One of those days… (nights)

My latest video is a bit of a small miracle! I’m writing this before the YouTube upload – partly to vent and share my experience. I had nearly every imaginable setback starting off with my phone dying just as I was about to start recording, SD card running out of space, a corrupted MP4, and major sync issues.

The basic idea for the video is counting Monopoly money, something about the paper sound triggers me – and maybe others too. The set up I used in this video was using my phone as the camera, and the Zoom for audio with the PC off to minimise noise. I had done some tests previously and I think I had sussed out the problem synchronising the A/V. I like this method for the low noise floor and you can’t hear my noisy PC.

The recording was going very well, I was really happy with the audio and, although my phone camera is not super awesome, it’s a lot better than that Logitech webcam. The recording was originally about a third longer but due to the file corruption, I had to edit  out the end where I cut the money with scissors. I’ll be doing cutting sounds video again though, scissors are a good tingle source!

My phone ran out of storage space part way through the recording and the camera app crashed before it could finalise the MP4, leaving me with a 2.3GB file that nothing, not even VLC would play 😦

I was determined not to lose this recording, the audio on the Zoom was fine and I suppose I could have just uploaded the audio with some calming visuals. But I thought the sounds would go best with its origins.

I Googled far and wide for repair MP4 corruption, amongst other terms, and mostly ran into paywalls, companies selling software claiming to repair video files. I’m sure some of them would but I was sure somewhere, someone on the internet has figured this out.

I was right! I came across this Stack Overflow post which saved me. Special thanks to ‘Sly Diman‘ for making Recover_MP4.exe. It is a command line program with no user interface, so it may be a bit of a challenge for some people. It’s not a one-click solution either and takes a bit of trial and error. The process took me about and hour or so to test things out with my file and get the parameters right.

Using recover_mp4.exe I recovered a H264 stream Horay!! Oh man, I was so happy with this, but it still wasn’t over, I needed an MP4 file for Hitfilm (video editor). Seems as the recovered .h264 file played in VLC I tried the built in convert option. This crashed VLC and my heart sank a little. Recover_MP4 recommends using ffmpeg.exe to convert to MP4 so I tried this several times and eventually got a file I though was close to the original. What was off was the framerate due to a parameter I needed to set, but I was unsure of.

I then discovered had to re-encode the MP4 with Handbrake just like any other recording from my phone due to the varying frame rate. This could have been accomplished with ffmpeg, but I’m not super familiar with all of these programs.

The next discovery was in editing and trying to synchronise the A/V. For 1 second of audio recorded with the Zoom, I need the correct amount of frames for one second of video – and to align them. As you will see when the upload goes live it’s not perfect, but I think I was able to fudge it just enough to make it work using a few cuts and stretching, blended with transitions.

What was going to be a quick recording that I was going to edit later, turned into a very long recording/distress/research/recovery/conversion/editing session!

tl;dr

Despite experiencing some complex technical difficulties I was able to get my video done. I learned how to recover corrupted MP4’s too – which is good to know!

As per a suggestion, I have also lowered the sound level in my intro, it really was a bit too loud.

I’ll be uploading overnight (morning) and I hope you enjoy it and that it was worth it.

Here is the upload, enjoy!

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