I had shot an entire show using a 28mm m4/3 lens. First of all, one thing to note about being in the front row – with these manual legacy lenses there is a lot of focusing especially as the performers are scurrying back and forth! At some point near the beginning I kind of gave up and just set it to one position hoping to capture 80% of the show. Thankfully, I was not the sole provider of video services, and the main videographer got what he needed. Of course, when I got home to transfer the file to the MacBookPro, I nearly had a heart attack. My stills were there, but my video kept turning out blank. Huh?!! How could nearly every still be in place and just some video and the rest of the MTS files showing up as “Not able to display file.” Or something to that affect. Luckily, my documentation of the event was not so critical! But still, how do I recover my files? Which programs do I use? Especially, if I am on a budget!
Don’t panic (like I did)!
I tried at least 3-5 File recovery programs that are out there on the market. Most programs that used were on the Mac, and a couple were solely for a PC. Luckily, many of these have a trial feature that will identify any files that the program could discover. Later, they try and hit you up with a purchase of the program.
Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery- $39
Stellar Phoenix seems to have the market on the Photo recovery programs for the Mac. Check http://www.stellarinfo.com/digital-media-recovery.htm
On the internet, I googled “MTS recovery” and mtsrecovery.com shows up since someone must be doing some kind of Affiliate Marketing because this LOOKS like your only option for MTS recovery for the mac. Many of the Photo recovery progs don’t explicity say that they can recover MTS files. And many sites do not say their links redirect into the Stellar Phoenix product, which is how I eventually ended up trying the Phoenix trial first. In short, even though it says it can recovery MTS files, on 4 runs it found all the still files, but not the MTS files. Strangely, it picked up on a MOV file, but that was not what I needed. On to the next option.
Photorescue (Datarescue): $29 to $99
I checked a forum and someone said they had good results recovering MTS files with Photorescue on the mac. So I downloaded that program. They have a Facebook page which is helpful. They publicly point out current issues that they’ve noticed and are diligently working on – Like issues with 32gb SDHC cards. I appreciate having access to help like that, and if I bought this product I, for one, would be contacting them on Facebook. Alas, having the program search my card 3 times, it seemed to hang and stall at about 70-80% of the search. Maybe 4 hours or so is not a long enough wait? That seems to me a bit long for me. However, it did find and recover some footage from a year back, so I thought there was some hope. Unfortunately I did not see the show that I shot, except for the stills – which all programs seem to do well.
PhotoRec (Open Source that works = Donation is certainly deserved here!)
At this point, I was ready to accept defeat. And I decided to try PhotoRec – an open source solution. PhotoRec lists every file it can recover. It DID NOT have MTS files on the list, so I was not hopeful. I tried it anyway, and I let it run overnight. I’m not sure when it picked up on all the files, but when I woke about 1 or 2 hours later (a bathroom run), I noticed that PhotoRec picked up on about 10 M2TS files. I clicked on each of them and lo and behold there they were. I was ecstatic. I checked the PhotoRec site (http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec) and though I confirmed that it doesn’t say it can recover MTS files, it does say it can recover M2TS files from which I understand is a Blue-Ray file, or at least blue-ray compatible. I don’t think the Lumix shoots in M2TS, I pretty sure of it, but interstingly, it looks like PhotoRec repaired the file and assigned it as M2TS. Strange, but quite honestly I kind of don’t care, as long as I can use the file. I don’t know if greatly affects the quality of the file, but I don’t see anything unusual.
I’ll have to get permission to upload the MTS video, but that’s another post.
BTW the reason why did I lose my MTS files in the first place? I think it may be “user error.” Doh. It’s probably true. I don’t know too many people who have lost their MTS files but the lesson going forward is: “It probably is not a great idea to delete photos in the camera while you are in the field on a shoot.” With a 32gb SDHC Card in hand, a good practice to take to heart is to just upload the days work, and if possible, clear out the memory before going on a day’s shoot. And if all else fails… use PhotoRec.