Video recording with a Canon Powershot and recovering lost images

Yesterday, I used my Canon PowerShot SX700 HS to record videos. I doubt that this model is still available. I actually bought it seven years ago, and it’s still working great. Because it is such a work-horse, I highly recommend Canon PowerShot cameras and would buy one again.

Although mine is an older model, it’s likely that the newer ones offer similar settings, so I hope you find something useful in this article.

Yesterday, I also tested out free data recovery apps, after I accidentally reformatted my SD card after shooting. At the end of the article, I’ll share my experience with recovering lost files.

Video recording with the PowerShot

Video settings

To adjust the video settings, I turned the dial to Video Mode (the movie camera icon) and hit FUNC SET on the back of the camera.

The settings I used were: 

  • My Colors – off
  • White Balance – auto
  • Movie Mode – standard
  • Recording pixels – (M2) 3M 2048×1536
  • Movie Quality — 1920×1080 60 fps

At first, I tried to set the Recording Pixels to the highest settings (L 16M 4608×3456). However, I found the camera couldn’t handle this setting, even though it was available. When set to such a high quality, the camera devoured batteries. Each battery provided only 10-15 minutes of recording time.

I also tried the Super Slow Motion setting, but the resulting image was blurry. It didn’t seem very useful.

You don’t have to record in Movie Mode.

For taking still photos – and now for video recording – my favorite setting is LIVE. When photographing in LIVE, what you see is what you get. If the lighting is beautiful, that’s what will be captured. If it’s overcast, the image will also reflect that.

That being said, I usually adjust the exposure by pressing the FUNC SET button, which brings up a menu with Dark/Light, Neutral/Vivid, and Cool/Warm settings. All are set to medium, but I usually take the Dark/Light setting down one notch. Unless the light is quite dim, the medium setting produces an image that is too bright and, as a result, some of the image information is lost.

Reducing the Dark/Light setting results in slightly darker images, but at least the image information is captured. I then adjust the exposure using photo-editing software.

Move your body

It’s best to move the camera using your body; not your hands. In other words, lock the camera against your body with both hands, giving it three points of contact.

I found I had a steady, eye-level picture when I snugged my Camera against my throat and then locked my hands against the sides of the camera. To change angles, I turned or bent my body. Filming in this way resulted in video clips that moved smoothly.

Ask yourself questions

While recording, I did better when I asked myself these questions :

  • What is special about this scene? In other words, what is drawing your attention or amazing you?
  • How can you add motion? Note that the motion can be slight. Not everything needs to be over the top.
  • In which direction should I move?
  • Is it worth recording? Remember , all of this footage will have to be reviewed at home. Save editing time by selecting subjects carefully. Also, shooting selectively conserves battery life, and battery life is precious.

Let’s say that again…

Battery life is precious

With the settings I used today, three batteries gave me three hours of intermittent shooting.

It’s impossible to shoot non-stop, since video recording is hard work for the camera. As it records, the camera and battery literally heat up. When the camera becomes too hot, it signals Low Battery and, if it isn’t rested and cooled soon, it will make the decision for you and shut down. The hotter the camera gets, the longer it takes to recuperate. [Later I found that this problem is largely resolved by replacing the batteries. I’d used the same rechargeable batteries for years. New, off-brand batteries gave me three times the previous recording time. The camera didn’t heat up as much and it simply turned off when the battery was consumed. So I’m tossing the old batteries and replacing them with new ones.]

Recovering lost files on an SD card

While I experimented with video recording, I played with various settings and, oops! At the end of the day, I accidentally reformatted the disk. Instantly, all files were lost!

At home, I downloaded several “free” recovery apps to my PC – and soon discovered none were free and all were expensive (generally in the $80 range). The apps I tried included Recoverit by Wondershare, EaseUS, Stellar, and Disk Drill.

All of these apps analyzed the contents of the SD card for free.

It took a long time for the apps to analyze my older SD card, which I’ve used for several years. When the identified files were finally listed, I was prompted to pay for an expensive subscription prior to recovery.

From the listing of files, it was immediately apparent that the video clips were still missing and unrecoverable. The only recoverable images were jpeg stills.

Disk Drill was the only app that allowed me to recover anything for free – a small number of jpegs.  However, not all of these were usable. Some were collage images combining all pictures recorded on that disk-spot over the lifetime of the card. So to recover files effectively, you have to work with relatively new SD cards.

My thoughts about a data recovery subscription? If, for some reason, you are constantly losing files, it might be worth it. Or, if you are a professional photographer doing weddings and such, a recovery app might be a good insurance policy (Remember to use a newer card for each job, though.). But if data loss is a rare event, it’s less expensive and time-consuming to just suck up the loss and move on.

I hope some of this information has been helpful for those who, like me, are new to videography. If you have any tips, please feel free to share them in the comments below.

Published by cafsamsel

Carol Fullerton-Samsel is a nearly-native Floridian who lives with her husband of 25 years and three rescue animals. She is a [mostly] vegan, alcohol-free, [relatively] caffeine-free, Buddhist writer and day-hiker. Her novel, The Clones of Langston, was a Reader’s Favorite medalist and a New Century Writer Awards finalist. It tells the story of cloned workers who are abandoned to form their own society. As the facility housing them erodes, they discover a challenging new world—our own.

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