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Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?

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Simon Ubsdell
Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 8:04:22 pm

... until such times as FCP X reaches feature parity wth AVID, or at the very least with FCP 7 which it supplanted.

My list is quite long and I won't rehearse it all yet again, but here's a key feature that's still missing that you'd want and expect from a top professional NLE, namely ...

Multiple simultaneous timecode displays.

Let's wait and see that (for instance) implemented before we start crowing too loudly just yet.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo-uk.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 8:22:35 pm
Last Edited By Bill Davis on Mar 18, 2016 at 8:23:25 pm

Sigh.

I had this debate with my friend Ben King of the BBC.

While fully acknowledging that traditional construct of facility time code remains completely mission critical for many - I question for how long.

The earth is ringed with satellites that keep insanely precise time. Every one of us likely has devices that can tap into that. Cel phones, watches, heck, a GoPro with a wi-fi back can get a time hack and keep FAR better than 30fps accuracy over weeks. So what does timecode really provide in the modern era that couldn't be supplanted over time with video systems moving to GPS based clock time with local offsets applied?

I was working with Phil Hodgetts and Greg Smith at NAB last year on a production demo and what almost screwed things up wasn't timecode - the BlackMagit cameras and switchers all had that in spades. It was that nobody had taken the time to set the real time clocks!

Traditional "start at zero'" completely internal TC is isolated to a small group.

Time of day is global.

My 2 cents.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Mike Warmels
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 8:26:48 pm

Well, I'd like it. Especially in working with synchronised media.

My client did a lot of synchronisation work using Synch'n'Link. But... in some cases the audio is not in synch. There's no clear cause to be found why some clips are out of synch. But... I would like to see what the situation is. Is the timecode wrong? (so I can tell my sound recordist that his time code lock is off sometimes?) Has Synch'n'Link made a mistake and if so is it consistent?

It's one of the many cases I can think of that time code is suddenly still very important, even though FCPX makes it appear it's not.


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Marcus Moore
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 20, 2016 at 2:13:10 pm

SnL syncs purely by matching TC- so my first thought would be timecode drift between the camera and the recorder.


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Mike Warmels
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 20, 2016 at 2:29:52 pm

Yes, there was. But it would be nice to be able to see that immediately. Now you first have to go into the synched clip and check the TC of both the video and audio separately. A multiple TC window would give me that info at one glance.


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Marcus Moore
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 20, 2016 at 3:25:31 pm

In he scenario I'm imagining (we actually had this happen a few days on our show with a bad cable) you wouldn't see the TC descrepancy in the windows, because SnL has actually matched them correctly. Because of sync loss on set, you have to do manual offsets to the clips after creating the Sync Clips, the offset getting wider the longer the drift was undiscovered.


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Mike Warmels
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 20, 2016 at 3:36:57 pm

Yes, that's bad stuff. It's in cases like this the multiple timecode windows are invaluable. You can spot something's wrong immediately and also where the problems are.

Not synch with identical timecodes: that means trouble in the in timecode registration! Which makes you check immediately if it gets worse. In fact, you can even spot that immediately. I think I'll post another feature request.


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 8:33:32 pm

[Bill Davis] "Sigh. "

Perhaps we can conclude that if you don't understand the need for this feature, then the chances are that your personal editing requirements tend toward the modest.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo-uk.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 8:46:56 pm

Perhaps. But then again my training was partly in network affiliate televation stations where time code, in all its variants - drop and non drop, house clock, user bits, etc was something that the engineering teams were pretty serious about. So perhaps it's not so much my misunderstanding the nature of time code, but believing that it's place in the industry might be changing with good reason?
After all, we have personal computers now. It's not a very big math lift to take UTC and parse it into 29.97 to get a video frame cadence right. My watch can do it, after all. FWIW

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 10:02:43 pm

OK, Bill, pretend it's not timecode for a second. Pretend that every clip started at 0.

Now let's say you get a folder full of color corrected renders, or perhaps it's one huge color corrected movie, and since FCPX has no relinking function that we have moaned about here, we want to match shots back by hand. A good way to do this is by relative time.

If you edit a :30 promo from a 1.5 hour movie, you've only used a small percentage of the total 1.5 hurt movie. And when you receive the 'final' version of the 1.5 hour movie and you need to replace your old shots with this new version, you need to see the time count (don't call it timecode, because it's not important) of BOTH movies at the same time to make sure things are lined up.

Now, lets' say that the second 'final' movie you got isn't the exact same as the fist movie you recevied and you need to calculate the offset amount and different points in this movie. It would be much easier to do this if you could see the current time count of BOTH movies at the same time, rather than trying to clip ski which is very inaccurate when you are doing exacting work that requires being accurate to the frame.

So call it whatever you want, but seeing the relative time of EACH clip, including audio, would be very useful to a great number of people.


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Bill Davis
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 4:50:11 am
Last Edited By Bill Davis on Mar 19, 2016 at 5:22:25 am

Jeremy,

I have trouble buying into this traditional logic for two reasons. First, it's been obvious fir the history of "professional time ode" that its always been a massive (if very convenient) kludge. It was originally developed to follow AC line frequency - which is why it's such a terrible "standard". One cadence in the US, a different one in Europe? One For NTSC, not necessarily aligned to PAL or SECAM? And after color was further kludged on, they had to do fractional math to get it technically straight. 23.98 frames per second WTF?

Now we don't have to depend on a dozen different flavors of AC. You can work in DC all day long. Yes we still map it to TC standards for convenience - I'm just asking why? Is it because it's the best way to divide frames? Why? I deliver all the time in 24 for the web. Then map the same file to 29.97 for broadcast. The file nor the computer care.

24fps made scientific sense for persistence of vision. What's the modern reason to keep the time code fetish that isn't about entropy? I'm honestly asking. And who's should win? US NTSC? Japan NTSC? PAL? SECAM? Which variant? Yes it's important for broadcast. But what if in 15 years broadcast is WAY smaller a market than web files? Must we keep the old 1/30th drummer employed when the majority is dancing to a different cadence? And for how long? BTW, I don't want to take it away from anybody. I just want to challenge the conventional wisdom that if you X the lack of REAL TC in X is all that big an issue. It smacks of the hue and cry that the Magnetic timeline was for noobs. And we all know how that turned out.

I'm just suggesting that hiring a new drummer that understands a simple reality - that time is a global agreed to constant that is accessible to all. AND it can serve everyone who needs to stick to 30fps right now. (Because neither X nor AVID nor Premiere Oro lacks the math chops to do so.

You guys just want it to hang onto what you're used to as long as possible - and I don't have a problem with that at ALL. I just also want to believe that there might be advantages to a simpler system going forward. Perhaps one where I don't have to give chunks of money to Horita and SMPTE to maintain an alternate way to slice time IF that's not what helps me do my job.

It used to for sure. But lately, less so.

And I don't miss it when I can get usable 4K iPhone or drone footage as an option - and Apple thankfully doesn't require me to mess with time code in order to easily integrate it.

That's all.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 7:37:27 am

[Bill Davis] " So what does timecode really provide in the modern era that couldn't be supplanted over time with video systems moving to GPS based clock time with local offsets applied? "

So your suggestion is basically to make everything Time of Day TC and using GPS as the 'master clock' that everything syncs to? What do you do when you can't get/maintain a reliable GPS signal?


[Bill Davis] "Now we don't have to depend on a dozen different flavors of AC. You can work in DC all day long. Yes we still map it to TC standards for convenience - I'm just asking why?"

I thought you'd get light flicker/roll if you shot 60Hz in a 50Hz country and vice versa.


[Bill Davis] "24fps made scientific sense for persistence of vision."

24fps made sense because film was expensive, studios were cheap and 24fps was the slowest they could get away with. For a host of technical and aesthetic reasons I hope you aren't suggesting that all cameras shoot at just 24fps.


[Bill Davis] "Yes it's important for broadcast. But what if in 15 years broadcast is WAY smaller a market than web files?"

So X shouldn't get a useful feature today because it might be a slightly less useful feature in 15yrs?


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Tim Wilson
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 9:51:33 am
Last Edited By Tim Wilson on Mar 19, 2016 at 9:58:34 am

[Andrew Kimery] "24fps made sense because film was expensive, studios were cheap and 24fps was the slowest they could get away with. For a host of technical and aesthetic reasons I hope you aren't suggesting that all cameras shoot at just 24fps."

Yes, the persistence of vision, or any thought that any filmmaker originally found 24fps aesthetically pleasing is off base.

One may have subsequently fallen in love with 24fps in the intervening 75 years, but Thomas Edison for one was adamant that 46fps was the right number. He couldn't get a studio to pay for it, but there was nothing sacred about 24. On the contrary, that choice was made for explicitly anti-artistic reasons, and was simply the most that early filmmakers could extract consent for.

Again acknowledging that subsequent generations may have found it appealing, I hate it with film. The name "flicks" was applied to movies because of, yes, the flickering. I'm doing better with digital, but I found film projected at 24fps to be as physically nauseating as some people find 3D.

iPhones and the GoPro Hero 3 certainly don't feel wedded to 24fps. GoPro goes up to 120fps at 720, and iPhone can do 120fps at 1080, and 240fps at 720. HEVC (High Efficiency Video Encoding) already supports 300 fps at up to 8K, and first showed it at NAB 2013.

