Sound devices total failure and file loss


63 posts in this topic

Posted

<p>Sound devices,<br />

<br />

So I was doing a corporate gig and it was an interview with a woman, simple setup boom and lav.<br />

We shot around 8 hours and we did 10 scenes, the 744 was recording as usual until scene 5, what I mean is that the files on the hdd where perfect and from scene 5 on, all the files are between 3mb and. 20 mb. While the first takes where around 150mb.<br />

The recorder indicated I was recording on the hdd but it was slow on the CF, I couldn't stop the take, so we kept rolling with the 744 indicating recording on the hdd<br />

My surprise came when I handed the files, the editor called me in stating half of the footage wasn't there and the files where cut before talent got to speak (in the middle of a sentence), I do recall that when I started recording everything was fine up to minute 2:30 where the cf stopped and the hdd continued.<br />

There was 8 gigs free on the HDD, and the CF were formatted before putting them in ,I tried different brands and speeds while on set (san disk, Kingston 6mb/s and 133x) nothing worked, menu said slow in both backups, cf and hdd , I turned down the system, let it cool off and back in. Same thing.<br />

I wasn't running a backup because it wasn't needed on this specific shoot, I was told to bring a light sound setup, and no sound on camera, just the sound from the 7d's. they wanted separate recordings.<br />

My solutions were:<br />

I told my client not to pay me, because I didn't deliver what they expected from me, and also I offered my postproduction services for free, if anybody knows a better option, I'm very open to suggestion on how to approach this situation.<br />

Basically my client believes I did knew my recorder wasnt rolling, and I didn't stopped the shoot, hardware error = sound guy blame<br />

I checked files inside the recorder and it was the same issue than the files on the computer.<br />

<br />

If anybody can help would be highly appreciated.<br />

<br />

Cheers</p>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Also-

This is the first time I experience a problem of such dimensions, I always always have backups, but for any reason my brain believed production and I didn't brought my back up gear with me.

I've transferred all the folders to an ext. hdd and formatted the 744, used it on a 2 day shoot and everything is fine.

Now I'm afraid this would happen again, if somebody has experienced this problem before will be super helpful to get another person's experience.

Hopefully this doesn't happen to you guys because it is a horrible experience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Magic words: Approved cards, Format (CF, HDD before shooting), Playback, Backup

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

You have contacted SD about this, right?

 

When you see an error like this you should call a cut if you possibly can and deal with it then.  Try recording on the HDD only (a test) and play that back.

 

You had an issue like that and you didn't check the files immediately, or before handing them in?

 

philp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I haven't experienced anything like that since the PD4 I was using ate the DAT tape :X  Fortunately that was at the start of the day and little was lost.  I don't normally run two redundant machines either since the 744 would be acting as primary and as backup but of course, you never know.  I think the big mistake was not stopping and playing back the takes on the machine.  It has happened to me, that you can sometimes play back takes on the machine but not on the computer, indicating that the files can sometimes be repaired or at least re-recorded through the recorder's output.  It would also have alerted you to the problem immediately and you could have taken a 10 minute break to transfer the already shot files, re-format etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hey Philip, no I didn't contact them yet because I ha a gig everyday since thn (3 days has passed) and I need the money so I took a back up and just kept working, tomorrow I'll do so.

You are totally right, I should have played back all the files I saw they were only recording on the hdd, I have to admit that I got a bit nervous due to 6 creatives on the room demanding to keep shooting (faces looking at me), that is my mistake.

I never had a problem like this before, so when I saw the internal hard drive recording my only thought was that I don't have a back up, but I had my recordings in place.

But, why the recorder looks to work fine now? I'm on set recording 4 channels and everything is fine.

As I said, I'll contact SD tomorrow, thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I deff would have needed to play back the files when I saw something was wrong.

First skeleton in my closet?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I'm not sure I agree with you telling your client not to pay you.  HDD fail, files get corrupted, etc. Shit happens, don't work for free because something failed on you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I'm not sure I agree with you telling your client not to pay you.  HDD fail, files get corrupted, etc. Shit happens, don't work for free because something failed on you.
If the camera broke rest assured the camera boys would still get paid Regards Chris W

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I'm not sure about the no payment thing, that's really a choice you need to make taking into account all that you know about the situation and your clients.

