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Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.

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Craig Seeman
Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.
on Jul 4, 2018 at 3:31:03 pm
Last Edited By Craig Seeman on Jul 4, 2018 at 3:31:29 pm

4th of July—How video tech would have varied if…
https://www.provideocoalition.com/4th-of-julyhow-video-tech-would-have-vari...

  • There would have never been any NTSC video system.
  • There would have never been a 60 field per second rate for the grayscale (“black and white”) television system.
  • The non-existent 60 field per second rate would have never had to change to ≈59.94 in 1953 for color (or colorized) TV.
  • The non-existent 30 frames per second would have never had to change to ≈29.97 in 1953 for color (or colorized) TV.
  • I would probably be writing that word as “colour”, and the other one as “greyscale”.
  • The only worldwide television field rate would have been 50, for both grayscale and color.
  • The worldwide television framerate would have been 25 for both greyscale and color.
  • Manufacturing of TV sets, monitors, time base correctors and recorders would have been greatly simplified.
  • There would have been no hue adjustments on TV sets or monitors.
  • There would be no ≈3.58 MHz subcarrier in production, only ≈4.43 MHz.
  • Those time base correctors that offered subcarrier feedback would have been ≈4.43 MHz only.
  • There would have been no need for drop frame timecode, and therefore, there would have been no need to call the only remaining one “non-drop” timecode. There would just be timecode, a single standard for television.
  • Color framing in direct-color VTRs would have been standardized (or “standardised”) to a single 8-field (4 frame) color frame sequence.
  • There would have been no segregated cameras. They would all be worldcams (See my 2015 article Why we should only use worldcams, illustrated above), and no one would appreciate them as being especially desirable, or call them that way.
  • Many of my articles would never have needed to be written, since they would have been non-existent topics, so I would have had more time to write about other ones.




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Bill Davis
Re: Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.
on Jul 4, 2018 at 4:55:28 pm

Is it just me - or does it seem like this is the opening salvo in yet another call for the US to (once and for all) switch to the metric system? 😉

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Bernard Newnham
Re: Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.
on Jul 4, 2018 at 5:32:17 pm

In the UK we use both. Long ago it was decided that we were going metric, starting with money, but we've never quite got there. Babies are pounds and ounces but bags of sugar are kilos. Petrol is in litres, but beer is in pints. . Distances are in miles, but lengths of wood tend to be bought in 2.4m, don't know why. Floor coverings are square metres.

We do tend to do the serious scientific stuff in metric, like pretty much everyone else, because it's easier.

Of course, all the basic tv standards are based on mains frequencies - 50Hz most places, 60Hz in the US. That's so old you can't really complain, it's just what someone did over a century ago.

Should the US go metric? Should we in the UK complete the process? Well, for us we just have to wait. My 24 year old son has never measured in imperial - though he does know distances in miles. He doesn't know most imperial units though. For you - well, it might be sensible that your science people forget feet and inches when working with satellites and stuff.

Not surprisingly we don't celebate the 4th July here, but lots of people are celebrating an England win against Colombia in the World Cup yesterday. Can they keep it up and repeat 1966? Probably not.

Ok - now I'm going to download the latest Da Vinci Resolve beta for Windows, none of that old stuff for me.

Bernie


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Oliver Peters
Re: Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.
on Jul 4, 2018 at 5:40:17 pm
Last Edited By Oliver Peters on Jul 4, 2018 at 5:40:29 pm

[Bernard Newnham] "Of course, all the basic tv standards are based on mains frequencies - 50Hz most places, 60Hz in the US. That's so old you can't really complain, it's just what someone did over a century ago"

Many have lamented that the industry didn't take the opportunity when HD came around to change the incremental rates (59.94, 29.97, 23.98) to whole values.

[Bernard Newnham] "we don't celebate the 4th July here, but lots of people are celebrating an England win against Colombia in the World Cup yesterday"

And an amazing win it was. Happy 4th and good luck! ☺

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Michael Gissing
Re: Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.
on Jul 4, 2018 at 11:21:31 pm

Whole careers have been based around the mess that is those fractional frame rates and the resultant timecode muddle. I know many in the USA are ignorant of the fact that most of the people in the world watch 25fps TV. In population terms it is probably around 90% looking at the distribution maps at Wikipedia. In economic terms non 25fps TV is significant as the north American and Japanese markets are sought after by content makers.

It really was a cascading cluster f**k when the 30 frame rate was shifted that inelegant .1%. An engineering short cut with dire consequences. Even though I have had to deal with those ugly frame rates and kludged timecode solutions from time to time I guess the burden of blame ultimately lies with the decision to alternate power at 60hz. I'm sure Tesla had a good reason to choose this but why did most of the rest of the world choose 50hz?

