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Card problems Alexa Mini / Angelbird C-Fast 2.0


Ole Andreas Grøntvedt FNF
 

Hi!
Anyone had issues with CF-Fast Cards on the ARRI Alexa Mini?

I just experienced reading issues with a card from Angelbird. It seems like we lost half a day of shooting.
I use the Angelbird AV PRO AR 256 GB C-Fast 2.0 cards, and haven’t had any issues for 2 months of shooting. Until now.
Everything was fine on set. We even did some playback from the camera.
When the card was sent to ingest it refused to mount. 
We have tried four different computers (Mac and PC), four different card readers (different manufacturers), but the card does not mount. No indication that the card read at all. 
 
I tried to put the card back in the (exact same) camera, but the camera does not recognize the card. (A000, C000)
 
Anyone experienced the same on any C-Fast card on the Mini?
Any chance of recovering the media files on this card?

We have reached out to the manufacturer (Angelbird) but are waiting for answer.
Please let me know if you have any experience with this topic.

All the best
Ole Andreas Grøntvedt, FNF


Loic de Lame
 

I had a similar experience in 2019 on a production. Things played fine in camera and I couldn’t mount or read data from the card.

Had to ship to Arri for them to do a recovery of the media.

As I understand it, they essentially use a camera as a media reader and copy the footage.

If you are able to remount the card in camera and playback clips, then I would wager you can get your media.

Arri charges a setup fee (at the time I think it was $300) and then if they get the media they charge a fee for copying. Last I recall it was somtthing like $1,000.

If this card is from a rental house, I would get them to cover the expenses.
This was our case on the show I was on.

Good luck!

~Loic

Loïc de Lame
DIT and Colorist
C: +1 (908) 752-3121

On December 14, 2021 at 1:38:31 PM, Ole Andreas Grøntvedt FNF (olegrontvedt@...) wrote:

Hi!
Anyone had issues with CF-Fast Cards on the ARRI Alexa Mini?

I just experienced reading issues with a card from Angelbird. It seems like we lost half a day of shooting.
I use the Angelbird AV PRO AR 256 GB C-Fast 2.0 cards, and haven’t had any issues for 2 months of shooting. Until now.
Everything was fine on set. We even did some playback from the camera.
When the card was sent to ingest it refused to mount. 
We have tried four different computers (Mac and PC), four different card readers (different manufacturers), but the card does not mount. No indication that the card read at all. 
 
I tried to put the card back in the (exact same) camera, but the camera does not recognize the card. (A000, C000)
 
Anyone experienced the same on any C-Fast card on the Mini?
Any chance of recovering the media files on this card?

We have reached out to the manufacturer (Angelbird) but are waiting for answer.
Please let me know if you have any experience with this topic.

All the best
Ole Andreas Grøntvedt, FNF


Art Adams
 

If you run into issues with a C-Fast card in a Mini—it doesn’t mount—put it in a freezer overnight. That may fix it long enough to get the data off.

 

In the past we saw this a lot with unapproved media, or if people put tape on the card. There’s a Peltier cooling element on the side of the card slot and the heat sink for the card is meant to rest against it. If you use unapproved media, or if something blocks the heat sink, the card can overheat. When that happens, the solder points between the chip and the bus can melt. Freezing the card can reseat things long enough to get the data off the card.

 

The rule of thumb that I learned from Videofax in San Francisco seems to hold well: if you put a card in a Mini and it takes four seconds or longer to mount, stop using it.

 

I’m not sure what media we approve for the Mini these days, I’m sure it’s on our web site. We’ve had some changes in who makes cards that meet our specs, as pushing uncompressed ARRIRAW generates a certain amount of heat. When we stepped up to 4.5K in the Mini LF we went to Codex for our media, as we just didn’t think we could make the other stuff work reliably due to the heat generated at ARRIRAW data rates.

_______________________________________________________
Art 
Adams
Cinema Lens Specialist
ARRI Inc.
3700 Vanowen Street
BurbankCA 91505
www.arri.com 

818-841-7070
x4212
 
aadams@...

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Mark Smith
 



On Dec 14, 2021, at 13:38, Ole Andreas Grøntvedt FNF <olegrontvedt@...> wrote:

Anyone had issues with CF-Fast Cards on the ARRI Alexa Mini?

