When it comes to the Photography scene, I’m still a Noob. Take for instance my first foray into shooting stills and video with the Lumix GH1. Somehow, I managed to lose my MTS files.
I shot an entire performance using a 28mm m4/3 lens. Well, one thing to note about being in the front row is that these manual legacy lenses require 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 captured 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! 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 available on the market. Most programs that I 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 their program could discover. Later, they try and hit you up with a purchase of the program.
Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery- $39
At the moment, Stellar Phoenix seems to have the market on 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 tries it found all the still files, but not the MTS files. Interestingly, 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, such as 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 any of the show that I just shot, except for the stills – which all programs seem to do well.
By now, I was obsessed, I think I tried Photo Recovery by Wondershare, and CardRescue with the same results. I was hitting 0 for 0 for my lost MTS files.
PhotoRec (Open Source that works = Donation is certainly deserved here!)
At this point, I was ready to accept defeat. So, 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 interestingly, 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 it 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, 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, and a great camera like the GH-1, a good practice to take to heart is to just upload the days work on a computer, and if possible, clear out the memory before going on a day’s shoot. And, if all else fails… use PhotoRec.