This may seem trivial or peripheral, but as it's now my turn to tease an upcoming story. We've got a workflow story in the research stages for a Big Four US network that uses 22 different kinds of cameras per episode. Not 22 cameras. 22 KINDS of cameras, with more than one of quite a few of them, and they don't all shoot the same frame rate, and all audio is second source, no scratch audio for sync, so no PluralEyes. Timecode is a MAJOR issue.

That may sound hideously primitive, but your opinion or mine about the suitability of their workflow to modern production is irrelevant to THEM. What they use now works. What you propose wouldn't.

I know that your feeling is that well, god bless 'em, nobody's making them use FCPX, but the point is that virtually every regular poster here DOES use X on a regular basis, and they DO have similar needs, and they'd like Apple to meet those needs, since indeed, Apple once did.

And it's also not like anyone is insisting that Apple do it the same way they used to. The whole thread on roles-based mixing underscores the extent to which the most frequent posters here HAVE embraced Apple's new paradigms. Their goal is simply for Apple to cover the bases that are demonstrably still at the core of workflows for vast swaths of the professional production landscape who'd rather be using X than not.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 4:05:17 pm

[Tim Wilson] "I'm doing better with digital, but I found film projected at 24fps to be as physically nauseating as some people find 3D."

Interesting. Projected film in a theater is usually projected at 48Hz (each film frame is flashed twice to help reduce flicker) but I've read that digital project is usually done at 72Hz (each frame is flashed three times) so I wonder if that increased refresh rate is what makes it easier on your eyes? Maybe the lack of gate weave in digital has something to do with it as well?


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Bill Davis
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 11:43:11 pm

Andrew,

Are you saying that modern timepieces lose accuracy if they aren't hooked up to a reliable constant timing source? That's not my experience at all. Drift seems to be down to very low effects at the device level. . Perhaps on location in the middle of nowhere. But even there, there are satellite radios and other mobile GPS readers that can grab a reset signal from a satellite, so I'm just not worried about it.

I leave my GoPros on a shelf for weeks, and when I go back to them - I don't really have an issue with their clocks.

[Andrew Kimery] "I thought you'd get light flicker/roll if you shot 60Hz in a 50Hz country and vice versa.
"


Has nothing to do with frame identification for editing. If the clock time is right to GPS standards, Math can convert it into whatever division you're working with. It's pretty basic.

[Andrew Kimery] "I hope you aren't suggesting that all cameras shoot at just 24fps.
"


Nope. Exactly the opposite. You do your timing based on a universal time hack - then let the computer convert it to whatever frame rate you want. It doesn't restrict your ability to work with non-standard frame rates, it should enhance it.

[Andrew Kimery] "So X shouldn't get a useful feature today because it might be a slightly less useful feature in 15yrs?
"


Now you're just being silly. The current tech provides that for the people who need it. What I question is whether just because it was useful 15 years ago. And simply LESS useful today because the systems are changing and cameras have superb on-board timekeeping that's cheap and widely available - that everyone HAS to keep thinking that timecode needs to continue to be dealt with like it was in 1979.

That doesn't seem reasonable to me. But for some, it seems to be where they want to freeze things. Basically that Pro Time Code is DONE. The best we'll ever have. Even if the fact that you shoot 4 cameras all set to 1:00:00:00 and have to futz with fixing that. If the industry is allowed to migrate to more robust GPS global time, there WILL need to be a dedicated device and/or time zone ID included or the whole system won't work.

I'm ready to start moving toward that. Camera time management for the global, connected era.
Not just digital versions of the blips we wrote to audio tracks on our TAPES in 1979.

Cant we do any better than that?

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 11:47:46 pm

[Bill Davis] "Are you saying that modern timepieces lose accuracy if they aren't hooked up to a reliable constant timing source? That's not my experience at all."

I don't know, Bill. I see no clocks in typical appliances and modern automobiles that run accurately. If you start two cameras in sync (using TC) at the beginning of the day, they will be significantly out of sync by the end of the day if you don't resync them periodically.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Tim Wilson
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 20, 2016 at 12:05:06 am
Last Edited By Tim Wilson on Mar 20, 2016 at 12:18:51 am

[Oliver Peters] "I see no clocks in typical appliances and modern automobiles that run accurately. "

Right, because they're not constantly polling the network. They only check in periodically. For example, in my computer, it's once every 22 hours.

I don't see any evidence that my car ever checks the network, even though many, many pf my car's systems are connected to networks (GPS, mfr-installed satellite internet for built-in internal wifi, and mfr-installed satellite radio among them).

In the interim, they use internal clocks, which may or may not be consistent.

I can only guess at how often cameras ask networks what time itis, but even if you manually reset the time of day every time you set white balance, who the hell white balances anymore? LOL Kidding aside, unless the source is continuously calibrated, audio drift is quite likely, and quite well documented.

Audio drift is notorious even on timecoded sources that aren't connected to house sync. Pluraleyes has a whole set of features just to address this single aspect of reality.

At the risk of invoking the tired "Apple doesn't develop feature sets with professional workflows in mind" trope, the fact is that all of these issues were addressed a long time ago, with rock solid, well-developed feature sets.

Tossing out the careful management of timecoded sources because you want a more flexible way of editing them is the very definition of throwing out the baby with the bathwater.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 12:46:36 pm

[Bill Davis] "I have trouble buying into this traditional logic for two reasons. First, it's been obvious fir the history of "professional time ode" that its always been a massive (if very convenient) kludge. "

Bill, your whole premise is incorrect. You're talking about TimeCode being a kludge is based on using TC as a means of counting real-time against a clock. Despite all the variations, 1 TC frame still equals 1 whole film or video frame or image in a sequence. Nothing kludgey or fractional about that. Therefore, as a means of counting consecutive frames in some accurate manner, there is no kludge. Plus, it's a method that's understandable to any human or machine in a very simple fashion. It's no different than if you counted in a binary fashion versus base 10.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 1:49:17 pm

I think we are having two separate conversations, Bill.

What Simon is saying, and what I and others agree with, is that fcpx should display multiple time code per each clip instead of having one timecode display for multiple sources. This would make certain matching and frame accurate replacements a lot easier as you could see multiple time stamps at once, instead of one at at time, or be able to check for sync on multiple sources at once.

I imagine that you've never needed to replace your current footage on your timeline with a new version, be it that version is now color corrected, visual effected, or otherwise? Well, imagine if you did, and since fcpx has no reconnect function to allow a force reconnect to other media, frame to frame matching by tc is the next logical way to do this and it's a huge PIA with fcpx.

I use Pr or Resolve to do conforms and I wish I didn't have to.

We aren't taking about tc as an "antiquated" technology. Timecode, at its basic level, is just metadata. Fcpx does a decent job with metadata, but in this particular case, having multiple metadata displays of a certain parameter, fcpx fails.

I don't feel like 'us guys are hanging on' to something unnecessary here, I'm simply asking for something that would help make my job easier within fcpx.


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Bill Davis
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 20, 2016 at 9:10:13 pm
Last Edited By Bill Davis on Mar 20, 2016 at 11:52:37 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "So call it whatever you want, but seeing the relative time of EACH clip, including audio, would be very useful to a great number of people."

I'm not arguing any different.

I just think a system where ALL the cameras are locked to universal time of day - to the tiniest fraction of a subframe no matter what timekeeper your workflow prefers - has the potential to allow all that and more.

What it takes is a consensus that the old system (which nobody's arguing was a bad thing at ALL) might give way to something better.

I think ALL the cameras - no matter where they are geographically located (time zones, etc) and no matter HOW the camera operators set them (rec run, free run, or just building in a simple wi-fi or satellite reader to perfect the already existing CLOCK TIME in most cameras)) would be a great advantage.

Then whether you wanted to use traditional disconnected timecode OR more universal UTC - you'd be OK..

That's all.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 21, 2016 at 3:34:44 pm
Last Edited By Jeremy Garchow on Mar 21, 2016 at 3:44:41 pm

[Bill Davis] "I just think a system where ALL the cameras are locked to universal time of day - to the tiniest fraction of a subframe no matter what timekeeper your workflow prefers - has the potential to allow all that and more.

What it takes is a consensus that the old system (which nobody's arguing was a bad thing at ALL) might give way to something better. "


But why are you assuming all the source material is camera based?

If I edit a promo from an existing trailer, or cut down, or rough cut of a movie, that is making an edit from an edit. And when the master edit changes, or is returned to me with slight differences, what good is a GPS clock going to do me?


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Bill Davis
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 21, 2016 at 11:15:34 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "And when the master edit changes, or is returned to me with slight differences, what good is a GPS clock going to do me?"

Presuming the GPS time signal is embedded into the footage in exactly the same way 00:00:00:00 based timecode is today - it's going to do you precisely the same good that VITC and tape track based timecode did back in the day. There's literally NO functional difference if the camera manufacturers support it. Again, most already do. They just give you the OPTION to run time of day instead of isolated Timecode. Most of us pass it over, because for so long cameras were disconnected devices - and there was too much instability and drift. So you HAD to take a house time hack or Gunlock to a master clock to do stuff like Multiple camera shooting. But today that's changed. If they can put a chip in a cel phone that keeps super accurate time - updated when there's web access - then it's got to be reasonably simple for a camera manufacturer to do the same.

So you lose nothing and gain a lot.

IF we can overcome the inertia of "that's how TC works and always has - so don't mess with it."