Not on an Alexa mini, but on my BMPC 4k with a Lexar card. We tried mounting the card with 3 different computers/ combinations of readers. End result was that the card was dead. Period. I tried numerous methods which had worked for me in the past and nothing worked. It was over. This was clearly a card problem, and this card had been used for a couple years without issue. Suddenly the card went belly up. I split off from production drove 90 miles back to previous location and re-shot some B roll on the gimbal  at location A and solved the issue. I have  CF 2.0 cards that I have been using for 5 years no issue and then suddenly one dies without warning. The pattern was similar, I had checked PB while shooting B roll and it was all good until I tried to mount the card after the shoot.

Mark Smith


Antonio Rossi
 

I had a Lexar CFast card fail on a C300Markii. I tried a bunch of recovery methods and eventually sent it Krollontrack. They took the card apart, recovered the footage and put it on a hard drive for me for $600, which I thought was money well spent for a good client. That was a few years ago and I’m sure if they still do that type of recovery but I was very pleased with their service.

--
Antonio Rossi, DP
New York.


Bob Kertesz
 

Getting five years out of any memory card that gets used quite a bit is
very good life indeed. I've seen them fail after two.

Despite what the people I sometimes work with seem to think, they do not
last forever (or even much more than 3-4 years, usually).

Your mileage will vary, of course.

-Bob


Bob Kertesz
BlueScreen LLC
Hollywood, California

Mostly Retired Engineer, Video Controller, and Live Compositor
Extraordinaire.

High quality images for almost five decades - whether you've wanted them
or not.©

* * * * * * * * * *


On 12/14/2021 2:29:41 PM, Mark Smith via cml.news wrote:
Not on an Alexa mini, but on my BMPC 4k with a Lexar card. We tried
mounting the card with 3 different computers/ combinations of readers.
End result was that the card was dead. Period. I tried numerous
methods which had worked for me in the past and nothing worked. It was
over. This was clearly a card problem, and this card had been used for
a couple years without issue. Suddenly the card went belly up. I split
off from production drove 90 miles back to previous location and
re-shot some B roll on the gimbal  at location A and solved the issue.
I have  CF 2.0 cards that I have been using for 5 years no issue and
then suddenly one dies without warning. The pattern was similar, I had
checked PB while shooting B roll and it was all good until I tried to
mount the card after the shoot.

Mark Smith


Gavin Nugent
 

I Have had a similar issue before on the Amira , we were shooting slow mo and I accidentally topped the card right up


We had been playing back from the card and every thing was fine just before hand

When we got the card back for ingest it would not mount on any thing or even be recognised ..we had to use data recovery software to get the files back, every thing came back apart from the very last pro res which topped the card up

That was corrupt

we reformatted the card and it seemed fine we returned it to the hire company and explain what had happen …never heard back

Thanks

Gavin Nugent


Leonard Levy
 

On Tue, Dec 14, 2021 at 3:59 PM Bob Kertesz <bob@...> wrote:
Getting five years out of any memory card that gets used quite a bit is
very good life indeed. I've seen them fail after two.

What is it exactly that fails in a card and why? Is it just age? The number of writes?
What about say a 4+ year old card (or older)  that's hardly been used?

I've had a couple of original Sony XQD cards where the edge  cracked and a little piece of the plastic came off.
I just repaired them with "sugru" and they keep going. I guess they're as old as the FS7 so that's 7 years now (2014) .
Fair amount of use but far from everyday and hardly at all in 2020. 
Should I throw them away? 

Leonard Levy, DP
San Rafael, CA


 

I insist assistants put cards in the plastic card case and then wrap the tape around the case.  To me it has always felt more secure (especially if you go round the case a few times) and it stops bits of tape getting inside readers or worse the cameras card slot. It also stops you physically damaging the card when you take the tape off.

XQD cards seem particularly fragile.


Michael Sanders

London based Cinematographer and host of The Camera Channel podcast, available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

+ 44 (0) 7976 269818








On 15 Dec 2021, at 04:47, Leonard Levy <leonardlevydp@...> wrote:

I've had a couple of original Sony XQD cards where the edge  cracked and a little piece of the plastic came off.
I just repaired them with "sugru" and they keep going. I guess they're as old as the FS7 so that's 7 years now (2014) .
Fair amount of use but far from everyday and hardly at all in 2020. 
Should I throw them away? 


Art Adams
 

Hi Lenny-

 

I’m not an expert on this stuff, but I do know that SSD cells lose their ability to hold a charge over time.

 

Here’s an article from Backblaze on how SSD drives fail over time:

 

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/how-reliable-are-ssds/

 

-Art

_______________________________________________________
Art 
Adams
Cinema Lens Specialist
ARRI Inc.
3700 Vanowen Street
BurbankCA 91505
www.arri.com 

818-841-7070
x4212
 
aadams@...

