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P2 Format Error – Card Won’t Mount – Is my footage lost forever???

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Brian Miller
P2 Format Error – Card Won’t Mount – Is my footage lost forever???
on Aug 4, 2009 at 7:26:21 pm

Hi everyone,

First off, I’ve always appreciated all the good information I’ve found at the Cow over the years, but I’ve never got around to posting, because most often I’ve found existing answers to my questions. But now I’m really stumped and am hoping someone can help me find a solution.

I’m overseas shooting with an HPX170 onto several P2 cards. I’ve used P2 for years and am very familiar with the workflow, so I really do know what I’m doing with the camera and cards. I’m using a MacBook Pro (OS 10.5.6) and Duel Adapter to offload the cards to FireWire drives. I’ve done this hundreds of times, and never had any problems. But now when I inserted a full 16 GB card into the computer, I got the message “Disk Insertion: The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer.” Putting the card back into the camera, I get “FORMAT ERR!” and it won’t show any footage on the card. I’m really freaked out, because the footage is irreplaceable! Is there any way I can retrieve the data on this full card? Disk Warrior doesn’t seem to work with FAT32 drives, and TechTool Pro says the physical disk itself checks out fine, but won’t let me test Volumes or Files on an unmountable volume. Do I have ANY other options at retrieving my data – even once I return home next week? Or am I totally screwed?

For troubleshooting purposes, I’ll list in detail the exact steps I took:
1. While shooting an interview, the 16GB card in Slot 2 filled up and the recording spanned over onto an empty 32GB card in Slot 1.
2. At the next break, I paused the recording and verified that the camera was in PAUSE mode. The P2 LED lights were solid orange on Slot 1 (ready to record) and flashing green on Slot 2 (full).
3. I ejected the full 16GB card on slot 2, and promptly slid the Protect switch to lock the card.
4. Booted up the MacBook Pro, inserted the Duel Adapter into the Expresscard slot, and inserted the P2 card into the adapter.
5. Immediately, I got the error: “Disk Insertion: The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer.” The card would NOT mount.
6. Launched Disk Utility to try mounting the card, to no avail.
7. Multiple restarts and repeating steps, 4, 5, and 6.
7. Put the card back into the camera, and got the message: “FORMAT ERR!”
8. Tried additional methods of mounting the card: 1394 DEVICE mode to multiple MacBook Pros; USB DEVICE mode to MacBook Pro and a Windows laptop (all machines had Panasonic P2 drivers installed). Nothing was able to mount the card, and I recall the Windows machine said something about needing to format the drive before it could be used.

Disk Utility sees the card as “14.7 GB MATSHITA P2Card Series Media” with write status “Read Only”. The greyed out volume is called “disk1s1” and is formatted as “Windows_FAT_32”. I’ve noted that other good P2 cards display the volume as “NO NAME” with the formatting “MS-DOS (FAT32)”.

As I mentioned above, Disk Warrior and TechTool Pro don’t seem to be of any use with this card. Can anyone chime in and offer any ideas to resurrect this problematic card? I presume the data is still there, if I can find a way to mount the volume and repair or rebuild the directory (ala Disk Warrior). Can a data recovery service rescue my footage? Or am I out of luck, and should just reformat the card in camera and go on with life and kiss that footage goodbye?

This REALLY shakes my confidence in the tried-and-true P2 technology. Now I never know if I may shoot a day’s footage only to lose it. Has anyone else had this happen?

Thanks,
Brian


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: P2 Format Error – Card Won’t Mount – Is my footage lost forever???
on Aug 4, 2009 at 11:02:24 pm

What about on your 32 gig card?

I assume the footage is not there?