Which seems to be a popular position in certain circles around here. That's all. .

; )

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 21, 2016 at 11:51:41 pm

[Bill Davis] "Presuming the GPS time signal is embedded into the footage in exactly the same way 00:00:00:00 based timecode is today"

Except that GPS is not human readable unless you mean only the clock signal. Then there is no correlation to frames - only fractions of seconds. Plus this requires a camera with cell or wifi capability to sync to the network or accurate GPS reception. Not an option in many locations. Great for the military, not so great for the average videographer.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Tim Wilson
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 12:12:37 am
Last Edited By Tim Wilson on Mar 22, 2016 at 12:16:09 am

[Oliver Peters] "Except that GPS is not human readable unless you mean only the clock signal. Then there is no correlation to frames - only fractions of seconds."

And for Jeremy's example, it assumes that the GPS-based "faux" timecode-substitute is preserved through rendering. You're not dealing directly with sources. It's going to take some work for manufacturers to recognize GPS as metadata that needs to be preserved, OR to create NEW renders that ALSO include GPS data.

I don't know about you, but my computer isn't tied to GPS in any way I'm aware of....and unless the GPS in my computer that I don't know about is polling on a MUCH more frequent basis than my computer's clock is polling the atomic servers, there's still no way to account for drift.

(AFAIK, the location-based services in my computer are tied to my IP address, and you only need to look at where various websites think you're logged in to see how very nearly useless this is.)

Talk about a kludge!!! Timecode works not because it's archaic, but because it WORKS. EVERYONE knows how to deal with, because it WORKS. No satellites, no new development effort, and no turning yourself inside out for a function as basic as repurposing a previous edit.

Ironically, the further down this route we go, the less elegantly Apple-like it becomes, and the more like a clueless Microsoft approach that makes every possible wrong assumption about how things work. LOL I say as someone working more frequently on Windows than not.

Simplicity is a virtue. Time is linear, even if editing is not. It's not that I NEED time to work the same it always has. It's that time DOES work the way it always has, which is why workflows around it are currently so stable. There are not only no advantages to moving to GPS for post, there are only disadvantages, even on a timeline that refutes the idea of time or its own nature as a timeline. The SOURCES rely on time, and no amount of kludging can change that....

....and no amount of insistence on modernity for its own sake or new-fangled satellites can change the fact that it's a kludge at the far end of the spectrum of inelegance and difficulty the further down the post pipeline you move.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 12:51:52 am

[Bill Davis] "Presuming the GPS time signal is embedded into the footage in exactly the same way 00:00:00:00 based timecode is today - it's going to do you precisely the same good that VITC and tape track based timecode did back in the day. There's literally NO functional difference if the camera manufacturers support it."

So instead of a quartz crystal inside the camera driving the clock to generate the TC there is a GPS receiver inside the camera driving the clock to generate the TC? I think the GPS idea is nifty and could be a nice addition to what already exists (possibly an alternative to things like LockIt boxes), but I don't see as being an either/or situation (GPS *or* Quartz). I feel like this is a recurring question in this forum, but what's wrong with having multiple options since the breadth and scope of production and post production is so broad?

[Bill Davis] "Are you saying that modern timepieces lose accuracy if they aren't hooked up to a reliable constant timing source?"

Yes.

According to this watch enthusiast site, your typical quartz clock can drift between 2 seconds (worst case scenario) and 1/10th of a second per day (best case scenario) depending on quality of the components, wear on the components, and environmental factors (heat, humidity, etc.,) (http://www.chronocentric.com/watches/accuracy.shtml).

And here's a link from a blog at B&H talking about syncing cameras and second system sound. Drift can start happening inside of 30min and I've personally seen it happen inside of an hour. I've also seen gear jam synced in the morning and by the afternoon they weren't that far off so how quickly and how much can change on a case by case basis.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/video/tips-and-solutions/timecode-versu...


[Bill Davis] "Perhaps on location in the middle of nowhere. But even there, there are satellite radios and other mobile GPS readers that can grab a reset signal from a satellite, so I'm just not worried about it. "

Think more like a structure/environment that blocks the signal (inside a building, a tunnel, a canyon, etc.,). So what's plan B if you are shooting in a place where you can't get a GPS signal or the signal might not be reliable? Hopefully the A/V gear still supports TC the 'old fashioned' way and has it's own internal clocks and/or can accept a signal from a local source. Maybe there is a way for the internal clocks to keep going on their own until the GPS signal comes back, but what happens if the internal clocks have already started to drift even just a hair? Will they 'snap' back in sync with the GPS signal and possibly cause a break in the TC? Is the lesser of two evils just to keep going on the internal clocks (even if that means drifting out of sync) until someone yells 'cut' and then the link to the GPS signal can be reestablished?

I have a Garmin GPS bike computer and it loses contact with the satellites if I go under a freeway overpass and it takes forever to get a signal if it's sitting in my garage. Smartphones use the cell networks and WiFi alongside GPS signals so even if they lose the satellites they have something to try and fall back on. My Garmin also only poles the GPS satellite every three seconds I think in order to save battery life (it has low power black and white screen and one charge will last about 8hrs). I was also reading about a new GPS watch by Seiko and it can only get GPS signals if it can 'see the sky'.

Keeping a single watch or clock from drifting a second here or there by occasionally updating it with a GPS signal seems much less complicated than keeping multiple pieces of A/V gear in perfect lockstep down to 1/60, 1/120, etc., of a second.

These are more rhetorical type questions because I know we aren't engineers, but if it requires a GPS signal to work I think the first natural question is, "Well what happens if there is no GPS signal?" If the whole model hinges on always having an unbroken link to the GPS signal I don't think it sounds very robust or practical.


[Bill Davis] "Has nothing to do with frame identification for editing. If the clock time is right to GPS standards, Math can convert it into whatever division you're working with. It's pretty basic. "

But it does. Different frame rates for PAL and NTSC countries were chosen for various technical reasons and a few decades later someone pondered, "Hey, anyone think it would be useful if video frames could be numbered like pages in a book?". Whether the TC is generated from an internal clock, from an external box or from a GPS satellite I still have to worry about flickering lights if I mismatch frame rate and local power frequency.

So, if I'm following you, If I'm in an NTSC country, for example, I'll still shoot 60p and if I'm in a PAL country I'll still shoot 50p but instead of using an internal clock for TC (or something like a Lockit Box for syncing multiple pieces of gear) the camera(s)/audio gear will rely on a GPS signal for accurate time keeping and then convert the time from the GPS signal into the correct frame rate?


[Bill Davis] " And simply LESS useful today because the systems are changing and cameras have superb on-board timekeeping that's cheap and widely available "

Less useful to who? You? Me? Oliver? Everyone?


[Bill Davis] "Now you're just being silly."

All I did was rephrase your question.


[Bill Davis] "that everyone HAS to keep thinking that timecode needs to continue to be dealt with like it was in 1979. "

Who said that? Some of us are just trying to figure out why it's necessary to blow up 'A' in order to have 'B'? I'm not seeing how having an internal clock, syncing externally to a local clock and syncing via a GPS time signal are mutually exclusive technologies? They seem more complimentary than competing to me.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 1:43:15 am

[Andrew Kimery] "Who said that? Some of us are just trying to figure out why it's necessary to blow up 'A' in order to have 'B'? I'm not seeing how having an internal clock, syncing externally to a local clock and syncing via a GPS time signal are mutually exclusive technologies? They seem more complimentary than competing to me."

Ultimately it doesn't really matter how you create the identifier, as long as you have an identifier. The advantage of timecode currently is threefold: synchronization, timing, and identification of a specific location within the material.

As I said in a previous post in some thread, the combo of a 4-digit identifier (reel iD or other) plus TC gives me the ability to access any individual unique frame within 10,000 hours of material. If I up that by 24 hours per 4-digit reel ID, that goes up to 240,000 hours. Currently that system works quite well. If there's a better system, that's fine. I'm not sure GPS is it.

In the film days it was feet+frames and for film editors that system worked well. Given the nature of film stock, that info could be embedded as both human-readable numbers, as well as machine-readable bar code. Clearly that same approach could have worked in the world of video, but timecode won out.

Right now and for the foreseeable future, valid timecode and the ability to read it is very, very important to nearly all productions. Anything I work on where this info is ignored or mishandled ends up being problematic. And that applies to low budget local commercials and corporate videos just as much as high-end projects.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Tim Wilson
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 1:58:10 am

[Andrew Kimery] "They seem more complimentary than competing to me.
"


If in fact GPS is practical, and it's simply not always. Heck, if your devices are polling at different times, they may FORCE themselves out of sync with other devices.

And how might you force them to sync simultaneously? With time of day.

There's no getting around that this is an overlay of demonstrable occasional uselessness.

I don't understand why we're even talking about this. LOL It's extra expense and complication, and will require a LOT more development to be practical on location...

...and still doesn't properly address the everyday POST scenario of pulling an edit from somebody else's edit, and how to update the sub-edit when the master changes. Your computer would need to rendering with GPS info to be useful for anyone downstream, which, indoors, is virtually impossible to do predictably.

FCPX should be doing this kind of thing in its sleep, managing iterations up and down stream. It's exactly the kind of thing that a magnetic timeline SHOULD be doing...and the hardest, most complicated way to do it, with the least possible reliability, is GPS.

