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February 4, 2011 / nicotvandenberg

Where is My Negative? Media Recovery

Within the beauty of digital filmmaking, there are still some blemishes and defects. Digital media is never exactly in a safe solid state. By nature digital media is in a constant destructive state. This is due to its ability to be deleted, moved, duplicated and copied. It exists as “zero’s” and “ones.”

99.99% of the time, this system never fails. However, the 00.01% chance that it does is still very real. The reason I want to raise attention to this topic, is because of a recent incident. The past week during a live event coverage a portion of the media was corrupted. Upon review an error message read, “Cannot Playback Movie.” However one thing to note in this situation is that the media is still there to a certain extent. From my understand during the time where the camera is finishing writing the file to the card, the process is interrupted for some reason, not allowing the file to be properly indexed. I can best explain this process as, having an unorganized file cabinet. Because files are not in the right place you don’t know where to look. The same theory applies to the CF card. The coding wasn’t properly organized upon the final writing stages, causing an error to take place.

Though this is extremely frightening and will cause your stomach to sink in to your chest, there are solutions to help recover your media. When this issued occurred to me, I used a program entitle, “Pro Data Doctor,” which services a number of different platforms for recovering media. Another recommended recovery software that has been successful for other is, “Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery.”

Now this isn’t a guarantee that all media will be recovered, but there is a good chance you will be able to salvage something. Never knowing when storage or media will fail, be safe and make sure all of your content is backed up so you don’t lose any other valuable footage.


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