only happen with CDs though.)

But, in general, sleeves, pages and binders really aren't the best for 'archival' storage of anything. Recordable discs of any kind should also not be exposed to light while they are stored as the dyes on the disc are light sensitive...

Rik

Last edited by Rik1138; 01-12-2010 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 01-12-2010, 09:34 AM   #14
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This is a very interesting post as I have always stored any disc-based media in binders and sleeves that are only made by Case Logic. I have never had any problems and I even horizontally stack them with my blu rays (most of its life) and don't see any marks, impressions, indentations, etc. I've tested some earlier on 3 different players and no read errors or problems. Could it be possibly because I live in Alaska and it isn't highly humid here and that I'm on the mountains? Only time will tell. I have always had them away from sunlight and always in the dim....
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Old 01-12-2010, 03:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rik1138 View Post
That was probably a case of high humidity, and cheap plastic in the cases (or maybe the discs). I've seen that happen where the two types of plastic sort of react to each other and bond together. Sometimes it removes all the printing off the disc. If it's a CD, I've seen rip all the metallic surface material off the disc... There's no hope after that. (That can only happen with CDs though.)

But, in general, sleeves, pages and binders really aren't the best for 'archival' storage of anything. Recordable discs of any kind should also not be exposed to light while they are stored as the dyes on the disc are light sensitive...

Rik
The discs were cheap. The Costco here was selling classic movies like Casablanca, African Queen, Grapes of Wrath, etc. in sets of 10 movies for around $10 or $15 a set. Great deal and nice way to see classics. The case was bought at a store called Working House that sells all kinds of stuff for the house, the case was leather and nice, but probably made cheaply and sold for too much. Did watch Casablanca and decided I will buy it on Blu.

Many CDs I bought in University and High School from BMG and Columbia House 15+ years ago did not fare well in a binder. Back then record clubs were printing cheap copies. It is different now I heard. No matter, I don't belong to any record clubs anymore.

Wonder if humidity will affect BDs. I have taken out DVDs, from cases, that have bits of what looks like white mold on them. Assuming it is caused by humidity; it just wipes off.
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:04 PM   #16
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a guy i used to go to school with used to take a lighter to the bottom of his cd's when they were scratched and it would fix them to the point where they could be played again.
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:09 PM   #17
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I prefer leaving my disc (DVD or BD) in their original cases. I know that it's a space problem as the collection grow but I just feel more secure that way then putting them in binder that take less space.
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis View Post
Where I live, Taiwan, it is very humid, which I thought may have caused some of the problem.
This is a very good point. I was going to ask the OP what kind of environment he was keeping them in. I would bet this has a LOT to do with it the heat/humidity along with the material being pressed against it is a nasty combo it seems. I used to get stuff like this on burned cd's that were just tossed into a glove box.

Bill
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:15 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFattBill View Post
This is a very good point. I was going to ask the OP what kind of environment he was keeping them in. I would bet this has a LOT to do with it the heat/humidity along with the material being pressed against it is a nasty combo it seems.
My discs are kept in a room that averages 73-78F with around 35% humidity (Southern California is very dry all year). The environment has nothing to do with this problem. The markings are impressions on the disc surface, not residue of any kind.
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:47 PM   #20
MrFattBill MrFattBill is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAKO View Post
My discs are kept in a room that averages 73-78F with around 35% humidity (Southern California is very dry all year). The environment has nothing to do with this problem. The markings are impressions on the disc surface, not residue of any kind.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MAKO View Post
I've also confirmed that using a hair dryer on high heat at close proximity to the disc, and moving it in a circle around the disc, fixes this problem. I could actually see the marks disappearing with each pass once the disc heated up. Prior to heat treatment, the discs would not play in my player, and the same spots played fine after the treatment. As to what heating a replicated disc does to the pits, or what the heat does to the dye in a recordable disc, only time will tell. In the meantime, previously unplayable discs now play fine.
By your own account heat can remove the imperfections in the protective coat thus allowing the laser to reach the info. So heat with the pressure (all be it small amount) can certainly help to make the problem occur faster.

The OP should grab a stack that have no marks on them and sleeve them like he would normally, only this time put them in a freezer and see if the marks show up, my money would be on no. If they do I would also bet they will be substantially less invasive.

Bill
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