Get all the latest information from www.arri.comFacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.






This message is confidential. It may also be privileged or otherwise protected by work product immunity or other legal rules. If you have received it by mistake, please let us know by e-mail reply and delete it from your system; you may not copy this message or disclose its contents to anyone. Please send us by fax any message containing deadlines as incoming e-mails are not screened for response deadlines. The integrity and security of this message cannot be guaranteed on the Internet.



Richer, Steve
 

This happens to us a few times every week. Granted, we shoot around 250 cards every week, but I get notifications that after being shot some cards won’t mount in the backup device before being transmitted back to our HQ in New Jersey from NFL stadiums around the country. If our Data Wranglers can’t mount the cards, they’ll send the card back to the operator, have the op put the card back in the camera and play back the last few clips. That works about half the time. By the time the physical cards get couriered back, they usually can mount locally and we are able to retrieve the data.

Usually the culprits are Angelird. Something new with the latest Amira/ Alexa Mini FW is that the Angelbird cards will have a red INIT for a few seconds on the LCD screen before the camera will recognize the card, which is always a bit unsettling.

As far as I know, Angelbird are the only Arri certified CFast cards at this point. They used to certify SanDisk, but not anymore to my knowledge.

 

Steve

 

signature_1608295522

Steve Richer

Manager of Technical Operations,

Camera Department

NFL FILMS

E: steve.richer@...

 

 

_._,_._,_


Ole Andreas Grøntvedt FNF
 

Thanks guys!

I’ve heard this has happened to Lexar cards earlier.

We will send the card back to Angelbird in Switzerland. The card is only 2 months old and I’m the only one who have used them. The camera is also brand new, it had only 7 hours on a bench when I got it for my shoot. 

Thanks for the tip Art. Angelbird is Arri Approved, it’s even printed on the card.

I shoot ProRes 4444, 3,2K 25 fps. I believe only one slate was 2K 100 fps. Not the last clip though.

What a volume Steve. I think it’s very cool you use the Amira for NFL. How often do you think this happens to your cards?

I did try to put the card back in the camera, but the camera didn’t even notice. 
I will try the freezer trick if Angelbird can’t recover the material. Thanks for all the response.

Cheers!
Ole Andreas Grøntvedt FNF 


Art Adams
 

There is a trick for when the last clip isn’t playable because the camera lost power or the card was ejected too soon. Put it back in the camera and roll a new clip for about a second. The camera will “close out” the previous file (there’s some stuff that gets written at the end that’s missing if something bad happens while the clip is being written) and then that clip should play back perfectly.

_______________________________________________________
Art 
Adams
Cinema Lens Specialist
ARRI Inc.
3700 Vanowen Street
BurbankCA 91505
www.arri.com 

818-841-7070
x4212
 
aadams@...

Get all the latest information from www.arri.comFacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.






This message is confidential. It may also be privileged or otherwise protected by work product immunity or other legal rules. If you have received it by mistake, please let us know by e-mail reply and delete it from your system; you may not copy this message or disclose its contents to anyone. Please send us by fax any message containing deadlines as incoming e-mails are not screened for response deadlines. The integrity and security of this message cannot be guaranteed on the Internet.



Bob Kertesz
 

Difficult to say what fails, except that eventual failure will likely happen. Some problem in manufacturing, some problem with the chips used, some problem with alignment in the card socket/reader, some mechanical failure.

When I could get access to the cards before a job, I would usually run them through two complete erase/format/read cycles using something like hard Disk Sentinel and its Write+Read test. That destructive test will show not only large problems, but also sectors that have slower access times (an indication of problems to come). Use another test if the card has data on it you want to keep - there are tests that are thorough but non-destructive.

Cards that get though both passes without any issues are likely good for a while, but of course it's electronics, so failure can happen at any time.

The only absolute certainty is that the card will fail catastrophically when you finally get that clean in focus shot of Bigfoot hanging out in the mountains, BBQing with his Bigfoot family.


-Bob

Bob Kertesz
BlueScreen LLC
Hollywood, California

Mostly Retired Engineer, Video Controller, and Live Compositor Extraordinaire.

High quality images for almost five decades - whether you've wanted them or not.©

* * * * * * * * * *


On 12/14/2021 8:47:22 PM, Leonard Levy wrote:
On Tue, Dec 14, 2021 at 3:59 PM Bob Kertesz <bob@...> wrote:
Getting five years out of any memory card that gets used quite a bit is
very good life indeed. I've seen them fail after two.