Actually, a sundial would be less useful, but that's about it. LOL


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Bill Davis
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 6:05:06 am

Not specifically responding to Tim but why is everyone trying to make this so hard? Right now I can and have mixed IPhone (no SMPTE but YES global clock time sync, with Canon C-100 footage that runs SMPTE but ALSO runs time of day. I import both AND DSLR footage AND footage from a 3rd or 4th camera and everything works just fine. FCP X doesn't CARE if the sources ALL have SMPTE or not. The software applies TC to ALL the working footage and I can edit it (and presumably AVID and Premiere Pro TOO) whether or not it arrived stamped the way an engineer or any of you like. That's progress. I don't have to pre-stripe and black a tape the way I did when I was 25 and learning editing. It's gotten better. You all appear to believe that unless the industry adheres to house clock forever the sky will fall (it won't) and you'll lose something you have now (I don't believe you will.)
My argument is NOT to take something away from you. If GoPro can do this (keep time with real time via a WiFi back) then a camera 10 times the size and weight can too. That's just a fact.
You all get to KEEP what you have.
I just don't get why you all have your imaginary panties in a twist at the concept of BETTER clock time capabilities in new cameras so we don't HAVE to work with SMPTE if it doesn't suit us.
My phone can keep accutlrate time. My watch can talk to my phone and keep accurate too.
That my camera that cost orders of magnitude more than either device can't as well just seems ... stupid.
That's all.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 6:18:16 am
Last Edited By Tim Wilson on Mar 22, 2016 at 6:20:38 am

[Bill Davis] "That my camera that cost orders of magnitude more than either device can't as well just seems ... stupid.
That's all."


Well, no argument there. LOL But that doesn't make it less true. LOL



[Bill Davis] "(I don't believe you will.)"

I don't know why you're not taking the word of people who are. We all work differently. Have we not at least established that much? Jeremy's example is very much from the real world. It's not imaginary.

And GPS isn't better. It's not just worse. It's untenable, in any real or imagined world, unless your imagined world has GPS that works indoors, or a computer that does GPS at all.

Maybe some day all of this will come to pass. Until it does, the reports of the real-world experiences of other FCPX enthusiasts are as valid as yours. Your insistence that it isn't isn't moving the conversation, or the industry, forward imo.

Although hey, I might be as wrong about this as I am everything else. LOL Five years ago in April, even before it was released, I'm the one who insisted that FCPX adoption would be 10 times higher than FCP by the end of the first year, or, if it was me in charge, I'd fire everyone on the marketing team. LOL



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Oliver Peters
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 11:28:22 am

[Bill Davis] "Right now I can and have mixed IPhone (no SMPTE but YES global clock time sync, with Canon C-100 footage that runs SMPTE but ALSO runs time of day."

Huh? That time of day code is still SMTPE timecode. Just because it's time of day doesn't change the technical criteria of the signal.

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 11:29:23 am

[Bill Davis] "If GoPro can do this (keep time with real time via a WiFi back) then a camera 10 times the size and weight can too. That's just a fact. "

That GoPro code is useless in real complex productions, which aren't just perishable, short turnaround projects.

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Steve Connor
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 1:38:33 pm

[Oliver Peters] "That GoPro code is useless in real complex productions, which aren't just perishable, short turnaround projects.
"


That's just the old way of thinking Oliver :)


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Oliver Peters
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 3:41:08 pm

[Steve Connor] "That's just the old way of thinking Oliver :)"

As I sit here transcoding a bunch of Sony A7 footage because the performance is bad enough that I don't want to deal with bringing the computer to its knees :) Granted that's not TC (the A7 has TC), but just one of the many issues caused by consumer-ish gear (or at least consumer codecs) used in professional environments.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 6:05:31 pm

[Oliver Peters] "As I sit here transcoding a bunch of Sony A7 footage"

And of course, as I go to sync them, none of the TCs match each other among 2 cams and audio device. Plenty of drift over the course of the day. Thank goodness for those "old school" slates with a clap.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Joe Marler
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 8:39:41 pm

[Oliver Peters] "As I sit here transcoding a bunch of Sony A7 footage because the performance is bad enough that I don't want to deal with bringing the computer to its knees :) Granted that's not TC (the A7 has TC), but just one of the many issues caused by consumer-ish gear (or at least consumer codecs) used in professional environments.
"


If you are talking about transcoding H.264 to keep from bringing Premiere CC to its knees, I have observed that myself. In my tests on 4K H264 from an A7RII and AG-DVX200, the frame rate when fast forwarding in the timeline is about 20 times slower than FCPX. On my top-spec 2015 iMac 27 with 4Ghz i7 and 32GB RAM and Thunderbolt RAID, I generally have to transcode such content to get fast editing performance on Premiere, especially for multicam. On FCPX that is less necessary, although I sometimes use proxy when editing three-camera 4k.

Also I don't see the issue about consumer codecs in professional environments. Our AG-DVX200 records UHD 4k using H.264 at up to 150 mbps, yet this still requires transcoding (in Premiere) for best performance, and even FCPX benefits if doing multicam. Even the $16k Canon C300 Mark II uses H.264, with the same issues. Do you mean cameras with internal ProRes or similar codecs?


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 8:59:46 pm

[Joe Marler] "Do you mean cameras with internal ProRes or similar codecs?"

Not to speak for Oliver, but all other things being equal, an intra-frame codec (ProRes, DNx, Cineform, etc.,) is always going to be easier to handle from an playback/editing perspective than an interframe codec (H.264, MPGE2, etc). The advantage to interframe codecs is the small file size which is why camera makers like them (you can record more footage per card and off the shelf cards are fast enough to handle the data rates).


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Oliver Peters
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 10:14:20 pm

[Joe Marler] "Even the $16k Canon C300 Mark II uses H.264, with the same issues. Do you mean cameras with internal ProRes or similar codecs?
"


I guess that's an option on the MkII. The C300 cams I've worked with recorded an XF codec, which is MPEG-2. But, my preference is for cameras that record XF, AVC-Intra, ProRes or other similar I-frame codecs. Once you start pushing a 50Mbps or 100Mbps long-GOP codec through most NLEs, you're asking for hurt.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Joe Marler
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 23, 2016 at 4:45:07 pm

[Tim Wilson] "If in fact GPS is practical, and it's simply not always....
I don't understand why we're even talking about this. LOL It's extra expense and complication, and will require a LOT more development to be practical on location...
"


Many cameras have GPS built in already for geotagging. Consider my Sony A7RII -- it has GPS, it has various TC functions including rec run, free run, initialize TC to user-entered preset, etc. However it does not have jam sync input. If it and all similar cameras simply accepted GPS to jam sync TC to a user-entered preset value at a given time of day, that would automatically sync them all. It's a simple firmware update for already existing hardware. It's not adding some GPS data in place of SMPTE timecode.

Many cameras will record OK for several hours in free run without needing to re-sync. Here is a video of Dave Dugdale "jam syncing" (actually zeroing) TC on multiple A7 cameras, which then allows sync by TC during edit:







Dave's procedure is Sony-specific, so you can't do this on diverse cameras. However there is no reason new cameras which already have GPS and already have menus for user-entered TC could not simply use GPS to simultaneously initialize TC to a user-entered time of day. It's no different from everyone trying to hit the TC preset button at the same time, except GPS would do this with nanosecond precision. This would avoid in many cases having an external TC and jam syncing by cable, even if the cameras supported that.

Of course there are nice external TC options such as the new relatively inexpensive Tentacle. But increasingly cameras already have the hardware to jam sync TC to a preset value via GPS, they just haven't written the firmware. Ironically the less expensive hybrid cameras more frequently have GPS than higher-end pro video cameras, likely because the designers just didn't think about this workflow. You can add a GPS module to many of those but you may as well then add a Tentacle or other sync box.

http://tentaclesync.com/


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Tony West
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 25, 2016 at 1:30:52 am

When it comes to syncing, count me in the waveform category. I appreciate his video but since X came out I have not jammed TC in the field for anything that I am going to cut.

I don't really worry about drift with the waves. I don't see how a wave can drift. A boom is a boom.

His example of volleyball being challenging to wave, kind of confused me. I have shot a lot of volleyball over the years, all the way to the Olympics, and it's a sport where the crowd is mostly silent waiting for the point to end to yell. During that time you have the sound of the smacking of the ball loudly. Sync that.

As far as TC notes in the field, yeah, I remember that back in the day. You would have your wireless TC send to the reader and a person sitting there. Let's keep it real, that job has largely been eliminated to save money these days. I wish is weren't true. I hate seeing jobs lost, but that's what I see out there now.

I watched Thomas Carter's video and I don't remember him speaking that much if any about TC as he assembled his shots. It looked more visual and that's how I work. the notes say good take but on a large screen with time to really concentrate, there is a bobble in the pan or something in the shot. Gotta look at it anyway and when I do I favorite. I'm going by my notes after screening on a big screen in a quite room that I can really hear in.

I think Jeremy is right, there are separate conversations going on here and his makes sense. I hope he gets it, but I think it's going to be a business decision like all others. If they get a ton of people asking for that they will likely add it, if they get a few they likely won't.


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Bill Davis
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 25, 2016 at 11:19:19 am

Careful Joe,

You may be risking the wrath of the timecode cartel.

