The last call you want to receive, as a data-wrangler is the post-production house calling to query an issue with some clips, which is exactly what happened to me today.
The issue was with some GoPro footage captured during a shoot at Silverstone racing circuit during the Silverstone Classic. GoPro’s can run for as long as the battery lasts, or to the capacity of the card in the camera at the time. They continuously run and break into smaller sub-clips. This was a problem that I had not previously encountered, as you can see in the image below, clip 29 does not show up with a thumbnail, not necessarily an issue, but in this case that was the corrupt file. In my back up, and at the edit, the entire 8 minute clip played out mute and just as a black screen, not what you want to see! This is odd because the camera was free-running and the clip before and after had no issues. Quicktime couldn’t view the footage, nor could FCP, AVID or VLC, not looking promising for a vital part of our film.
I use ShotPut Pro to back-up and verify all of my back ups, and the log showed that the checksum had been completed and verified without issue, this at least gave me the confidence that the structure of the folder was there in someway shape or form, and hopefully salvageable.
I attempted multiple software options to attempt to repair the corrupt clip, but didn’t have any luck. A further Google search brought me to a site called MP4 Repair, in this case, a complete life-saver! A really simple user interface which scans the broken clip and provides a repair, it offers your 6 second clips from the beginning, middle and end to prove that the video file has been restored and once you have paid for the service, a download link to the entire file is available for download. In this case, £21 was a small price to pay to retrieve essential footage.
The system that I use means that I can isolate the card used in that camera on that day, and quarantine the card for testing, or potentially remove it from circulation entirely. As you can imagine this is not an issue you want to deal with often, or at all. The card has been sent for testing in the same camera under similar circumstances to see if the issue reoccurs or if n this occasion it could simply be put down to being ‘one of those things’.
There may well be quicker, cheaper or even free ways to achieve the same results, I simply have not come across them yet. I can however say with confidence that MP4 Repair is worth every penny for a simple user interface, a quick system (depending on your broadband speed) and a reliable service. Although I hope to not need to use them much in the future, it is reassuring to have a solution to such a problem.
Some notes from the MP4 Repair Blog:
Despite MP4repair.org service is able to diagnose and repair almost any damaged video file, there are some times that an offline service would be a more comfortable option.
Especially when dealing with huge amount of damaged files, or when needing to repair large files recorded with heavy encoding formats, Aero Quartet‘s Treasured repair service would be the best choice.
For those who have some files to be repaired and unfortunately have no access to a Mac computer there’s a way to achieve same results on your PC. Virtualization is the key to the success!
If you have any question or doubt during the whole process simply get in touch with our technicians at [email protected].