Abstract A method of measuring in-situ wear of video heads which determines the variation in wear along the surface of the video head is described. Knoop diamond indentations are positioned along the head, either side of the magnetic gap, enabling wear rate to be monitored at several positions. Virgin tape is run over the heads in the form of standard E180 cassettes and the wear occurring at each indentation position is derived from the reduction in length of the main diagonal. Wear rate is plotted against the position of the indentations. This describes the variation in wear along the head and therefore the conformation of the tape to the head. The technique has been used to study the wear of video heads with three types of tape sample: two iron-oxide-based formulations, with either Al 2O 3 or Cr 2O 3 added as head cleaning agents, and one chromium-dioxide-based tape. Little difference was found between the performances of the iron oxide tape samples. The chromium dioxide sample, however, produced wear some five to six times greater than the iron oxide tapes.