You must accept that just because a lesser camera does something useful, there's absolutely NO reason to contemplate how it might help the broader industry.

Basically, don't harsh their bliss.

This was totally solved forever 50 years ago in the BNC tipped cable era and it seams we must accept that there's nothing more to say about it EVER.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Steve Connor
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 25, 2016 at 11:32:49 am

[Bill Davis] "You may be risking the wrath of the timecode cartel.

You must accept that just because a lesser camera does something useful, there's absolutely NO reason to contemplate how it might help the broader industry. "


Well said, the timecode cartel are ruining the industry, I demand a government investigation!


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 25, 2016 at 12:40:43 pm

Of course, if it weren't for the timecode cartel, none of us would be working in this industry today...that is those of us who are long in the tooth...I'd love to see someone syncing two one inch machines with a wristwatch...:>)

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 25, 2016 at 1:21:16 pm

I've posted this before, but I now deal with jam sync timecode more than ever.

Why is this? Aren't we supposed to be leaping forward in to a technology free of set generated clock?

A few reasons:

- Because it's cheaper and easier than ever
- You don't need to string wire all over the place
- Audio engineers (where tc usually originates) have so many differing camera menus to deal with, so many different semi-crappy audio connections to deal with, that in order to insure that they get a call back for the next job, they record the audio on something like a Sound Devices mixer/recorder. And when all else fails, you can send an audio tc signal to a camera and turn that in to jam sync tc on audio.

I didn't ask for this to happen, it just started to happen due to limitations and fragmentation in camera technologies.

I NEED programs like Sync-N-Link more than ever. They are more useful than ever, all because timecode is proliferated to nearly every budget level. Doesn't this help to define the democracy of technology; things get easier to use so more people use them?


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Joe Marler
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 25, 2016 at 2:40:19 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "when all else fails, you can send an audio tc signal to a camera and turn that in to jam sync tc on audio...I didn't ask for this to happen, it just started to happen due to limitations and fragmentation in camera technologies."

This raises a good point. Some commonly-used field audio recorders don't have SMPTE timecode, such as the Zoom H4 and even the Tascam DR-680MKII. They may display a pseudo timecode but this isn't SMPTE metadata. In those cases (as you said) you must dedicate one channel to LTC audio timecode from some generator and then in post convert that to SMPTE TC. Resolve can do that, Premiere and FCPX cannot, however you'd normally use an external utility.

With all the limitations and fragmentation, and with the availability of PluralEyes, it is often easier for lower-end productions to simply use waveform sync. PluralEyes can sync almost anything, even hundreds of clips in one batch. The 4.0 version automatically handles sync drift, so recorders drifting apart on long takes is no problem.

I think there is an untapped potential to use GPS to augment existing TC, even if only simultaneous jam-syncing multiple cameras to a user-entered preset. That doesn't require any change to TC format, and uses hardware already existing on many cameras.

Re the auxiliary TC features which FCP7 had and FCPX does not, it is unfortunate those making feature films with FCPX have not discussed this in more detail. In Mike Matzdorff's book he simply said make sure all cameras are jam synced: http://amzn.com/B00UO2NA8I.

While he and director Glenn Ficarra were not shy about mentioning FCPX limitations such as multicam, I don't recollect them ever discussing lack of aux. TC being an issue. If it wasn't an issue on feature films, what was their solution?


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Bill Davis
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 26, 2016 at 5:22:51 pm

[Joe Marler] "
While he and director Glenn Ficarra were not shy about mentioning FCPX limitations such as multicam, I don't recollect them ever discussing lack of aux. TC being an issue. If it wasn't an issue on feature films, what was their solution?"


At the level Mike was working at its Not an issue. None of their sources want for locked SMPTE. Neither, actually does the vast majority of my work BUT that's changing. As you say, when the appropriate camera is a GoPro on a drone or an iPhone on a gimbal - the landscape changes.

That's where we're going. Red Weapon as the A camera WITH TC and 4 GoPros with, at best, time of day.

If that's where I've got to work, there is nothing wrong with realizing that it would be swell if there was a higher level time signal available that made them ALL easy to deal with without the modern version of blacking and pre-striping tapes as I wasted hours doing in the 80s.

I think an industry that gives me tools like Lumberjack, Frame.io and yes, FCP X - can think about doing better. And better means using the old system if you want, but developing ways to leverage stuff that already lives in our pockets and that has ALREADY solved time synchronization issues.

Just seems there should be a way to leverage that.

Crazy, I know.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 25, 2016 at 4:12:58 pm

[Bill Davis] "Careful Joe,

You may be risking the wrath of the timecode cartel.
"


I'm confused Bill. Earlier you seemed to want to blowup the whole concept of TC because it's antiquated, in your eyes, but now you seem to be back on board with TC. The idea of jam syncing TC with GPS was brought up days ago in this thread and Joe's post is a more detailed thought piece on that topic. TC doesn't go away at all (and in the video the guy underscores how much quicker it is to sync via TC than via waveform which is true), GPS just might be a possible alternative to current jam syncing methods.


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Bill Davis
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 26, 2016 at 5:27:11 pm

A person who enjoys discussing Expressionism does not necessarily want to burn all the works of the Old Masters.

As usual, some just wanted to push back - which is fine. Others were more interested in looking at what it might mean to push forward.

To me that's more interesting because I know what's always worked - but discussing what might work even better in the future is how progress starts to happen.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 28, 2016 at 6:26:15 am

[Bill Davis] "A person who enjoys discussing Expressionism does not necessarily want to burn all the works of the Old Masters.

As usual, some just wanted to push back - which is fine. Others were more interested in looking at what it might mean to push forward.
"


I think people are just trying to figure out what exactly you are talking about because other than SMPTE TC is old, GPS is new and we can do better than using something that's old, you haven't added much depth to the discussion other people are trying to have with you about a topic that you brought up.


[Bill Davis] "If that's where I've got to work, there is nothing wrong with realizing that it would be swell if there was a higher level time signal available that made them ALL easy to deal with without the modern version of blacking and pre-striping tapes as I wasted hours doing in the 80s."

Okay, so how do you envision this higher level time signal working out? Do the devices have internal clocks capable of generating SMTPE TC and GPS can be used an alternative way to jam sync them? Do the devices have *no* internal clocks and are solely reliant on GPS to give them a clock signal which is then converted, by the device, into SMPTE TC? Is SMTPE metadata no longer part of the picture at all and some other form of metadata is created to take its place?


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Bill Davis
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 28, 2016 at 7:11:58 am
Last Edited By Bill Davis on Mar 28, 2016 at 7:12:31 am

My heavens this is NOT that difficult to understand.

You presumably carry a device in your pocket called a cel phone. It keeps perfect time. It does that by internal time chips that might drift fractionally, but the central system resets them as needed. So they are always scrupulously accurate - providing they are anyplace on the planet that gets a carrier signal. So the ENTIRE developed world is good to go. They also largely have attendant tech like Bluetooth and nearfield - that makes it trivial to TALKbto other devices.

If camera manufacturers do nothing else than what a GoPro or iPhone already does and enable wifi or Bluetooth or something similar, the whole problem disappears!

You want classic SMPTE? Just have the powered up camera take a time reset from whatever device is nearby every 10 min and BINGO - TC drift is GONE. Everybody can free run and the world goes on. If you have a fetish for having your little encampment reset to some arbitrary Zero - have at it. Jam sync your socks off and work old school. That's FINE. Nobody cares. Every device works EXACTLY as it does right now - except it's easier and more accurate since SOMETHING is keeping ALL the cameras, phones and devices precisely to the same standard.

And those of us flying into a time zone in the afternoon that's 3 hours ahead of the one we woke up in? Who cares? The phones already are smart enough to understand that and reset themselves! Which means they are already smart enough to apply offsets to capture time sync data that is FLEXIBLE.

Nobody is trying to take away your precious 1950s flashing numbers dude.

I just want the system to grow up into perhaps where we've been in time management since my cable box could reset itself for accuracy? Which its been doing for maybe a decade now?

Like most people I cut the cord on land line personal telephony some years ago.

Perhaps it's time to consider the feasibility of cutting the "house clock" BNC cable as well?

Not because it's stopped working at all, but because maybe there is actually a better way to link into the changes society already has in their pockets and purses?

Is that too much to ask?

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Steve Connor
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 28, 2016 at 7:40:30 am

[Bill Davis] "providing they are anyplace on the planet that gets a carrier signal. S"

Would that involve a contract with a carrier to get your timecode $20 a month for 1000 timecode minutes or $50 for unlimited :)


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Joe Marler
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 28, 2016 at 3:09:08 pm

[Steve Connor] "Would that involve a contract with a carrier to get your timecode $20 a month for 1000 timecode minutes or $50 for unlimited :)"

Cell phone networks use various sources (not just GPS) of extremely accurate time. It's called mobile backhaul synchronization. I don't know how much of that is available via cellular metadata, however there are various internet-based sources of highly accurate time. Any location with WiFi could query those and preset the camera TC or periodically update a drift correction algorithm. Even my Seiko quartz wristwatch receives radio-based time correction signals. Those would not be reliable for a camera but it shows in principle how straightforward the concept is.

There are mobile apps which query atomic time standards. We commonly use Bluetooth and WiFi links from mobile devices to cameras. Many cameras have built-in GPS and some (like Sony) even run apps. Camera vendors commonly have apps for mobile devices which add functionality to the camera.

