Data Recovery for Video, TV & Film

As a video production company, we rely heavily on hard drives, lots and lots of hard drives that store, back-up and ultimately archive footage. As a policy, we rarely delete a project from our database primarily because we’ve found clients coming back to us many months and years later enquiring about the footage from a shoot we have filmed with them. Hard drives are fragile things, treat them with respect and they will respect you! However, sometimes, hard drives just stop working our of no-where or are accidentally erased. Is it the end of the world and what can you do?

Step 1 – Accept the loss

Go through the grieving process quickly. First deny it has happened, then get angry,  the bargaining soon begins with the “if onlys”, suddenly a brief depression surrounds, once that happens you must finally accept the hard drive is probably gone. Once you accept have lost everything, a miraculous retrieval of your data will feel like the second coming of Jesus himself involving high fives around the office and star jumps to the sky!

Step 2 – Minimise any further risk

  • Go immediately to your back-up and back that up. If using Premiere, check your Adobe Auto-Save vault and back that up.


Step 3 – Listen to your drive

  • If there is a physical clicking sound, you’re chances are low and would ultimately involve going to a data recovery specialist who would have to transfer the internal disk to another casing in a dust-free environment. That is hard-to-find, may be really expensive and may not work. SSD drives are great in that there are less physical components so more chance of standard recovery.


Step 4 – Do not do anything else with your drive

  • Irrespective of the type of drive, if accidentally erased, footage is only truly erased when the data has been written over so DO NOT transfer any footage onto your drive! 

Step 5 – Run The Software and Put the Kettle On

  • Get your hands on file recovery software, we would recommend Disk Drill. This can take a day or more depending on the size of your hard drive so we would recommend using your most powerful computer. Once it begins, put the kettle on and pray!


Step 6 – Success or Failure or somewhere in between

  • With luck, you’ve retrieved all your data. Alternatively it may have found nothing which is a disaster.  Sometimes you’re neither successful or a failure, actually somewhere in between. Video files are so huge and spread so far across the drive (as opposed to being in one spot) that we find that they are usually corrupted in some way, most likely introducing fragments with the video itself. There’s no solution with that but we’d recommend transcoding your footage to Pro-Res immediately and hopefully you are able to cover any image issues with other shots

Data-recovery for video production is not our core business but if you’d like us to take a look at your drive, don’t hesitate to contact us!