What is it exactly that fails in a card and why? Is it just age? The number of writes?
What about say a 4+ year old card (or older)  that's hardly been used?

I've had a couple of original Sony XQD cards where the edge  cracked and a little piece of the plastic came off.
I just repaired them with "sugru" and they keep going. I guess they're as old as the FS7 so that's 7 years now (2014) .
Fair amount of use but far from everyday and hardly at all in 2020. 
Should I throw them away? 

Leonard Levy, DP
San Rafael, CA

_


John Tipton
 

Hey Bob K, 

So I can have my DIT or download tech run Hard Disk Sentinel on all my C-Fast media to check for potential issues at prep, for example? 




John Tipton
Cinematographer
213-268-4210
john@...
http://www.johntipton.com
IMDB: http://www.imdb.me/johntipton




Andy Jarosz
 

All flash memory has a limited number of write cycles. You can look up the datasheets of the particular chips used and they will tell you exact numbers, but it can be in the in the thousands to tens of thousands of writes.

Often onboard controllers will keep track of this, and will be able to report exact usage stats, with the appropriate diagnostic tools.

Of note is that reading does not contribute to these cycles, only writing (technically erasing.)

Andy Jarosz
LOLED Virtual
Andy@...

What is it exactly that fails in a card and why? Is it just age? The number of writes?
What about say a 4+ year old card (or older) that's hardly been used?


Bob Kertesz
 

Sure. But the comprehensive test may take a while to run on big capacity cards, so it might prove worthwhile to set up a couple of 'testing stations' to get through all the cards in a single prep day.

A couple of additional things:

-I have no vested interest in Hard Disk Sentinel except for an affinity with the developer, a fellow Hungarian. I bought the 5 license family pack inexpensively a while back, and it's good forever (it's not subscription based software).

-The software is Windows based, and I have no idea if Mac versions are available, although there are likely equivalent testing packages for Macs if not.

-If you're using an external reader for the cards, try to use USB 3 (or preferably Thunderbolt if available) to interface it to your computer. Otherwise, you'll be quite a while checking large capacity cards.

-If your DIT/downloader people are unfamiliar with the software, it puts up a screen of the surface map with a bunch of squares, and the squares turn green as sectors are tested. Any sectors that are slower to read/write than expected turn darker shades of green. The other tab on that screen labeled "Temperature and transfer speed" will give you a good idea of how the card is performing overall.

-It's really easy to use software.

-And finally, no software can reliably predict sudden and catastrophic failure. Please keep that in mind. But regular testing may bring some peace of mind and help weed out cards with issues.




-Bob

Bob Kertesz
BlueScreen LLC
Hollywood, California

Mostly Retired Engineer, Video Controller, and Live Compositor Extraordinaire.

High quality images for almost five decades - whether you've wanted them or not.©

* * * * * * * * * *


On 12/15/2021 1:19:33 PM, John Tipton wrote:
Hey Bob K, 

So I can have my DIT or download tech run Hard Disk Sentinel on all my C-Fast media to check for potential issues at prep, for example? 




John Tipton
Cinematographer
213-268-4210
john@...
http://www.johntipton.com
IMDB: http://www.imdb.me/johntipton


Emmanuel SUYS
 

Greetings,

 

When I am on a job I pass the cards from the rental house or provider through a test similar to Bob Kertesz’s Sentinal, but with a Sofware “DriveDX” from Binaryfruit.

Now and then a card does not pass the test or shows some possible forthcoming issues. This avoids from the beginning to take cards with a potential risk. DriveDX however only works if the memory has a SMART technology. Some my be familiar with SMART through their home server.  I keep the record from the test as a proof for production as well as it

 

Emmanuel SUYS
1st Asst Cinematography - 1st Asst Kinematografie - 1er Asst Photographie Cinématographique
*16-35-HD-HiSpeed-UW
*HiSpeed Operator
*Digital On Set Supervision
*European based
*Mobil +491734537858 *emmanuel at suys.de

 

kind of keeps my mind a rest. But as mentioned before this is not a 100% guarantee, that a failure will occur afterwards. So far been lucky and no issues.

 

My 2 eurocents,

Manny

 

 

 

 

From: <cml-raw-log-hdr@...> on behalf of John Tipton <john@...>

 

So I can have my DIT or download tech run Hard Disk Sentinel on all my C-Fast media to check for potential issues at prep, for example? 

 

_._,_._,_


Gavin Nugent
 

Ole  do remember is the card completely full

 

 

*****Gavin will remember in future to sign his posts with his full name, job/title, and location - as required by CML rules*****

Signed,
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