So there are multiple pathways using well-established affordable technology for a camera to either periodically or continuously update its TC. This need not cause a jerk or disruption in the TC; smooth continuous correction based on periodic updates is possible, for the same reason that camera clocks drift slowly. So it would not necessarily require a lot of data, even if delivered via a cellular network.

It has just not been a design or feature priority for camera manufacturers. On the low end there is audio sync and using PluralEyes this is very capable. Just above that is Tentacle Sync, which is not very expensive. Above that are more expensive wireless TC systems. So there are already solutions which work across mixed camera brands.

For GPS or WiFi TC pre-set/correction to work in a mixed environment, it might require some type of standardization, however rudimentary. E.g, one camera brand might support GPS-driven presets to a user-entered TC at a specific wall clock time, but another brand might only support continuous correction. It is likely manufacturers would favor their own products in terms of standardization but not collaboratively devise a universal standard for such a niche feature area.

It is frustrating that cheap still cameras commonly have GPS geotagging which in principle can access nanosecond-precision time data, yet video camera manufacturers don't use that to enhance TC.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 28, 2016 at 6:29:09 pm

[Joe Marler] " Those would not be reliable for a camera but it shows in principle how straightforward the concept is."

I think this the gist of the whole thing. Conceptually it's straightforward but in practice the time needs of our smart phones, computers, etc., aren't the same as our time needs for our video cameras and audio recording devices so since the needs are different the solutions will be different as well.

One of the biggest differences between the GPS idea and how sync is current done is that with the current implementation of sync we have a single box (wired or wireless) that all the other devices slave to (either through a constant connection or just periodically in the case of a jam sync). With the GPS idea we remove that that single box concept and it's up to each device to create their own GPS connection, maintain/refresh their own GPS connection and convert that independently collected GPS clock data into HH:MM:SS:FF (all in sync and with accuracy of at least 1/60 of a second).

That seems like a lot of variables in play, especially if there are no standards across the board, and even something as minor as Brand X rounding up nanoseconds vs Brand Y truncating nanoseconds would result in different HH:MM:SS:FF results and thus drift. Again, maybe fine for another way to jam sync, because jam syncing is already a compromised approach, but it would depend of course on how quickly the devices drifted of sync. Not to mention this 'always on' connection would probably put a load on the battery.

An obvious fix to this is to still use the single box method but now the single box can use GPS, wifi, and/or cellular as a clock source (which might be cheaper than a high quality quartz crystal clock source), do the conversion to HH:MM:SS:FF, and then push that signal out to the devices. The general pros/cons of this method would presumably be similar to already existing wireless sync options which may or may not make this GPS route a superior solution compared to ones that already exist.

And this doesn't even get into the TC needs of post but I figure we'll talk about one element at a time. ;)


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Tim Wilson
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 28, 2016 at 7:25:46 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "[Joe Marler] " Those would not be reliable for a camera but it shows in principle how straightforward the concept is."

I think this the gist of the whole thing. Conceptually it's straightforward but in practice the time needs of our smart phones, computers, etc., aren't the same as our time needs for our video cameras and audio recording devices so since the needs are different the solutions will be different as well."


This is exactly why I keep coming back to the question, why are we talking about this for camera SYNC.

It's a nifty idea as an IDEA, and GPS absolutely works for geotagging, and hey, why shouldn't that be in high-end cameras too? I think that mfrs assume that, if you bought a Canon C500 or are renting an Alexa your shoots are at least organized enough to know where the hell you are when you shot this particular footage.

But there are currently NO devices that are frame accurate, and if it's jam sync to time of day, welp, time of day is already well understood, metadata fields are already in place for every aspect of production and post, so no need to get metadata standards committees involved, no need to change manufacturing processes, no need for camera manufacturer standards committees to come up universal schemes for GPS polling timetables, and on and on and on.


[Andrew Kimery] "Just as an example of the level of accuracy needed, Tim Cook has said the Apple Watch is accurate down to 50ms yet if you are shooting at 60p you need constant accuracy of at least 16.666666666666667 milliseconds (1/60th of a second)."

Great example.

CONSTANT accuracy, at intervals non-trivially smaller than typically available today. And as Oliver points out elsewhere in the thread, unless every device in the sync matrix is polling GPS at exactly the same time, each device will be snapping itself out of sync every time.

It's like the old principle that a stopped clock is right at least twice a day, but one whose time keeps shifting in relation to other devices means that none of them is EVER in reliable sync.

Hmmm....how could we make it so that every device polls the satellite at the same time? How about...an internal clock!!! Which, uhm, we could use to generate timecode. Which we already have, and we already do.

So we don't need a manufacturer to figure out how to add a GPS radio, we don't need them to figure out how to charge us for this, we don't need to figure out how to keep multiple devices from different manufactures polling satellites simultaneously, etc etc etc.

I keep coming back to this, that adding GPS timekeeping creates problems that don't currently exist, in trying to address a problem that doesn't exist.

I entirely concede, it sure is fun to talk about...but I want to be clear, it goes into the same "straightforward in principle, not reliable in practice" bucket that so many other threads here do, including of course, plenty of threads of my own.

Which is to say, I'm not arguing against the concept of conceptual threads, but practical is practical, usable is usable, and right now, no protocols or devices exist that make this practical or usable.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 28, 2016 at 11:52:58 am

[Bill Davis] "Perhaps it's time to consider the feasibility of cutting the "house clock" BNC cable as well? "

One thing that I haven't heard come up, and forgive me if I missed it, but tc and clock time are different. Tc and cameras do not run in real time. An hour of 23.98 video is not really an hour. An hour of 29.97 video is not really an hour. The real time is closer to an hour and three seconds. If you were to introduce a clock running at a different speed than the video, how do you keep sync? What if you start a recoring, and two hours later, you're six seconds off of 'real time'? How do you keep sync with other devices? If you have multiple cameras, one runs for two hours straight, another is starting and stopping, their timing is going to be off, how do you sync them? If you want have a 'global house clock' you have to make sure all devices are running st that speed, which means you have to get rid of fractional frame rates and all that it entails, which I would imagine would halt all of NTSC broadcast.

Eng P2 camera have had GPS modules for a long time. P2 has GPS metadata built in (although it's for position data, not time). As far as I know, there's no way to sync two of those cameras together via GPS because it is an inaccurate clock for NTSC based video, and woefully inadequate for 23.98 productions as there's no DF standard on most 23.98 devices.

I'm all for a better system which I hope would also be reliable, but you have to take in to account the entire infrastructure. We will drag the NTSC legacy for a long while yet.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 28, 2016 at 6:29:04 pm

[Bill Davis] "You presumably carry a device in your pocket called a cel phone. It keeps perfect time. It does that by internal time chips that might drift fractionally, but the central system resets them as needed. So they are always scrupulously accurate - providing they are anyplace on the planet that gets a carrier signal. So the ENTIRE developed world is good to go. They also largely have attendant tech like Bluetooth and nearfield - that makes it trivial to TALKbto other devices. "

But that's not the case Bill. Go back and read my other posts (and the other pages I linked to). iPhones and iPads, for example, have very poor internal clocks (relatively speaking) and rely heavily on GPS, cell towers and/or WiFi connections to correct the their drift multiple times a day. A time piece jumping forward/back a fraction of a second at different points during the day isn't a big deal because no one is going to notice that their watch jumped back 1/15th of a second between 12:01:01 and 12:01:02 or that it jumped forward 1/45th of a second between 11:30:59 and 11:31:00. Devices trying to stay in sync while writing continuous metadata every 1/60th of a second (or higher) don't have the same amount of wiggle room. Just as an example of the level of accuracy needed, Tim Cook has said the Apple Watch is accurate down to 50ms yet if you are shooting at 60p you need constant accuracy of at least 16.666666666666667 milliseconds (1/60th of a second).

Like I've said over and over again throughout this thread, for jam syncing using a GPS clock signal could be another option to coexist with what's already out there, but given the current state of tech I don't see GPS as viable replacement for the functional equivalent of a single box sending out constant sync (wired or wirelessly) to multiple recording devices.


[Bill Davis] "Nobody is trying to take away your precious 1950s flashing numbers dude."

Wow. Epic response, Bill. You either haven't read (or are just ignoring) the questions other people are asking and/or points they are raising so it's pretty preposterous for you to cop an attitude in lieu of having an actual conversation.


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Bill Davis
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 28, 2016 at 9:24:15 pm
Last Edited By Bill Davis on Mar 28, 2016 at 9:26:40 pm

"Wow. Epic response, Bill."

Thank you. I seek epicness in all that I do - sadly falling short 99.9999999999 % of the time. (Without genlock)

My response to all is that if EVERY smart phone and many consumer cams, watches and devices can keep universal, dependable time as described elsewhere in this thread, it's fair to ask why ALL modern cameras can't as well.

The professional response in this forum appears to be a version of Tims beloved mantra ""stay off my timecode lawn!"

Fine. (And not unexpected.) I appreciate that it works wonderfully for those with the budgets and knowledge to deploy it ("...now where was that menu that lets me set the user bits?") and those with the audacity to work TC free are clearly noobs in the grand tradition and must be marginalized STAT!

I just believe that since ALL technology evolves, it's strange that we must carve out and freeze TC with its functionally exactly as it was when I was a teenager.

But whatever.

