Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Computer Disaster-I Would Rather Be Photographing Than Dealing With This!

During the past week there were some very beautiful, dramatic lighting conditions interspersed with the mostly gray, overcast skies. I used the Canon 3-D with 17-40mm lens and a circular polarizer on both of these scenic shots.

Late Evening After A Brief Shower

Dramatic Clouds As Cold Front Passes

Unfortunately my experience with the hardware side of video production and photography has been a lot like the weather lately with a lot of problems interspersed with the few periods that things work as expected.

I was editing video last evening and left to do something else for a period of time, so I put the computer in sleep mode. I could recover from sleep mode with my Windows XP editing computer, but this was a new Dell XPS 9000 with the Windows 7 operating system. Two of the external drives were powered up. When I returned the computer would not awaken from sleep mode, so I had to do a hard shut-down by depressing and holding the power switch in.

When the computer rebooted, I tried to open a project, but got a message that the media could not be found. Long story short-both drives were hopelessly corrupted and could not be accessed (each were 2 terabyte drives about with one being 50% full and the other about 75% so there was a tremendous data loss) I tried drive rescue software to no avail. The drives had to be reformatted and all of the material must be recaptured. This is a daunting task as it involves somewhere around 100 tapes to get back to a minimal acceptable level of operation, and one must be there to start and stop the process of capturing each tape.

I love to edit video, but it is hard work and I sometimes wonder if it is worth the hassle. I am still shooting tape and each one must be captured to a hard drive. This is real time capture. It takes one hour to capture a one hour tape, with other time needed to set up the capture process. I had all of the wildlife footage I have taken since the beginning of 2007 on three external hard drives, which are always attached to the computer. Luckily one of the drives was not attached and a portion of another was backed up to another drive, but still it is a mind boggling amount of work to face.


Tom Arbour said...

Willard- Have you ever heard of a Drobo, made by Data Robotics? It's a backup device that is very popular with both pro photographers and digital videographers. I'm not exactly sure how they work, but it seems like they're made to prevent situations like you have experienced. Check out


Quilt Works said...


Peggy said...

Oh man, I can't imagine what you are facing! At least you can rescue them...Luckily it was not a total loss. I can't imagine how devestating that would be! Good Luck Willard!

Brad Myers said...

Willard, I am so sorry for your luck. I am happy that you can get all the data back with some work. I think you need to take a break and go out and enjoy the wildlife. That would put any one back in the right frame of mind.

Anonymous said...

Ouch! We put so much faith in our hardware and when it let's us down, it let's us down big time. Hope things turn out ok.

bobshank said...

Willard, I just purchased a Drobo and installed it onto my computer today. It provides redundant backup so everything is saved and safe unless a fire or tornado takes the Drobo of course. I have heard that it may not be as user friendly for the video as it for still photos, but this is only from hearing some others complain about a lack of speed. I will let you know more about my Drobo as I begin to make use of it. Like you, I much prefer to be behind the camera than the pc!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry for the frustrating issues you are having. All of this technology is wonderful when it works, but it's really awful when it doesn't!!!

Dina said...

So sorry about this computer crisis.
Willard, your blog is wonderful but I have to stay away during hunting season. And that comment you quoted today . . . oi, tsk.

Take care.

Kekiinani said...

Hi Willard. Oh my gosh. So sorry to hear about your data lose. I can not imagine. Your shots are awesome though. Hope you get through all of the editing. I will think positive thoughts for you.
Renee :)

Unknown said...

Just a suggestion, on your next computer upgrade, get a Mac. Serious photographers and video guys that I know are all using Macs, because of the problems they all had with Windows in the past. By the way, they all speak volumes about their Mac computers and will never go back to Windows. Just food for thought. Good Luck.