 

As for the error, like the guys said, as soon as something is wrong (or appears to be wrong) you need to stop the shoot, and make sure your setup is fine. If the files didn't playback or weren't recording upon testing, I'd tell them that the recorder has an error and I'll need a new one. IDEALLY you'd have a backup but if not you'd have to hold production while someone goes and rents a new 744T (or 702, or whatever is available), check that out, and make sure it's good.

I'd rather hold up a production for 3 hours cause of a computer error than assume it's all good and deliver nothing at the end of the day!

Also, filling up a hard drive to near capacity is never a good thing, If you ONLY have 8GB left on a large hard drive it's probably best to dump all that somewhere and start it fresh. And yes, Approved/Recommended Cards and Speeds Always.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I was very hesitant at the time to say that, but I feel that, even though it wasn't completely my fault, I made them loose half day of shoot which probably has cost them around $10000, I rather keep my integrity and say the truth, than walk home knowing I got paid for something I didn't deliver, I can get more money in the next months, but it will take me years to get rid of the feeling that I did the wrong thing.

However, they have sound from camera(7D) it was around 5 feet away from talent and a bit off axis, I offered my post production services for free as well.

I can't stand to do a bad job, honor is everything for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

No shame on you for guaranteeing your work up to the amount they might have paid you, but certainly no farther (that's what production insurance is for).  Even great gear fails at some point, every dog has his day.   If you can help them w/ DX cleanup in post then good for you.  It is a very hard thing to tell a production in progress that you have a problem and recording needs to stop for a few minutes while you straighten things out, I understand that very well.  But the lesson here is that you have to do it, rather than let them continue on thinking everything is ok.  You can frame it as a choice if you want--"I think I may have a problem, and I need some time to sort out what's going on.  We can keep rolling if you want but I can't guarantee that everything is working correctly right now.  What do you want to do?".  

 

philp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

...It is a very hard thing to tell a production in progress that you have a problem and recording needs to stop for a few minutes while you straighten things out, I understand that very well.  But the lesson here is that you have to do it, rather than let them continue on thinking everything is ok.  You can frame it as a choice if you want--"I think I may have a problem, and I need some time to sort out what's going on.  We can keep rolling if you want but I can't guarantee that everything is working correctly right now.  What do you want to do?".  

 

philp

 

This is the key. It's difficult, but it simply must be done. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Have a backup at all times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Have a backup at all times.

 

 

Agreed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Better for them to hate you for an hour while you get your shit together than to hate you forever for screwing up.

Because everyone will soon forget that you held up production while you check files/fix something. But they will NEVER forget not delivering files.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I always check files before handing them off - even if there is no indication if a problem.

And I always spot check throughout the day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Please retitle OP.... That is misleading ... I doubt it was a TOTAL FAILURE by SD and more likely TOTAL operator error..  ;)

 

  That's a joke....  I have never run to full capacity of a HD... why would you do that unless your in a jungle... miles from a computer or an external drive... It's like the car computer that says you have 66 miles left to go before you run out of gas and 26 miles down the road... your done...

 

 Didn't stop to check...  after a problem like that?.. ?  really... Tell the faces to take a breath while you check something out... see how easy?

 

Don't pay me.... what!!!  Your high...LOL..

 

BU not needed on this specific shoot.... well, guess you answered that point....  

 

6mb per second...?  How about 60 mb/ sec  or 90 mb / sec...

 

 I don't know what to say because I think translation plays here as does some very interesting likely possibilities... but total failure by that machine I would bet is NOT one of them... Working magically now hunh...  Hummm..

If your HD went, your CF should be OK, and visa versa... I doubt everything suddenly went to pot... Possible? maybe.. but unlikely..

 

As has been recommended, get the machine to the mothership for your own piece of mind  ... it is the only way to get to the bottom of things.. the only way to feel good on your next set of gigs... This is how the electronic game is... At least call the nice folks at SD as you say you will...  Vahn and the guys are really nice and may get it done over the phone... you never know.. but total failure?

Just sayin..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

There was 8 gigs free on the HDD, and the CF were formatted before putting them in ,I tried different brands and speeds while on set (san disk, Kingston 6mb/s and 133x) nothing worked, menu said slow in both backups, cf and hdd , I turned down the system, let it cool off and back in. Same thing.

 

This is the part that concerns me. I think going into an interview thing with only 8GB free on the drive is very scary. I've always believed that you have to have at least 15-20% empty space on drives just to give the system some "breathing" room. I suspect this was a factor. 

