(originally published on the Run and Gun Videography Blog)
I was happily working in the bright sunshine atop a hillside doing some preparatory work on a steel peacock sculpture my wife made that will be raised next week for a BBC program on Belvoir Castle.
The castle itself looked down on me from a mile away across rolling fields and lakes.
About an hour into my project, hands partially covered in sticky black mastic, I heard the rumble of our Landrover approaching. My wife arrived to tell me there was an emergency at the castle. There was a lavish Hindu wedding ongoing and the videographer hadn’t shown up.
Naturally I explained why I had to say no. No preps. No 2nd or 3rd cameraman arranged. Simply too risky. And besides, I was already having fun.
20 minutes later I heard the rumble of the Landrover again. This time she popped out with the castle events manager who pleaded with me.
The ceremony was scheduled to begin in 90 minutes.
30 minutes later I was there, one hour before the ceremony.
The bride and groom explained that they wanted the whole ceremony and all the speeches that would occur afterwards at lakeside the reception dinner. Since the traditional Hindu ceremony itself was going to be two hours, that meant it was likely going to be a 2 1/2 hour program.
Normally, for a wedding, I’d hire an additional cameraman or two in addition to planting a couple of additional static cameras of my own and use my X70 hand-held for all the interesting shots.
I only had time to hang one additional camera on a long shot of the ceremony.
I stayed close to the action with the radio receiver for the priest on the X70.
So far, no big deal, right?
In fact it was going rather well despite it all being unfamiliar to me–that is until 20 minutes from the end of the ceremony my battery died (wasn’t paying attention). I swapped it out quick to be greeted with a warning that the camera was unable to save the recording. It asked me a dumb question: Did I want to recover the file?
So I answered the dumb question and then it told me that there was a data-base error and asked me another dumb question: Did I want to re-build the data-base? Anyway, I spent a few seconds chatting back and forth with the camera in this fashion and a few seconds later everything seemed to be back-to-battery.
When the ceremony was over I changed both cards.
I wasn’t sure if it was a problem with one card or both. It didn’t tell me that. So naturally I was a bit concerned the rest of the evening.
It got worse.
The same thing happened toward the end of the speeches on the new cards. And this time it wasn’t because the battery had died.
I had smartly routed the audio to the receiver on the other camera (NX30), so at least if it happened again (as it did), I’d have the good sound.
But now I was really freaked.
They specifically wanted the whole ceremony and all the speeches.
All the B roll was fine (drinks in the rose garden, cannons being fired, long shot of the venue from atop the hill where I was so rudely interrupted only hours before. But the meat of the whole wedding was in severe jeopardy.
When I got home I put in the first of the cards that reported the error. Heart sank. The main chunk of the ceremony (with the good sound) wasn’t there. Same with the second card, though there were more files on that one, but the important bit was gone.
Strangely, the reception speeches and stuff seemed to all be there.
Long story short and twelve hours later after a lot of research (and purchase of) card recovery software (that reported “0” volumes on card), I tried rebuilding the data base in the camera again. (It said everything appears to be fine).
Stuck it back in the computer again (as one does) and suddenly there were a lot more files. Was the important one there? YES! In fact, they were all there.
(somebody correct me if I’m wrong, but apparently sticking the card in and out a few times can have this result–and that’s honestly the only thing I did in the end)
Anyway boys and girls, that’s ONE reason why you have multiple cameras on a live event of any sort. You can lose one and not lose the whole show.