Imagine returning to your studio after an intense day of filming and surprisingly discovering that your mini-mag has been bombed. Fortunately, this nightmare can easily be avoided. Read below this information provided by a data recovery expert.
Losing your precious data is by definition a filmmaker’s nightmare that can happen to the best of us. However, the good news is that it can easily be avoided. We interviewed David Zimmerman, CEO of LC Technology International, who is a data recovery expert, who has worked with filmmakers of all skill levels, from home hobbyists to Hollywood content creators, to recover data from damaged, deleted or corrupted devices. These are his advice.
Avoiding many data-related nightmares in post-production is often a case of preparation. As the world goes digital, the issues that arise are often related to the captured output of digital content. Different file formats, different brands of memory cards and unpredictable shooting conditions combine to put data at risk. Fortunately, camera operators who take the time to understand how data is written and stored can implement best practices.
As the world goes digital, the issues that arise are often related to the capture output of digital content
When errors are found in post-production, the problem often lies with the storage card and is caused by a case of “user error”. Here are some of the most common issues:
- The camera operator turns off the camera before the data is completely written to the card. The camera is no longer recording, but the data is cached and needs a minute to move to the card without corruption.
- The card is pulled abruptly and stops writing data to the card.
- Cards are exchanged between cameras. This is especially risky when using the same card for two different types of cameras. Variable formats are structured differently and swapping cards can introduce errors.
- Exposure to fluctuating humidity, liquids or dirt can damage cards.
- Operators should take care to discharge any static charge before transporting their equipment or handling flash cards.
Flashcards wear out and need to be tested periodically to ensure they are working properly. Consider using a utility capable of testing a card’s speed and capacity. If there are any problems, put that card on the shelf and use a new one. It’s classic risk-reward where you spend a little more for a high-end card, but avoid catastrophic loss and costly production delays. There are many cases where Bombed out SanDisk pro cards weren’t recognized by the computer after days of intense filming.
Flashcards wear out and need to be tested periodically to ensure they are working properly
David Zimmerman, CEO of LC Technology International
A filmmaker tells his story: “I’m a wedding videographer who had to force-stop on my computer, and while I was doing it, I pulled out an SD card before it had time to download enough all those giant files. Next time I booted up and saw the files were gone – I put the card in, and NOTHING was on it except little boxes with a “!” in them, saying the data wasn’t there. I was sunk…” There are two ways to avoid this: Perform a proper shutdown process and work on a copy.
Copies created on another machine, the cloud, or an external drive
During post-production, someone will typically copy the contents of the card, then load it onto their computer and edit it with their favorite studio product. They are now working on hard drive instead of flash and need to make sure they have created copies on another machine, the cloud or an external drive. A separate physical location for one of the copies is smart protection against flooding, theft or fire. The time it takes to create backups is minimal and storage costs go down every year, so there’s no excuse for being caught without backups. Moving a full 256GB card to the cloud might take a few hours depending on your connection speed, but getting it moving takes minutes.
Post-production work should always be done on a copy, leaving the original and backups as safeties. Filmmakers who treat their recording media as long-term storage are preparing for disaster. Cards are fragile and easy to lose and are intended as intermediaries between the camera and a more permanent location. Moreover, for important studio-level work, it’s essential to use a single card for each project, and then have strict rules in place for redundancies.
The next time I booted up and saw the files were gone – I put the card in, and NOTHING was on it except little boxes with a “!” in them, saying the data wasn’t there. I was sunk….
Resolving card and format issues is possible with expert help. It is indeed the last resort. However, it’s arguably cheaper than getting the crew together and re-doing the scenes. Nevertheless, choosing the right expert for the job is crucial. Visit LC Technology International for more information and assistance.
To simplify all this information, see the slide below. It sums up all the important stuff, which is quite simple. Save it! This could save your data!