I've gotta go color grade some of my totally impractical timecode less iPhone shots from the Florida shoot - I know, silly me.

And so it goes.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 28, 2016 at 10:22:36 pm

[Bill Davis] "I just believe that since ALL technology evolves, it's strange that we must carve out and freeze TC with its functionally exactly as it was when I was a teenager."

Because it's just as valid today as it was then. If it didn't exist today, someone would end up inventing it to provide the same function. At this point no one has developed a better technology for video media files and that includes Apple.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 29, 2016 at 12:37:39 pm

This is an interesting thread. Bill, I have to confess I don't exactly understand what you're arguing for.

Can we pause the conversation on HOW exactly to do timecode, and back up a little bit to the conversation on WHAT timecode needs to do?

In other words, what problems do we hope to solve by coding our media with time?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Bill Davis
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 30, 2016 at 9:30:15 am
Last Edited By Bill Davis on Mar 30, 2016 at 9:57:14 am

Sure. To my thinking, the fundamental purpose of timecode (however you choose to express it) is synchronization.
Movies had standardized on a frame cadence before TV - but TV was always a global hodgepodge.
The industry has always needed the cadence of video to have a relationship to the passage of clock time as the world measures that. In TV, programs have a duration - and start at the top and bottom of the hour. Commercials are sold in :30 and 60 sec. slices of time.
Then there were the engineering necessities of the dawn of the TV era. Sadly, differing international power standards meant no global cadence standard has ever existed. Black and white shoehorned color in and so we got our weird fractional cadences (29.97 and 23.98 etc) for good engineering reasons but terrible clock synchronization capabilities including sub flavors of TC like drop and non-drop numbering schemes JUST to keep the numbers from screwing things up. So that's the system being guarded. Functional and deeply understood amongst a class of educated practitioners? You bet. Totally. But an awful mess for a kid with an iPhone wanting to shoot and edit a video love note for his or her amour on Valentine's Day. Useless really. But the funny thing is that he or she can do much of functionally the SAME thing that the TV station editor can do in terms of actual editing today. Our NLEs provide the functions of the old systems, but I'm pretty sure they do it via tricky math, NOT by actually having a 30fps genlock signal ACTUALLY in the computer, phone, or up in the cloud. It's an accommodation based on historic practices. Useful? Of course. Nobody's denying that least of all me, who tracks timecode frames all day every day. But that little voice is starting to ask why? Ten or so years ago I'd never delivered anything but 649x480 30fps my entire career. Then suddenly that all blew up. Decades of SD practices fell like dominos. And yes, I'm wondering if TC might do that in the future too?

Why am I allowing myself to consider that? Because while the utility is still there, the foundational function of synchronization to actual time - the real underlying need at the heart of the whole construct - I think might be something that can be done better, cheaper and easier if it can be looked at with fresh eyes.

Again, if my phone is perfectly accurate to a global satellite standard, why not my next camera? Is it really an engineering necessity? Or Industrial entropy? I don't know the answer to that. I just know that I used Lumberjack Systems clock time based logging software to realtime log my big Florida shoot - and it was feeling a lot like the future. And the $99 iPad Mini that I picked up from the AT&T store on close-out when I renewed my cel phone contract last time - seemed to do EVERYTHING I needed in synchronization without a timecode device in sight.

Reading how mad Bob Zelin seems to be at me for ruining everyone's ability to make a living like they did in the 1980s is sad. But I'm pretty sure that was going to happen anyway. Even if I had stayed in radio my whole career. (Wow, after writing it - THAT is really a depressing thought!)

It sure felt like change is again underway to me.

FWIW

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 31, 2016 at 12:46:42 am

[Bill Davis] "To my thinking, the fundamental purpose of timecode (however you choose to express it) is synchronization"

I think that's the basic disconnect in this discussion. To some of us, timecode is there as a place to identify frame-accurate edit points and durations. Electronic synchronization has never been part of it, since that's a different function. If you mean alignment of matched sources, like multicam recordings, then yes, that's another and secondary purpose.

[Bill Davis] "Sadly, differing international power standards meant no global cadence standard has ever existed. Black and white shoehorned color in and so we got our weird fractional cadences (29.97 and 23.98 etc) for good engineering reasons but terrible clock synchronization capabilities including sub flavors of TC like drop and non-drop numbering schemes JUST to keep the numbers from screwing things up"

That's not completely accurate. The fractional quality only relates to recording/playback speed versus the electrical standard and therefore a real-time clock. Timecode is not fractional. 1 TC value = 1 video frame. Drop-frame is merely a sequence to dropping certain numbers in the count, so 1 hour of TC duration equals 1 hr of cock duration. Yes, that's a total kludge.

However, the 29.97 or 23.98 recordings affect the recording speed, NOT the timecode itself. You are free to record at a true 30fps or 24fps if you like, as long as NTSC TV isn't involved. For example 30.0 for the web or 24.0 for cinemas. In either case the timecode values don't change. Only the speed of the recording. And in the case of drop versus non-drop, if you record 23.98, there is no such difference. It only applies to 29.97 recordings.

[Bill Davis] "But the funny thing is that he or she can do much of functionally the SAME thing that the TV station editor can do in terms of actual editing today. Our NLEs provide the functions of the old systems, but I'm pretty sure they do it via tricky math, NOT by actually having a 30fps genlock signal ACTUALLY in the computer, phone, or up in the cloud"

I have no idea what "tricky math" means, but all NLEs and linear systems and yes - iPhone, computers, etc. handle math functions under the hood. The lack of genlock for computers is actually quite a problem. It's one of the reasons that many of us complain about playing FCPX or Premiere Pro in front of a client and lip-sync is rubbery. Sometimes it's on and sometimes it's off. Or it doesn't match between the computer display and the video output to an SDI monitor.

[Bill Davis] "Again, if my phone is perfectly accurate to a global satellite standard, why not my next camera? "

OK, so your recording is stamped with GPS information. How does that relate to an actual signal that identifies each frame of the recording? And how does that stamp get understood by other applications - readers, asset management systems, burn-in generators, etc?

Gosh, maybe that iPhone will end up stamping timecode :)

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 31, 2016 at 1:18:12 am

PS: If by "synchronization" and GPS, what you really want is a method to force multiple cameras and your iPhone/iPad/logging device to start with an identical reference, then you really aren't talking about timecode at all. Merely a way to generate a reference signal to which existing timecode signals could jam. Two entirely different discussions in that case and definitely a worthwhile function.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 31, 2016 at 5:33:37 am

What you can't get around Oliver is that TIME remains the constant. A second is a second universally and everywhere. It's not until you get to the video industry that the arbitrary inconsistencies show up. A system demanding we accommodate 24, 25, 30, 60 (and more) divisions of the same unit. And that's fine. It solves real issues. I get that. But at the heart of things is still the one singular heartbeat ALL the systems share. Time. My argument is to bolster THAT. Provide more and better access and linkage to THAT across all cameras and devices. Wouldn't better RealTime keeping - improved and accessible in a way it is NOT today, let the chips slice it 50 ways to Sunday - keeping the consumers AND the Phantom wranglers happy? (and all the broadcast folk the world over satisfied too!)

Seems reasonable to me, but what do I know.

; )

Hope to see you in the Press Room at NAB. And remember I owe you at least a drink for the crew referral. Great guys who did a great job for me last month!

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Apr 1, 2016 at 1:36:08 pm

[Bill Davis] "Seems reasonable to me, but what do I know."

And to me, as well.

[Bill Davis] "Hope to see you in the Press Room at NAB. And remember I owe you at least a drink for the crew referral. Great guys who did a great job for me last month!
"


Me, too. Good to hear that it worked out. Cheers!

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 2:42:02 am
Last Edited By Jeremy Garchow on Mar 22, 2016 at 8:57:28 am

[Bill Davis] "So you lose nothing and gain a lot.

IF we can overcome the inertia of "that's how TC works and always has - so don't mess with it."
"


I literally think we are having different conversations on timecode.

However you want to keep track of time, GPS or otherwise, it'd be nice if fcpx could display multiple instances of time on any clip, in any given Project, simultaneously.

FCPX demonsrates some of this capability in multiclips, it'd be nice if the Viewer had the same capability.

--

But let me ask you this. When you export a movie from an NLE, and the timecode is stamped via GPS, how do you know what timecode to write? Exports never happen in real time, they are either faster or slower.

Also, if GPS timecode is extremely accurate, say down to milliseconds, how do you stop separate elements/recorders from writing different milliseconds and not being able to lock to each other in post since the tc is discontinuous?

If you want to change the tc world, get rid of fractional frame rates in 'NTSC'.


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Chris Harlan
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Apr 3, 2016 at 4:50:50 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I literally think we are having different conversations on timecode.
"


As I've been reading through this thread, I think there is actually a lack of understanding on the part of some of what time code actually is.


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Scott Witthaus
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 3:15:31 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "if you don't understand the need for this feature, then the chances are that your personal editing requirements tend toward the modest.
"


now that's a little elitist! ;-)

Color me "modest " too.

Scott Witthaus
Senior Editor/Post Production Supervisor
1708 Inc./Editorial
Professor, VCU Brandcenter


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Michael Hancock
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 8:38:21 pm

When Simon write "Multiple simultaneous timecode displays.", I imagine he's thinking something like this (from Avid), and hopefully he'll correct me if I'm wrong:

http://content.provideocoalition.com/uploads/avid-long-timecode-window.png

It may not be useful to some people, but it's incredibly useful to others. And the best part is that it's customizable. If you want to use it - it's available. If you don't, just don't open the window. Everybody is happy.