This of course has nothing to do with metric measures but given the typical off topic diversion, I read in a marvelous book once about the derivation of base 12 in counting that underpins time. 60 seconds, 2 x 12 = 24 hours in a day. Ultimately time and therefore all timecode is based on base 12 so there is logic in frame rates of 24 or 30. Base 12 it is believed came from a counting system in Mesopotamia. If you use whole fingers to count you can count to 10 using both hands. In a noisy marketplace however you were better off counting by using one hand to count to 12 by pointing your thumb at the 3 segments of your other four fingers. Bingo you can count to 12 using one hand. Then use the five fingers of the other hand to add multiples of 12. So with two hands and using the finger segments of one and the multiplier of the other we reach 60. So ultimately maybe it is the market places of ancient Mesopotamia that were the source of both timecode and NTSC frame rates until the engineering numskulls in the 50s decided to do that sloppy .1% shift and ruined it all.


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Bill Davis
Re: Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.
on Jul 5, 2018 at 8:00:53 pm

[Michael Gissing] "Base 12 it is believed came from a counting system in Mesopotamia."

Sorry I didn't see this yesterday. Firmly in the enjoyable holiday read category. Thanks for the post, Michael!

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Michael Gissing
Re: Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.
on Jul 6, 2018 at 12:38:38 am

[Bill Davis] "Firmly in the enjoyable holiday read category. "

It's from an obscure book I read 18 years ago called Time by Alexander Waugh. Fascinating history of how units of measure of time from basic counting to how we then quantified seconds, minutes, hours, days, years etc.

Gets a bit into esoterics of math & physics but a cracking detective story.


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Michael Gissing
Re: Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.
on Jul 4, 2018 at 11:33:52 pm

Reading the article, it concludes with a comment on the violence inherent in the US National Anthem. Have you seen the English translation of the French National Anthem? Verse 1 and refrain talk about invaders slitting throats and hoping the impure blood of the invaders will water the fields.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.
on Jul 5, 2018 at 2:00:04 am

[Michael Gissing] "Reading the article, it concludes with a comment on the violence inherent in the US National Anthem."

Violence is unfortunately in the histories of the birthing of many countries. It helps to understand the history of the grievances by the colonists that led up to the American Revolution. It's spelled out quite clearly in the Declaration of Independence, but few people ever get past the first paragraph. Likewise for the history of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Declaration_of_Independence

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star-Spangled_Banner

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Michael Gissing
Re: Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.
on Jul 5, 2018 at 5:02:22 am

Australia is actually rare in that it achieved independence from it's colonial 'overlord' without a bloody battle. Of course our history of frontier wars with the aboriginal population is another matter.

My point about the USA Anthem was that is wasn't nearly so violent in language used as the French is.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.
on Jul 5, 2018 at 12:20:46 pm

with all this talk of violence and revolution, does this mean that if Apple doesn't release a Mac Pro in 2019, we can storm their headquarters ? We can even hold Bill Davis hostage !

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.
on Jul 5, 2018 at 7:57:19 pm

[Bob Zelin] "We can even hold Bill Davis hostage !"

Just be prepared for the eventuality that if you take me hostage - Apple might demand you pay THEM to take me back...

; )

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Claude Lyneis
Re: Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.
on Jul 5, 2018 at 11:58:06 pm

As I remember the US went metric in the late 70's. Just didn't stick. In physics, we have been metric for a century or so. I think cars are almost completely metric at this point, except for the PSI of the tires, the mph on the speedometer. The Bolt reads out in miles/kiloWatt hr, that is not such a great unit, half metric and half English. Better than furlongs/fortnight. But I agree the NTSC issue is an irritation. I can think of some bigger issues facing the U.S at the moment though.


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Nick Meyers
Re: Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.
on Jul 8, 2018 at 1:34:32 pm

[Claude Lyneis] "that is not such a great unit, half metric and half English"

like film!
metric width (35mm, 16mm)
imperial length (16, 40 frames per ft)

how did that happen?!

(answering my own question: perhaps developed i Europe, industrialised in the UK/US?)



nick


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Oliver Peters
Re: Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.
on Jul 8, 2018 at 4:41:35 pm

Speaking of the Declaration itself, this is an interesting article about its preservation.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/a22025447/declaration-of-indepe...

- Oliver

Oliver Peters - oliverpeters.com


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Michael Phillips
Re: Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.
on Jul 10, 2018 at 2:39:48 pm

Also, the .1% slow down was not so much a shortcut than a solution allowing existing television owners to not have to buy new ones in an age where a new TV was very expensive. In 1954 the average color TV cost $1,000 and the average salary was $3,200.

Average salary today is ~$52,000 (minimum wage earners at $15,000) and the average worldwide TV cost for 4K is still about the same ($1,162).

Color TV did not outsell B&W TV's till the mid-70's.


Michael


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Michael Gissing
Re: Today we celebrate Drop Frame Timecode in the U.S.A.
on Jul 11, 2018 at 12:10:33 am

[Michael Phillips] "Also, the .1% slow down was not so much a shortcut than a solution...."

In the PAL world they engineered colour properly so there was no need to do the NTSC shortcut. Old B&W TVs still worked when PAL went colour (spelling intentional). And it was really a shortcut. If they had thought through the ramifications of altering the real time relationship the ongoing issues we all suffered of dual timecode formats and sync drift could have been avoided.

My father designed microwave links including broadcast TV links in the 60s and 70s. I'll take his word that it was a shortcut solution and poor engineering decision.


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