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A timecode in practice question

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Terence Morris
A timecode in practice question
on Dec 11, 2014 at 6:07:43 pm
Last Edited By Terence Morris on Dec 12, 2014 at 7:32:33 am

At the risk of inflicting tedium for you experts that may have been asked similar questions on multiple occasions (I did look but could not find my exact question):

I'm (finally) exploring the practical use of timecode - and if there is one for me. In summary, what I mainly do is docu-type video in the field / non-studio, one or two man with minimum kit. I have a handheld videocam (PXW-X70) and use various mics mostly untethered to the camera, into a Marantz PMD 661. FCPX is very good at syncing to anything the camera mic picks up in post, but obviously only if I'm near the subject.

MY question is, if I got something like a Sound Devices 722T, in order to sync the camera to the sound recorder clock, they would need to be tethered via BNC connecters (this where my practical knowledge gets a bit cloudy). But this would seem to defeat my purpose - continuous, untethered A/V synchronization..

I understand there is something called video-audio pre-syncing (jam-syncing?) in free run time code, which means they can then be untethered and clocks run independently, but wouldn't this mean that the video camera has to have its own time clock onboard?

So - bottom line - is time code of any use for my needs?

Thanks for any guidance in this!


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Ty Ford
Re: A timecode in practice question
on Dec 12, 2014 at 11:52:33 pm

Hello Terrence and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Yep, you've got it right! Yay!

You would jam one machine with time code from the other and hope that they would roll along separately. You re-jam periodically to make sure, but , as you say, both devices need to have timecode capability and/or a timecode in and/or out port.

I'd check with Sony or with the Cow Sony Forum, but below, it sounds like the camera does have time code.

The camcorder offers numerous connections to suit the broadcast workflow, including 3G HD-SDI, standard size HDMI connector, USB and composite output. Both TC and Rec Trigger signal can be sent through SDI and HDMI to link an external recording device.

* SDI / HDMI / Composite can not be used at the same time.


  • So you may be able to jam the Sound Devices 720T from the Sony.

    Regards,

    Ty Ford
    Cow Audio Forum Leader

    Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
    Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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    Terence Morris
    Re: A timecode in practice question
    on Dec 13, 2014 at 3:31:53 am

    Thank you Ty -your advice is always so reassuring! Yes, I will now look into the X70 capability in this respect. I knew it had TC connectivity, but wasn't sure if you could do the jam sync (sounds like a dance).

    -Terence


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    Ty Ford
    Re: A timecode in practice question
    on Dec 13, 2014 at 5:16:32 am

    Terence,

    Nice of you to say. :)

    I have seen people work without TC on camera and external recorder, using PluralEyes or FCP X.

    Ultimately, it depends on how close the clocks are on each device. There's also some data that suggests that the earlier FCP had a glitch (or user error) that changed the length of the imported audio, so the audio and video would not match.

    Usually, the longer the clips, the less reliable the sync becomes. Productions with shorter clips amy wander some, but may not be noticeable. I recorded with a Canon XL2 and Sony M10 and was only out a few frames at 54 minutes. But, again, that was with THAT XL2 and THAT M10. YMMV.

    I've found that the hard test is overlaying scratch audio and double recorded audio. In many cases you can't use both because, while the slippage is small (perhaps 1-3 frames) that causes audible and unpleasant phase cancellation to occur. Stick with the external source and there's no phase cancelation so you don't notice the slippage until the mouth and words are not happening at the same time.

    Regards,

    Ty Ford
    Cow Audio Forum Leader

    Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
    Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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    Terence Morris
    Re: A timecode in practice question
    on Dec 13, 2014 at 6:44:05 pm

    Thanks for the additional information, Ty. You guessed right that my next questions would be about TC syncing in FCPX. Things generally are a lot slicker now we are up to version 10.1.3, but let's see. One step at a time!

    -Terence


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    Eric Toline
    Re: A timecode in practice question
    on Dec 24, 2014 at 12:45:04 pm

    You could use a wireless system to feed audio to the camera from the 702t and use that camera track as your scratch sync track. It might be possible to feed the TC from the 702T to the camera if it has a dedicated TC in connection. A Sennheiser G3 wireless system would do the wireless link perfectly, figure about $600 for the G3.

    "I push the RECORD button and hope for the best"


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