On a part of a documentary we are shooting we recored sound independent of the camera using a DAT recorder. My understanding is that one of the sound tracks on the camera original has a time code reference and that this is how we sync the picture to the sound. My problem is that we have not done this before and nonone on our payroll has done this before. The time code is "free running". Can anyone out there offer me some advice? Many thanks.
Timecode is usually not recorded on an audio track of the camera master, although, it can be done that way. Most cameras or decks have a separate timecode track. When you capture the video (and audio) the timecode is also captured. The trick is to make sure that the same timecode is recorded on your DAT. That way, when you capture the audio from the DAT it's in sync with the video.
If you didn't record timecode on the DAT that was synced to the timecode on the camera, you've got a big job ahead. Did you use a timecode slate or sticks at the head of each scene? If not, hopefully you had a camera mic open. That way you can put the camera audio on one channel of your edit timeline and the DAT audio on another and then slip the DAT audio until it's in sync with the camera audio. You may still have to slip the track a frame or two, one way or the other, to achieve lipsync depending on whether there was any appreciable delay between the camera mic and your boom(?) mic. Hopefully, once in sync, the audio will remain that way for as long as you rolled tape on a given scene. If the audio falls out of sync, trim it and pull it back into sync. Good luck.