Month: June 2014

Day 33: Mdat.mov, Corrupt Video Files, and Keywords

If you’ve been following my blog for sometime, you’ll know that over the weekend I lost all of the video I shot on my DSLR because the SD card became corrupt. Well… I’m sitting here at a Starbucks fixing my corrupted files slowly but surely, and I’ve learned some thing that every person, who’s involved in todays tech sector, needs to know. Keywords.

What Are Keywords

Keywords are, well… the keywords you use in order to place searches in either online databases, search engines like Google, or even a help file built into an application. I have a pretty well rounded understanding of how to utilize the functionality of keyword searches, but today has reminded me how important they really are.

Diagnosing The Problem

You see, after recovering my SD card’s corrupted data, I found that my .MOV files were actually separated into two separate files. Ones that had the extension of ftyp.mov, and the others that had an extension of mdat.mov. Each file consists of certain unique elements that when the two files are combined, create the on .MOV file we are so used to clicking on, and playing on our computers.

After hours of searching online for a program that could help me to combine these files, and recover my shots, I came up empty handed… until today. A few hours ago, I decided to give it one last shot. I began searching in Google for “fragmented .mov files”, and then “corrupt .mov files” and then “mdat.mov” and “recover mdat.mov files” etc. Until finally, I found one forum where a user mentioned the word “truncated”. He specifically said “truncated mp4”. I then decided to google “repair truncated mp4”, and I finally found relevant content. Multiple companies offering different programs to repair .mp4 and .mov files.

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Day 31: Committing vs. Upgrading

There’s a fine balance between being an early adopter, or committing to an older way of doing things. I know some people who can make better recordings on Garageband, then some people who work on Pro Tools. Why? Mainly because the one who’s been using Garageband has been using it for years, and knows his way around the program perfectly (however limited it might be), versus the person who’s been jumping from Garageband, to Ableton, to Sonar, to Pro Tools.

Committing vs. Upgrading

So, I’d like to ask this question… are you at a point where you should be upgrading your methods, or committing to them? An easy way to find out is to look at how many years you’ve been using your method, and how many things you’ve accomplished through them. Are the scales tipping in your favour?

If you’re not accomplishing anything, either your method is to outdated to accomplish what needs to be done by today’s standards, or you plain out haven’t learned as much as you need in order to accomplish what you want. I’m a sucker for being an early adopter, and hopping from one thing to the next mainly because I’m so fascinated with all the things that are out in the world.

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Day 29: When Things Go Wrong

This post was technically supposed to be a time-lapse of the night sky in Princeton BC, but I’m being honest… it wasn’t able to happen due to technical difficulties. However, I learned a lot this past weekend. My church has a mens retreat once a year, and this year we had the privilege to go up to RockRidge Canyon in Princeton BC for the weekend. The overall weekend of the retreat was good. I got asked to film over the weekend, so my church could put together a small highlight reel to show all the people who didn’t come, mainly the women… hah.

What Happened

Over the weekend I got some great shots, until the end of the last day. Some friends of mine and myself lifted our pastors car onto milk crates as a prank. It turned out pretty well, and we filmed the whole thing. We thought it’d be funny to show the video when we have our evening session, so I got my card out of my camera, and put it into my laptop… to find out… my SD card became corrupt.

What Did I Do

For the next five hours I spent researching and digging through the internet to find data recovery programs. The thing is with flash memory, even if the card is corrupt, the data is still there. At least, corrupt bits of it… I got a program called TestDisk for Mac, which is free, and runs in Terminal. It recovered nearly 50 Gigabytes of corrupt footage off of my 32gb SD card. It even recovered my old hyper-lapse photos from Oregon. Sounds great, right? Well… it turns out the way Canon DSLR’s write movie footage is through random sequenced data. It doesn’t actually create one file. The stitching of the sequenced pieces of data creates one file in the end (the .MOV). After digging through .MOV repair programs, I was left empty handed. The only thing left was a site that charged an arm and a leg to repair up to five files manually. In the end it was no help because I have over 100+ files.

I have yet to touch my SD card in hopes that someone here in Vancouver does these kinds of repairs/data recovery services specifically for DSLR video. Yeah, that’s right… I only brought one SD card to Princeton. So in light of all of this, I thought this would be a good moment to share a few simple things that I learned. Things which you all should know if you wish to take part in DSLR Photography or Videography.

  1. When you transfer content off of your SD card… don’t take out your SD card. Just plug in the USB cable into the camera. The less you take the SD card in and out of the camera, the better.
  2. Always bring more then one SD card. This might sound like common sense. But for me, I felt too comfortable with my 32GB card. I should have brought my extra 8GB card in case. At least.
  3. TestDisk is an actual program that recovers your corrupted data fairly well… it’s also free… and fully functioning.
    • For videographers, you will get a series of corrupted sequenced data that should technically make up ONE .mov file, which will need to be repaired manually.
    • For photographers, you’re in luck. If you ever need to recover photos. It recovers them flawlessly. All the photos from this past weekend were fully saved; RAW and all.
  4. Lighten up. Stuff happens. We move on, and learn from our mistakes.

How Do I Feel

I feel like I am that much more of a prepared videographer now that this has happened. I would never wish this upon anyone, and it still has left a bitter taste in my mouth, but if this has happened to you I would encourage you to move forward and to ask yourself “What can I learn from this?”. When you start asking those questions you’ll start having answers that more unexperienced professionals would never have, because they never got themselves into a place where they needed to ask those questions. Don’t let your mistakes go to waste. Take the time. Learn from them. What are some unfortunate things that have happened to you while on the job? How did you learn from them?

The following photo is one of the few I was able to recover. It was a test shot I took the first night to prepare for my time-lapse.

sky_Fotor