How to Prevent Loss of Video Data
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Loss of video data can dramatically increase the time and resources required to complete a project. Often times, clients simply cannot afford to move the project timeline, which means that the loss of even a small part of the video material can be disastrous. Needless to say, data security and integrity has always been one of Take One's top priorities. Based on our experience with media production, we would like to share some basic rules to help you avoid losing video data. We'll also share how we approach data security at Take One.
How Do Video Files Get Damaged or Lost?
Without getting into technical details, there are two common ways video files can be damaged or lost:
1. First, is when you accidentally delete video files or format the media with the video saved on it.
2. Secondly, when the video recording process is unexpectedly interrupted and the camera cannot finalize the file.
This second problem is less well known but fairly common. During video recording, cameras collect important metadata and indexes in their internal temporary memory. When you stop recording, metadata and indexes are saved at the end of the video file. Now, if the battery runs out unexpectedly during the recording process, metadata and indexes may be lost in the camera's temporary memory due to the power outage. As a result, you will not be able to play the recorded video file even if it contains real video and audio streams.
To avoid these and similar issues, Take One has a digital image technician. This person is a valued member of the production team and is also responsible for many aspects of image quality and data integrity throughout the entire post-production process. Before the recording session, our crew, along with the digital image technician, visits the filming location for reconnaissance (also known as recce). Doing a recce helps the production team to know what equipment they will need on the day. An important part of the equipment-check procedure is to verify that the camera's batteries are fully charged and that there is sufficient space on the storage media to record data. We also have backup batteries so we can record as much as we need. After each recording session, our digital image technician checks that the video is correctly copied to the stationary media, and also checks it to ensure that there are no errors. He then creates a backup copy of the raw media data before starting the post-production process. Only after the media data has been copied, backed up, and rechecked, will the technician format the camera's memory cards for reuse. Once the final video clip is ready, our technician reviews it and creates a backup before handing it over to the client. This approach allows us to eliminate almost any possible problem associated with loss or corruption of data. It also allows us to keep our footage secure throughout the entire production process.
What if the Damage Happens During the Filming Process?
However, t what if the video file is damaged as a result of some malfunction of the camera during the recording process? Despite the fact that we have not yet encountered such problems in our practice at Take One, we have another layer of data protection in this case. Namely, video repair services like Restore.Media.
The most common video files, including MP4, MOV, and MXF, are implemented as media containers. They contain separate video and audio tracks, as well as the metadata needed to process the files. When an error occurs, video engineers from Restore.Media can extract valid video and audio streams from corrupted files and then create a new healthy file from them. The same approach works when recovering accidentally deleted video files. The only difference here is that the video and audio tracks must be restored from the media first.
To summarize, it took many years of hard work for Take One to create a solid and reliable backup system around our video production process. The system is constantly evolving along with new technologies that we use in our daily work. As a reward, we have managed to avoid the loss or damage of our customers' video data over our 25 years plus in the video production industry.