I’ve Misplaced Lost Footage… What Do I Do?

When you realize your footage isn’t where you thought it was, it can be devastating. Even the most seasoned professionals have experienced this issue once or twice – we’re all human. All the time, money, and energy that went into producing high-quality footage is now lost, but take a deep breath. There’s always a way to recover from losing footage.

How you’ll solve the problem of lost footage will depend on the subject of the footage and who is at fault for the loss.

Who Lost It?

If you were working with a video production partner who is at fault for the lost footage, then there is a certain etiquette the partner should follow. Generally, the video production partner should attempt to recover the footage or provide alternatives. Hopefully, you’ve read the contract you’ve signed to ensure it has a policy about lost or damaged footage. Remember to stay calm and approach the problem as a team, as this will provide the best chance for a high-quality finished product.

If you were shooting your video in-house, then you’ll need to retrace your steps and pinpoint the source of the problem. Did you overwrite the footage? Did you lose or damage the SD card? Did you think you lost the footage, but instead, you accidentally sent it to a different folder on your computer when storing your videos?

Losing footage doesn’t always mean it’s lost permanently, so make sure you do everything you can to recover it before you move on. 


In the case that your footage is certainly gone, you’ll need to assess how important that footage was to the overall project. If you lost a large portion of your video footage, or the lost footage had a key scene or cast member, you might need to consider a reshoot.

Reshoots can be inconvenient and expensive. Originally, it might have been difficult to schedule film day so that all the cast members could attend at the right location and time. Trying to schedule again could cause serious production delays, but if it’s unavoidable, do your best to only reshoot the necessary footage.

Unfortunately, reshoots are only possible with certain types of videos. For example, lost footage from an event will be unrepeatable. Instead, you might need to supplement with other types of footage and effects, or in extreme circumstances, abandon the project.

Use B-Roll Or Evergreen Content

If you’re not going to reshoot, then you might be able to skip the lost scene altogether. Less important footage won’t necessarily be missed by the viewer, and you could try to replace it with other footage. Planning ahead of time to film more b-roll and interview footage than you’ll need is a great way to lessen the sting of these mistakes. You might also be able to use evergreen footage in your archive from past projects if the footage is relevant.

Learn From Your Mistakes

Reshooting and replacing footage is not the best-case scenario, but these solutions still achieve a polished finished product that engages your audience. Done with skill, your creative solutions will leave the audience completely unaware that any footage is missing. Lesson learned: you’ll shoot more footage than you need in the future and take better care of your footage when transporting, storing, and editing. 

If you need more help with recovering from lost footage, contact Monzo Media Productions.

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