Camera destroyed while recording .avi file

posted in Video Codecs

Hi, I attached my Sony digital camera to my remote control airplane to get some aerial video footage, and crashed, destroying the camera while still recording. The memory card survived and the video file shows up on windows media player, but there’s no thumbnail pic of the video I recorded, just a file number followed by .avi, there is something there at least that acknowledges that I recorded but it shows 0 KB file size, and will not play. I don’t know anything about recovering incomplete .avi files, could someone recommend the best way to go about getting my footage to play, I really want to see the pilot’s eye view!

Thanks in advance. If I am successful the video will be posted on Youtube for all to see. reply

this is a really interesting problem

can you run chkdsk (without the /f flag) to check the integrity of the file system?
if it finds inconsistencies, try running it with the /f flag (chkdsk /f x: where x is the drive letter)
if there’s recovered files, they’ll be in the 000.chk folder. they may not have headers since that’s usually the last thing to get written to the file.

I once wrote steps to recover video from an avi with missing headers
that was six years ago. it involves creating a dummy header and adding it to the start of the file (it was rather roundabout with the file splitter. now i think using copy /b part1+part2 output.avi would be better)

it seems some people created automated tools for this

anyway, whatever video you use to do this should have the same parameters (resolution, frame rate etc) as the one you were shooting. hopefully you’ll have some spare ones to work with. DO NOT shoot with the camera to produce a sample on the same memory card. it could overwrite whatever data you’re trying to salvage and make it unrecoverable (see the rest of this post). use another card. don’t write anything to the card you’re trying to recover data from.

there’s one downside with chkdsk and it has a tendency to zap files it can’t make sense of.

there’s another possibility and that is data was written to the media, but not the file structure (like file size, timestamp, etc). so your video is in the space currently marked as free (could be anywhere on the drive).
I can’t think of how you can do a data dump of the free space.
you can ask on hddguru forums for ideas on how to do that (maybe dd can)
anyway, once you get a dump (which will just be a file with mostly chunks of data from pics and vids you shot before, but deleted), you can try to put a header in front of it and try to recover data.
the difficulty would be if you end up with a very large file. you could have multiple videos in there, and unfortunately, virtualdub will stop seeking when it sees an end-of-file marker (it will ignore additional videos past that point).

one idea would be to use mastersplitter to cut the dump into chunks, then do your work on each chunk. no idea what filesize would be optimal (but it’d probably be in the megabytes or 10s of megabytes)


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