Lost Video Footage in Final Cut Pro

by Nazem

Question: I just made a small 37 minute documentary film about Lebanon my birth place. It is all clips from youtube also from the Al Jazeera network as well as Rusia Today television.

I had to settle for a 37 minute film although I had originally made two 2 hour films both documentaries about Lebanon and India.

My issue was that when I finished editing using final cut pro, I thought that when I see the project on the time line that I do not need the clips any more so I deleted everything from the flash drives that I was using.

I had recently bought an external drive for 500 gega or gigs help me out, but I forgot transfer from the flash drives to the external drive thinking that by saving the finished project on the external drive that I would be able to access it the next session when I was getting ready to burn the DVD. Not so.. all my time line had a red line on it and all my clips had a red oblique line through them plus in the viewer it said MEDIA OFFLINE.

I would appreciate any input. Also if you have any thoughts concerning edit only projects, the legality issues copyright etc... as well as marketing and eventually doing this for a living.


Answer: Thank you for sharing your situation. Oh my goodness, it does not sound too good.

So are you saying you lost ALL of your footage or were you able to salvage something (37-minute film)?

If I understand you correctly, you had edited together two separate 2-hour documentaries and lost both documentaries when you erased your flash drives.
Is that correct?

As someone who has worked with both tape and hard drives, there is definitely something to be said here for using tapes. Even if a hard drive goes down, at least you have your original tapes as a hard back-up. I guess this is a horrible way to learn and I am very sorry this happened to you.

As far as I know, there is no way to salvage your footage.

The other concern I have is that you say you pulled footage from YouTube, Al Jazeera as well as Russia Today. It is very important to understand copyright issues when using someone else's footage. Just because you can watch footage for "free" on the internet or on television does not mean it is "free" to use. It is very serious to use someone else's work without their permission. Please read about copyright issues in this article.

Don't Be Stupid: Copyright and Legal Issues

You also asked about marketing and making money with documentaries. These articles may help, although keep in mind they are geared toward an American audience:

Who Buys Documentaries

Documentary Funding

Again, I am very sorry about you losing your footage.
I hope my answers were helpful. And if anyone is reading this who has ideas or suggestions, please leave your comments and feedback here.

Comments for Lost Video Footage in Final Cut Pro

Click here to add your own comments

Mar 28, 2011
Ideas for salvaging footage?
by: Webmaster

Anyone have ideas for salvaging footage from a Final Cut Pro project?

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask a Question.

7 Day Documentary Crash Course

Ready To Make Your Dream Documentary?

Sign up for our exclusive 7-day crash course and learn step-by-step how to make a documentary from idea to completed movie! 

Return Home