Recovering HD24 files

Discussion in 'Live Sound' started by Sonarerec, Aug 17, 2005.

  1. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    I use my HD24 as a backup machine and only rarely need to pull data via FST connect. I also was using 200GB drive in it which meant that alot of projects piled up-- too many, in fact.

    I had recorded a concert which indeed had data that I needed, but due to that concert being in the midst of a very busy festival I forgot I had not pulled those files into my DAW.

    I remembered pretty vividly when I later opened the project to mix and discovered that it was not all there, and I had just reformatted that drive. DUH!!

    I got in touch with a guy named Eddie Rivas who was able to pull all of the files that were not overwritten (95%) onto another drive. In other words, he saved my bacon!

    I learned several things from this adventure:

    1- Use drives that are no more than 40GB in size-- this accommodates 150 minutes of 24 tracks of 24/96. If I had done this (rather than the 200GB drive I had in there) I would have been forced to keep up with the data management and transfer what was needed immediately rather than procrastinating and forgetting to retrieve needed files. Because the project I needed was recorded at 24/48, it meant that each of the 16 tracks was 24 hours long! FST format is a linear format on the HD. This was a nightmare for Eddie to wade through, but he did it!

    2- Never format the drive unless POSITIVE that the data is not needed. This is obviously related to avoiding stupid mistakes, but I may never completely eliminate that problem!

    3- If I ever do this again, I know who to contact! Eddie Rivas' email is "bro_silas at yahoo dot com"

    His data recovery fees are VERY reasonable, especially when compared to the guys in the clean-suits. He is very knowledgeable about the FST file format.

    This mess had a happy ending thanks to Eddie!

  2. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Jan 9, 2005
    Brisbane, Australia
    Home Page:
    Nice outcome. Its great to have good forensic IT people around.

    This is an interesting topic, ie housekeeping. There is so much digital data to transfer, store, archive, recall from archive, restore project etc, that one needs to be very organised.

    I use two 40G drives in my Nagra and am cleaning one off right now just before going down to the Bangalow music festival. I am checking and then deleting all the concerts from this year, which are still on the drive, I only record 44/24 stereo, so there's some 40 hours of projects to remove.

    My workflow demands that I transfer the files from the Nagra drive, to the DAW as soon as I get home, this is an operation that takes 5mins max. Even if I am dog tired at the end of a long day I still do it. It gives me a second copy, in case of HD failure somewhere, and I know at any time the Nagra drive can be erased without losing projects.

    I then work on the projects when I can, storing them in ISO date format (yyyymmdd) named directories on the DAW, ie 20050608_IsserlisRecital etc. This allows me to correlate the concert dates/directories quickly with the chronology in my project diary.

    When the project is finished, they are archived to DVD-R and filed in the ISO date order in envelopes stacked vertically in the dark. I also have a database of them to look up for retrieval. Like when the musicians come back a year or more later, saying, "You know that master you made for me to hold onto, should anyone want anymore copies, you know the one?, well I gave that to someone, can I have 10 more copies?

    How long do you guys keep project data for and what are you archiving to? I have had no problems restoring from CDR's from 1998, but am looking at more robust storage for the future.

    Am I obsessive compulsive? Probably. But this project data is worth a lot and finding it quickly is too, for one's sanity.
  3. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    Mar 29, 2005
    WY / CA
    Home Page:
    Oh yeah. You have to be. How else can one survive this biz?
  4. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    This is excellent advice on a naming convention, and one that I will adopt. Consistency is the key, and something that is personally elusive!

    I am using 200GB HDs-- currently $.50US/GB for source files and VIPs (EDLs to the rest of the world). I always keep a redbook CDR of the final product. I have a pair of Wiebetech FW docks and spin up the drives every now and then. Not really sure that I need to keep all the stuff, though.

    Having endured a variety of data disasters (most of my own making) I do not think it is possible to be TOO O/C. As Bob Katz says, "never turn your back on digital!"

  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Great topic!

    It went in a different direction than the original, so I'll split it here in a minute.

    I do have one quick question though Rich -

    What was the logic in using drives no larger than 40GB? The drive writing format that's used shouldn't have problems with very large drives. (One of the engineers at Alesis stated to me that gigs in excess of Terrabytes would be supported.)

    It sucks to hear about your bad experience. FWIW - I've used the HD24 for every gig I've recorded since the device came out. (As a backup primarily, but occassionally as a primary) and I've never experienced data loss. The original Hard Drive was bad, but that's the worst thing that happened.

    Now -- onto archival, file management, etc.:

    Obsessive Compulsive behaviour is a VERY positive thing. I tend to believe that O/C behaviour and success are closely tied together. Of course, that is when it's kept in check.

    I have a similarly anal file system.

    Each client has his/her own folder on my audio drive (120GB SATA) which is cleaned at least every 3 months.
    Each session is individually dated in the same method which Dave details above.

    If the client is a "regular" client, they have their own dedicated back-up drive (currently 80 GB External USB 2.0 Maxtors) and double DVD burns (one stored in their file with their contracts, etc. and one stored in my home.) If they are the "occassional client" I will lump them onto the same back up drive with similar artists and still provide the double DVD backup.

    As well, if a master is produced (RedBook or DVD-A), I keep a single physical copy of it. Of course, all masters are checked through PlexTools for excessive errors. (That is of course if we're referring to the standard RedBook master.) I do not keep spare DDPs as they are easy to generate from the master project and are unlikely to be used more than once.

    I guess I'm a tad O/C too...

    (oh, BTW, you don't even want to talk about logs...

    I have a database which I maintain on my office computer - seperate from my studio computer. It contains a listing of all the equipment I own broken down into categories. At the onset of each recording or track, I populate a form within the database with the following information - most of which made up of drop boxes pointing to existing tables:

    Artist Name
    Recording Medium
    Bit Rate (s)
    Sample Rate (s)
    Track listing (1 - Vocal, 2 - Guit, etc.)
    and under Track listing all of the following:
    Compressor 1
    Compressor 2
    EQ 1
    EQ 2
    FX 1
    FX 2
    AD Conv

    Then, I take a picture (high res) of the equipment rack to capture all of the settings of each device during the session. If there are multiple settings within one track, I'll identify this in the DB and point to an external object (the pictures) from within the database.

    This has saved my ass a few times and only took me 30 minutes to set up initially.

    Since it's an MS database, I can keep it running and populate it easily while on the fly. I don't find it gets in the way with any of my work flow (in fact, it's now an integral part of my work flow) and at the end, I can print out a detailed report of each track's make-up and store it in the artist's physical file.

    Okay, now I'm a nerd :shock:

  6. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    FST writes linearly and if you have to retrieve data as Eddie did it means that each 24/48 track is 24 HOURS long on a 200GB drive. That is ALOT to wade through looking for something.

    And if I had used 40GB instead I would not have been able to procrastinate dragging the files over and the recovery would not have been needed.

    I will say that next season I will dedicate a drive for the Festival and not touch it until everything is delivered.


    Even when you don't think you need to!


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