Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

It still amazes me how many professional people buy video equipment today without a clear understanding of how it works and will tell all in sundry their camcorder is either duff or the memory is bad stock. Recently as of today I received that very sad tail but it came on the back of a misunderstanding of the medium being used.

Never and I mean NEVER… run a solid state camcorder continuously, example…a wedding ceremony. Some people have it in their head that by pausing their camcorder they will miss an important part of the ceremony well that might be true but if you loose power to the camcorder while recording you will loose everything from the last time you pressed record till the moment you loose power and in some cases that might just be the complete ceremony ! Pause where and when you can during any live event even if it means you have to re-sync your two camcorders during the edit.

There is at least two reasons for power failure during a recording, the mains power goes faulty or even a simple RCD can trip the power off or your battery is low to start with as you forget to swap a fresh battery at the start of the event. Todays L-ion batteries are so good I would always advocate a fresh battery before any major live event…do not rely on mains power.

What happens if you loose the power is quite simple you loose the table of contents or TOC and the footage is unreadable by normal means there is software that can possibly recover this but it’s far from perfect. Sony have a data recovery service but like all these services it’s not cheap.

Sony “Data is the most important part of any business and preserving it is essential. You need to make sure your data is secure, that you are using it efficiently and have effective plans in place to recover information should the unthinkable happen. As a Sony storage media customer, you can now take advantage of the added value services in data recovery, data conversion and data duplicationthrough our partnership with world-leading data management company Ontrack. With over twenty years experience in data recovery and undisputed technological expertise, Ontrack offers fast, high quality and cost effective services for businesses of all sizes looking to recover, convert or duplicate data. Best of all, these services are available for all brands of media and for all storage tape formats including AIT, S-AIT, LTO-Ultrium, DLT and DDS/DAT.”

Understand your equipment and how solid state is not infallible…always use fresh batteries before a live event and never “hot swap” a battery during a recording, this might just blow a fuse within your camcorder and will certainly loose all your data recorded onto your memory card at that moment in time.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

2 thoughts on “A cautionary word of warning…

  1. Hey there,

    i learned the hard way : Data, you don´t have dubble –> was NOT important!

  2. I guess it must depend on the camcorder. When I got my EX1R I tested this and found I only lost the last few seconds of the recording. I remember the guys at Mitcorp telling me the camera “closes” the file every few seconds to prevent such a disaster. Excellent advise above still, i wouldn’t recomend taking the risk, just in case!

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