 

Every few months, I'll blow a whole bunch of stuff off the drive to open up more space. I would always make sure I had a whole bunch of available space on the HD and then use a freshly-formatted CF card (as you did) just in case. If I'm only using a few tracks and know I'm not going to get anywhere near 16GB in a couple of days, then I'll reuse the same card from the day before. 

 

I would call SD service and see if they'd be willing to take a look at the drive. At least this is a good cautionary tale, and another reason why it's a good idea to pipe some kind of feed to the camera and let that be a backup in the event of catastrophic failure. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Informative thread.

As for changing the title, it may bring misunderstanding but if we read we still can understand some things and try to figure out, along with the OP.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Except for the title of this topic, if you read all the posts carefully, the poster is not blaming Sound Devices, the company. The report concerns the failure of a Sound Devices recorder, this is a fact, but the reasons for the failure (which was epic and that is why it has gotten our attention) has not yet been determined. The fact of an experience that resulted in a failed recording does NOT damn the company OR the product. Throughout the history of JWSOUND, we have had numerous reports regarding just about every company and every device we all use, and there have been many times when people jump to a conclusion or use a given report to further validate some pre-existing bias or agenda regarding a company. We have had threads with titles like "Zaxcom FAILS --- I almost lost my job!" and after reading twenty or more posts it is discovered that the operator pushed STOP instead of RECORD, or forgot to format an approved card, or had a battery die, things like that. 

 

Even when the details of this chilling incident are discovered, should it turn out that there was no operator error, the Sound Devices recorder did some very bad things, so what? As has been pointed out countless times here and is a fact of life in our working world, ANY piece of equipment can have a failure. As wonderful a company as is Sound Devices, or Zaxcom, or Lectro, none are immune to the potential failure of any of their products.

 

Changing the title of this post is not necessary --- changing the way we read and interpret things that are reported here IS important. So, let's not let this blame Sound Devices, or Zaxcom, or Lectro, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Really not a big deal... at all...

 

But,  NOT blaming Sound Devices... Humm..

 

  Letts all read together..

 Quote...  "Sound devices total failure"...  Not the best way to express the problem, I think some may agree...

 

In saying retitle the post I only meant to say there is probably a better way to address the issue.... I think the original post title is unfair... thats all... and see the smilley?...  Not too serious at that...

I hope he contacts them and they fix whatever the problem was...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

"In saying retitle the post I only meant to say there is probably a better way to address the issue.... I think the original post title is unfair... thats all..."

 

Agreed. Part of the meaning of my post was to state once again that there is often a better way of addressing lots of these issues, the bad ones as well as the good ones. I think I may have over-reacted also because I have such a detailed memory of so many other posts in the past that I have had to "moderate" in some fashion or another, to try and put some of these things on the proper path where blame and bashing or any other unsavory agenda is being pursued.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

First of all thanks to Jeff for understanding the post and stating what is obvious.

 

Hey afewmoreyears, I've been working with SD for years, my bills get paid with that machine, it never failed on me before, but you dont seem to understand that mechanical devices can have total failures...I'm not changing the title because that is what happened, and, if you didn't notice, I was asking for HELP finding a solution, if I need somebody to say it was an OP mistake and diminish me I'll go to the production office where things are hot now.... :) (see? happy face too! :)))

 

Let me rephrase things for you so you can have a better scope:

 

I was recording an interview, machine indicates its recording, operator believes and continues working, later on we discover that files where from 15sec to 20 sec of recording, my machine was RECORDING I wasn't pressing stop or any other button , it was RECORDING. Hope you understand now.

 

Hey Rob Lewis, were you there? do you know what the machine was indicating? I'm not bashing SD, you guys reaaaaaally want to flip this over, again, if you READ READ READ you'll see I'm asking for help and stating a humongous glitch on my recorder, I'm sorry you guys don't see it that way.

 

Thanks to phillip and Jeff to make me understand a bit more about the whole issue, is a shame that only a few are willing to help and the rest like to point their fingers and laugh.

 

Now that I explained myself to other colleagues we can talk about what really matters.

 

My SD was purchased on march 2012 as a back up gear to use for interviews and small set ups, latest version with all approved cards, it did had only 8 gigs free on the hdd, but I tried 8,16 and 32 gig CF cards ( brands mentioned above) and same thing, it wasn't able to record on the card.

 

I'm now trying to retouch the sound from the 5d, and possibly we will have to reshoot, I dont know how the producers feel about that.

 

Lesson Learned 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

And I just find amazing that some people use typos and spelling errors to make you look stupid.

please grow up

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now