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Sony AVC Rebuild

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Tony Sarcasto
Sony AVC Rebuild
on Sep 18, 2016 at 10:59:25 pm

This can't be that uncommon. The battery died while recording a video (on a FDR AX33). The MP4 file is incomplete, at a minimum there is no ending. Also in the AVC package; an xml file needs to be written to correspond with the MP4 and a few lines of data are added to the MEDIAPRO.XML file. All of this roundabout encoding is Sony's way to sabotage the files--to make them useless without their camera. I have the camera, but can't defeat the sabotage. As a result, the MP4 file doesn't behave like normal MP4 files, it can't be read until it is repackaged through the proprietary Sony process.

As more people have these cameras, I can't believe I am the only one to have a battery die during a critical recording. I don't understand why their customers haven't come after them with pitchforks. Sony Tech Support could care less. They offer no solutions.

Is there a way to rebuild the MP4 file, to recover some or most of what is there?

I'm thinking there should be a standard entry to the file and a relatively standard ending. Can we separate those elements from the mass of frame data, and calculate the number of frames to fill in the correct numbers to make the ending of the MP4 file, and the two XML file match and readable?

This seems like such a common problem I have to think somebody smarter than me has already come up with a solution.

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leslie wand
Re: Sony AVC Rebuild
on Sep 19, 2016 at 5:10:49 am

was there no battery level warning?

if not then i would be taking the camera back for inspection. however, if there was and you ignored it... rather like driving a car on the reserve warning and not filling up when you pass a garage - when you're out of gas you're out of gas.

you could perhaps try one or more of the various mp4 'repair' tools on the net - a google for 'mp4 video recovery tool' returns dozens of them.

good luck

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Tom Laughlin
Re: Sony AVC Rebuild
on Sep 20, 2016 at 3:28:35 pm


I had this happen a few times with my Sony EX-1, a few years ago, when my DI guy would pop cards out of the camera, sometimes at random, while recording was happening, but also, there were several who were transferring the BPAV folder, sometimes, not copying the entire folder, ok, ok, so my point, we had several SxS cards that had media that needed to be "Restored". Sometimes, we re-inserted the cards into the camera, and the media would auto-restore with the card simply being re-inserted, the camera would then perform a "repair", to files that were not finished being written or that had become corrupted. Sometimes, this would work.

The other work-around was, we would copy the media (entire card w/unstable clips), and we'd copy the entire root BPAV folder to an external hard-drive, then copy that same BPAV onto anther SxS card, then re-insert that card into the camera to see if we could get something to repair internally. If the file was written in it's entirety, yet not reading, that was what we would try and do. We would also, in some cases, if cards were copied incorrectly, we'd try and manually reconstruct the root folders contents, to try to trick the media into being readable. With some problems, this would totally not work, because critical data files are written while in record mode, meta-data, cache, etc, which you really can't re-create. If the file was not fully recorded, there is virtually no way that I know to bring media back, that didn't record completely. We also would use Sony's Clip Browser to view clips, and if there was anything readable from within Son'y card-ingesting software. Card problems were really trouble-shot on a case by case basis, so, what may have worked on one SxS card, may or may not work on another card. Even so, inserting the cards back into the same camera that the card media was shot on, there may have been something that that camera did, or did not do properly, regardless the battery failure, so we would sometimes, try inserting the card into another camera, to see if that camera would or could restore the media or pull up any thumbnails.

Sometimes, I would even try the VLC player, or MPEG StreamClip to open media that was unstable, and for me, that was the last resort. If those two media players could not open or even play the media, that to me, certified the media as corrupted beyond repair. I've heard of people sending cards or media to Sony directly, as Sony may have some tools to be able to repair the media, but usually Sony can help, if the media was in fact shot on actual Sony media. Any other cards or media cards, Sony would probably not be able to assist you with. In the case of shooting on SDHC cards or SD cards and adaptors, Sony would not be able to help, but for me, if media was shot on Sony SxS cards, they would try a few things, but I cannot say this for sure. I can only say this, based on past posts about this type of trouble-shooting with media and cards.

All in all, none of this may help you at all, but just wanted to suggest a few things in general.

Thanks, Tom

Tom Laughlin
Digital Chop House
Salt Lake City, Utah

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