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Brian Miller
Re: P2 Format Error – Card Won’t Mount – Is my footage lost forever???
on Aug 5, 2009 at 4:49:53 am

Nope. There's a 42 minute section of our day's shoot that's definitely missing (we're shooting 720P/24PN). I've done extensive testing, and all the other cards I have are recording and offloading fine. It's this one stupid card that I just can't mount, and it's definitely full of footage.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: P2 Format Error – Card Won’t Mount – Is my footage lost forever???
on Aug 5, 2009 at 6:47:32 pm

[Brian Miller] "There's a 42 minute section of our day's shoot that's definitely missing (we're shooting 720P/24PN)."

Ouch. I have never heard of a card go bad like that before. I wonder if the Duel had anything to do with it?

I am not sure of any data recovery, perhaps you might try contacting Panasonic.

Jeremy


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Michael Sacci
Re: P2 Format Error – Card Won’t Mount – Is my footage lost forever???
on Aug 6, 2009 at 2:48:40 am

http://www.drivesaversdatarecovery.com/press-releases/drivesavers-announces...

these guys are normally way too expensive for the likes of me, but there are an option if all else fails.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: P2 Format Error – Card Won’t Mount – Is my footage lost forever???
on Aug 6, 2009 at 3:59:22 am

Nice one. Thanks for that info.

Jeremy


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Brian Miller
Re: P2 Format Error – Card Won’t Mount – Is my footage lost forever???
on Aug 6, 2009 at 2:35:34 pm

Thanks guys for the input. I'll check with Drive Savers when I get home. I'm pretty sure they'll be out of our price range, but they may be able to shed some light on why a card might go bad and if there are any more steps I can take to get at the data.

Fortunately, we managed to do a pick-up interview the next day and get the critical stuff we needed. It was quite embarrassing though and made us look pretty bad to the client. Oh well . . . part of life.

Now I can't rest easy until I can replicate the problem and have an idea of what caused the card to become corrupted, and how I can prevent this from happening in the future. In the mean time, I'd appreciate hearing from anyone else who may have had a card failure.

Brian


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MacDara King
Re: P2 Format Error – Card Won’t Mount – Is my footage lost forever???
on Aug 7, 2009 at 6:04:52 pm

I have had the same problem, its cause by removing the P@ card during a write operation. Basically, the computer or the camera was writing to the card when you pulled it out, that corrupted the data making it unreadable.

Same idea as pulling a tape out while it is still being read by the head.


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Andrea Klipp
Re: P2 Format Error – Card Won’t Mount – Is my footage lost forever???
on Sep 11, 2009 at 3:49:29 am

Hi Brian~
I was online researching a p2 card crash, and came across your thread. I was wondering if you had any success in recovering the data or if it did end up being lost. We had a similar situation happen with a 16 GB P2 - E series card. I was transferring it off the card to my laptop (PowerBook g4) through the PCI slot. My computer locked up, so I had to force it down, and restart it. When it came back up - it would not recognize the card - it wouldn't mount. I was able to see it under disk utilities, much like you did, and had the same results. I even tried it in a P2 Store, and no luck. I tried putting it back in the camera, and it said there was a format error.

We too have critical interview material on this card - so before I chalk it up to lost forever, I want to exhaust my resources.

If you have a chance to get back to me, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thanks,
Andrea



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John Otterbacher
Re: P2 Format Error – Card Won’t Mount – Is my footage lost forever???
on Oct 15, 2009 at 1:22:37 am

I too am having this problem. Did anyone find a solution?


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Robert Moniot
Re: P2 Format Error – Card Won’t Mount – Is my footage lost forever???
on Nov 12, 2009 at 12:22:48 am

Wow, I am getting a bad feeling in my gut. This exact same thing just happened to me with a 64GB E Series card. Anybody got any help?


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: P2 Format Error – Card Won’t Mount – Is my footage lost forever???
on Nov 12, 2009 at 4:41:30 pm

[Robert Moniot] "Wow, I am getting a bad feeling in my gut. This exact same thing just happened to me with a 64GB E Series card. Anybody got any help?"

What exactly happened? Have you tried to repair the clip in camera?


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