I've been doing production sound for about a year and have never had the need to use a timecode slate until now. I don't really know how to use one and have been searching online for "how to" info and have found very little. This is the info i have so far, let me know if i'm missing something:
From what I gather, I need a Timecode slate, my 744t, and a lockit box for the cam. I sync the 744t with the lockit box, then connect it to the cam (a Red One) and leave the box on the cam, syncing again during lunch to avoid drift. Is this all their is to it? Is there anyway to avoid getting a lockit box from the cam and just doing with the slate and 744t?
Also, which is best to use as timecode? the time of day? start from zero? If anyone can give me more info or direct me to a site that has, i'd really appreciate it!
The 744t is the master clock. Everything gets jammed from it. Time of day is always good but be wary of going past midnight as there is no hour 13 and the slate will show hour 1 again.
Setting up the RED to accept external TC is a bit of a chore if you've never done it before. You can eliminate the lockit box and use a TC slate jammed from the 744t but you'll have to be certain every take gets slated just as if you were shooting film.
Be sure the frame rate on your recorder is set for 29.97 if they're shootin at 30fps and 23.97 if they're shooting at 24fps. As a guide for editing you can send a guide track to the RED at mic level via a wireless hop. Good luck.
careful there.... RED can actually record a true 24fps - I couldn't believe it myself so I phoned them and asked repeatedly and low and behold that is what they said - a true 24fps. I was astounded. Be specific. Post also plays an important role here to determine what the TC should be. Rule of thumb is:
23.97ND (HD FILM look) Video.................29.97ND or 23.97 ND
24ND frame/sec (film, ATSC, 2k, 4k, 6k)......30 ND or 24 ND
25 frame/sec (PAL)...........................25 ND
29.97ND (NTSC American System)...............29.97ND
So it really depends on where the project is heading and what Post wants!
And as far as the witching hour goes as long as you are not recording AT midnight 00:00:00:00 and if possible leave a little time (1 minute) so on either side so that the editor knows what the heck is going on, all should be fine...unless you are in your 24th hour on set...UGH!
Lastly RED time code is indeed ugly. When the camera has a RED minute or loses power the TC is reset or something like that. So Lockit boxes eliminate the need for you to be constantly re-jamming the RED with Time code.
And yes indeed always give nice clear slates for the poor editors...they need all the help that they can get.