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Lost Video Files on Faulty SD Card Recovered by Manufacturer

Lost Video Files on Faulty SD Card Recovered by Manufacturer

When a close friend wrote me that his Angelbird SD card got unreadable/inaccessible right after filming with his FUJIFILM X-T4 camera, I was very curious to see what will happen as he approached the company, and asked them for their support to restore it. Are you also interested in knowing what happened next? Read on!

Firstly, and for complete transparency, this post is NOT a sponsored post in any way. We were simply very happy with the services provided by Angelbird and felt the need to share our experience with others. Now that this is out of the way, let’s proceed…

Ram Lee-Tal is a respected cameraman with whom I worked as an assistant during the early days of my TV career. In fact, besides learning some advanced camera work and lighting techniques from him, his personality on set was the thing that captured my attention mostly. Ram was always dedicated to his profession, calm, and respectful to others. Time will tell if I was a good student and managed to learn this craft from him, but for now, here is a real-life story.

Ram Lee-Tal, a happy customer
Ram Lee-Tal and his FUJIFILM X-T4 camera

Which camera should I buy?

Like many others, Ram asked me for advice just before purchasing his first mirrorless camera, and I, without even thinking twice recommended him to go with the FUJIFILM X-T4. To my opinion, there is currently no other compact camera system in the market that performs so well at such a competitive price. Ram listened carefully, asked the right questions, and moved on with his research, just to come back to me and say, “I bought it”. That all happened about a year ago and since then Ram deployed his camera in a few successful projects.

“I can’t view my footage!”

Then, about three weeks ago I get a call from Ram where he excitedly shared his latest “adventure” with me. Apparently, during filming the camera with his newly purchased Angelbild V60 SD card stopped recording, and even more terrifying: he lost access to it and nothing was working, via the camera nor computer.

Angelbird's damaged SD card
The Restoration laboratory diagnostic: “Physically damaged beyond repair.”… Really?

After assessing the situation, the first thing Ram did was send the faulty SD card to a local “media restoration laboratory“, one that describes itself as “the best in its field”. A few days later he received the diagnostic: “The card was physically damaged beyond repair, and the inner file structure is specialized for the card manufacturer itself, so there is nothing else we can do in order to restore and save it”.

“What did you do to the card, that it is physically damaged beyond recognition?”, I asked Ram. “Nothing at all!”, Ram said and sent me a photo of the “physically damaged” card. OK, life is too short to waste time on dealing with such a laboratory so next, Ram rushed to contact Angelbird directly with a hinted small request from me, asking to “help” him with the process. “Not a good idea.”, I answered and suggested to see where this will take us if he moves to deal with Angelbird directly as I was truly curious to see what a small yet very focused storage media manufacturing company from Austria can bring to the table – especially as the competition in this area is beyond fierce. This is also the right moment to mention, that like many other companies from our industry, we know the owner and some of the employees at Angelbird, yet we hadn’t interfered with Ram’s mission to contact customer service.

Angelbird' reply e-mail
Angelbird’ reply e-mail to Ram: How to make a person happy in 10 seconds

Customer Service – can’t beat that

I was very relieved to learn that Angelbird was VERY fast in responding to Ram’s e-mail in which he described his problem with their SD card. Their suggestion was to send it to them for inspection, without any guarantee of actually saving the recorded video files (understandably).

A day later, and the SD card was sent to Austria where it was checked by Angelbird upon its arrival. Very shortly after Ram got a message saying that the material has been saved and will be sent back to him on a new V60 SD card. Needless to say, Angelbird offered to keep a backup of the footage up until Ram gets his card back.

SD Card diagnostic
SD Card diagnostic

SD Card diagnostic

As you can see from the e-mail report above, the SD card was locked internally on a firmware level. (Probably to protect itself before becoming fully corrupted). I’m far from being an engineer and understanding how these SD storage devices actually work but learned that while looking similar from the outside, internally, they are far from being identical.

Final words

We are all customers and love it when arising issues caused by our purchases are being treated respectfully by the manufacturer company. This is a great example of how things should be dealt with, and at the end of the day, what did it cost Angelbird to earn Ram’s heart? Not much when comparing it to his future earned customer loyalty. Now I can only hope that GoPro is watching and learning

Be it good or bad, please share with us your own customer service experience stories after dealing with companies from our industry!

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