Friday, January 7, 2011

Season 2 ' The Fix' Part 1

By Nathan Stout (of

This series of articles will cover my efforts to recover and rebuild the lost Season 2 Episodes of our Public Access TV Show According To Whim.

For those of you who haven't heard me go on and on about what happened here are the facts in a nutshell. In May 2010 after doing some editing for the day on video of Season 2 (and 3) of the the show (which was stored on a portable Hard Drive) I bumped the hard drive with my elbow and it fell on it's side and broke. At that point I had Episodes 3, 4, 5, and 6 at about 98 % completion as well as Episode 1 of Season 3. I lost all that footage on the hard drive (and just as importantly, the editing (which is what took the longest). I had not made any backups of files (for more than a year). Luckily I had given Miguel most of the footage for Episodes 1-4 and the edit files up to that point (the edits I had completed a year previous).

I got the footage he had and would need to go back to the original tapes I had and re-encode all missing footage. One of the problems with that was that several of the tape had been recorded over so some footage was lost permanently. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth I pretty much gave up on the whole thing. You can't imagine how much time (nor can I) I lost with this disaster. I tried to get the data recovered by sending the hard drive out to a couple of different companies but no one could help. You can read all about the saga here:
Click here for First Post
Click here for Update #2
Click here for Update #3
Click here for Update #4
Click here for Update #5
Click here for Final Update #6

This series of post will detail what I find on each of the tapes with footage to be recovered. This might bore some of you out of your skulls but others who do editing and video production will find it very entertaining. In this first post I will cover the first 3 tapes I have recovered/re-encoded. FYI: The tapes will have strange numbering because some of the tape already had numbers on them so you will see the number jump around a lot.
Tape #6
This first tape is a tape that I had marked as a 'resue' which is bad because it means I ran out of tapes and once I had encoded the original stuff off the tape I decided to reuse the tape. If any of that footage was from Episodes 5 or 6 then that footage is lost and will need to be re shot. The problem with the tape is that there is no desirable place on the tape that clues me into what might have been lost on the tape. You would figure I could see some scene playing out then a scene from later shoots cut in but I could not see anything like that. There is a little bit of green screen testing that I went ahead and encoded for some green screen fun I will post later. Other than that I re-encoded 4 scenes from this tape.
Tape #7
In the first part of this tape we reused it to record one of our Audio Shows. What ever was taped over for that is lost. The good news is that I *think* it was a scene from Episode 4 (which I already have). I re-encoded 4 scenes from this tape.
Tape #8
This tape has no According To Whim Season 2 on it at all. I did however review the whole thing in case we did put something (even if it was small) on the tape. I did encode a Professor of Dirt sketch which I abandoned because of audio issues. It was the 3rd installment of the series and when I did it (it was a 'call in' show) I accidentally had the audio set to manual and the volume was so high it was hard to understand. It is a totally usable sketch (visual wise) and I think that all I will need to do is audio replacement (voice over) and it will be good to go. It's funny enough and a great sketch to slap into Season 3 (even though its not apart of any particular season).
That is all for now. That's three down (of about 35 tapes). This will be a long process but I think I can get it done here in the first 10 weeks of 2011. In the second 10 weeks I will be editing the whole thing again.
Once I done reviewing all these tapes I think I am going to make a goal of sending the camera in for routine maintenance (through Canon). I think it deserves it (and needs it). I might pay to get them to repair the FireWire connection on it. It is loose and sometimes I have a hard time getting a connection.

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