[Bill Davis] "So what does timecode really provide in the modern era that couldn't be supplanted over time with video systems moving to GPS based clock time with local offsets applied? "

Perhaps over time this will be happen and will be awesome, but today it's not happening. Today we still use timecode, so why shouldn't Apple build in some extra functionality that's useful and requested?


[Bill Davis] "I was working with Phil Hodgetts and Greg Smith at NAB last year on a production demo and what almost screwed things up wasn't timecode - the BlackMagit cameras and switchers all had that in spades. It was that nobody had taken the time to set the real time clocks! "

If FCPX had all the timecode functionality of some of the other NLEs it wouldn't have been a problem. You just calculate the timecode difference between the cameras and make an Aux Timecode and use that for syncing. Pretty simple stuff, and solves the error that was made on set.

[Bill Davis] "Traditional "start at zero'" completely internal TC is isolated to a small group.

Time of day is global."


Time of day isn't always a good idea, especially if you're shooting over multiple days with cameras that are likely to repeat file names. You'll end up with a bunch of clips with the same name and same timecode, which can make relinking and finishing a nightmare.

Maybe timecode won't be necessary in the future, but it's still very important and necessary today. It would be great if FCPX did more with it.

----------------
Michael Hancock
Editor


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Mike Warmels
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 8:50:35 pm

Indeed.

Plus, in my country we still have to supply broadcast master MXFs starting at timecode 00:01:55:00... So yeah, you can wish timecode would now away. But very often you still need it.

And there's also the audio situation. I often shoot with separate audio and synching is way faster by using timecode than by audio analysis. And much more reliable. It makes a computer do what it does best: putting the numbers together. It is, after all, just a bloated calculator.


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Shane Ross
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 8:57:22 pm

[Bill Davis] "So what does timecode really provide in the modern era that couldn't be supplanted over time with video systems moving to GPS based clock time with local offsets applied? "

Frame count. Time clocks don't count frames. Seconds is as low as they go, and we all work with increments less than that. I often have shots that last under a second. And no, "microseconds" won't cover this either. And with the vast array of different frame rates...23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94...we need TIMECODE to be able to navigate this footage.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Oliver Peters
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:09:57 pm

[Shane Ross] "Frame count. Time clocks don't count frames"

It also provides the easiest way to locate unique content later in the most user-readable way. For example, if your recordings were limited to 1 hour and you used a 4-digital numeric identifier for each file as a "reel ID" number, you could easily locate any frame within 10,000 hours of footage without any repeats. So timecode - even in an era of GPS and other methods - has a lot of value.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Shane Ross
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:13:29 pm

[Oliver Peters] "It also provides the easiest way to locate unique content later in the most user-readable way. For example, if your recordings were limited to 1 hour and you used a 4-digital numeric identifier for each file as a "reel ID" number, you could easily locate any frame within 10,000 hours of footage without any repeats. So timecode - even in an era of GPS and other methods - has a lot of value."

Yes...frame accuracy in an NLE is essential. And in tracking footage is essential. Not only in the dying tape format where you need to be able to output frame accurately...but in just LOOKING for footage. In being able to say that a shot starts EXACLTY at 1:13:23:15. You cannot do that accurately with a clock, even if you used 10th's of a second.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:15:29 pm

[Oliver Peters] "So timecode - even in an era of GPS and other methods - has a lot of value."

Quite so.

But even if we went over to a different way of expressing it, and I can't see the immediate benefit of that if any, the point I was making is that being able to read the time stamp of multiple clips at the same time within the NLE, is of vital importance in so many different scenarios, it's not much point in trying to enumerate them!

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo-uk.com


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Mike Warmels
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:29:36 pm

Hehehe, good one.

I wonder though. FCP7 used to have a nice tool for that, on screen in the master window. Why did they abandon that?


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Shane Ross
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:43:55 pm

[Mike Warmels] "I wonder though. FCP7 used to have a nice tool for that, on screen in the master window. Why did they abandon that?"

It took them until version 6 to even ADD it. We had to buy this plugin from Digital Heaven.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Mike Warmels
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 10:03:52 pm

Ha, good one. We did enjoy it for a couple of years, though.


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Neil Goodman
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:30:51 pm

The ability to see 2 or more time codes at once is one of the main reasons I dont use FCPX more often.

In Avid my TC window which is always up - has about 6 lines of crucial information at a glance. Priceless IMO.

V1 TC Audio tracks 1,2,3 TC ( my syncd audio) Audio 4 TC (VO) Absolute Duration and Duration In/Out

Thats just one of my setups for Promo, Trailers and Commercials.


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:38:47 pm

[Neil Goodman] "In Avid my TC window which is always up - has about 6 lines of crucial information at a glance. Priceless IMO. "

No, no, no - you should be using satellite timing. Don't you know anything?!!

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo-uk.com


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Neil Goodman
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:45:52 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "No, no, no - you should be using satellite timing. Don't you know anything?!!
"


Its actually starting to get super ridiculous around here to the point I dont want to read anymore.

People are coming up with great feature requests daily - YET the people here who know X the best (coughcoughbillandrobincoughcough) keep saying they dont need or want them and talk about some time in the future where all my daily needs will be absolete.

Well - wake up - Today is today and modern workflows are different for each and every person and shop.

You guys should want X to grow as much as possible - not hinder its growth because of a single minded mentality.


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 9:52:15 pm

[Neil Goodman] "modern workflows are different for each and every person and shop"

I think this is a very important point.

There's a sense in some quarters that workflows are congregating around a single simplified model where it's possible to be reductive about what you need and don't need, whereas out here in the real world what I see is a proliferation of different workflows that are getting continually more complex and varied ... not less.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo-uk.com


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Tim Wilson
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 18, 2016 at 10:59:02 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "out here in the real world what I see is a proliferation of different workflows that are getting continually more complex and varied ... not less."

I would have hoped that at this point in the evolution of X, and of this forum, that we could agree that a feature request by a mostly-happy, well-informed, professional customer could be understood as NOT an attack.

It gets back to my problem with people not taking posts at face value, and why I've been so adamant that people NEED to do this, and not try to impute some hidden, inevitably darker motive. It's a fgking request, man. I'm not even seeing any of these requests expressed as demands. Nobody is talking about taking pitchforks and torches to storm Apple's keep. Nobody is talking about leaving X over any of these, or all of them combined.

Nobody's talking about anybody's mom. LOL

What has me flummoxed, though, is that somebody on this thread suggested that we avoid HYPE. WHAT? Whose bright idea was THAT? LOL


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Brett Sherman
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 2:30:12 am

[Tim Wilson] "I would have hoped that at this point in the evolution of X, and of this forum, that we could agree that a feature request by a mostly-happy, well-informed, professional customer could be understood as NOT an attack. "

Of course Simon's original post was a bit sardonic. So I'm not sure I'm that sympathetic. But, yes, generally I agree.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 3:12:54 am

[Brett Sherman] "Of course Simon's original post was a bit sardonic."

I don't think of sardonic as an attack either :-) but I was thinking more broadly, about a tendency toward "I don't need it, so you probably don't either," or the feeling that feature requests only come from misunderstandings and generally holding it wrong.


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Bill Davis
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 19, 2016 at 5:07:48 am
Last Edited By Bill Davis on Mar 19, 2016 at 5:10:46 am

[Tim Wilson] "I would have hoped that at this point in the evolution of X, and of this forum, that we could agree that a feature request by a mostly-happy, well-informed, professional customer could be understood as NOT an attack. "

Yeah, of course. Who would EVER mistake the use of a word like "triumphalism" as any type of attack on a professional position. Silly on it's face.

From now on, when I post about feature requests, from my happy, well-informed place, I'm going to be more careful with my language.

Since obviously something like "Would X benefit from more timecode options?" is - well, just patently too foolish a header to generate much discussion. Huh?

Clearly Simon was correct. X can't do timecode as he likes. So we must HOLD our happiness in check - since everyone knows X is still bad awful JuJu for REAL editors.

Got it.

coughcoughcoughcough.

; )

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Brian Chaffee
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 5:01:37 pm

I really don't frequent CC forums or any others for that matter anymore since they seemed riddled with childish rhetoric quickly rearing it's ugly head that inevitably and usually quite quickly deviates from anything that could be called relevant input to the OP's question/ comment; in this case, Simon Ubsdell.

This thread however is interesting. Why? Because Simon made the comment that FCPX needs improvement in a certain area of great importance. Great because he was detailing a lack of one of the integral parameters being available that is the reason for using the very software he is using in the first place. Logical.

But hang on minute. Who is apple? They have been a company for sometime now who states brazenly and I paraphrase, "We do things this way and you should too." This pertains to everything they do. From software to file handling and everything in between. This would seem to more than intimate that they are also saying, "So get over any problem you have, with it."

And anyone using their stuff that has thrown even a single brain cell on it, knows this as a fact. Those that do not use their stuff call all of you guys, 'Fan Boys.' The reason for this derogatory label is that while those using apple's stuff seem to be die hard apple stuff users, they are the biggest group of complainers on the block. Possibly because apple really has paved the way for a lot of innovation and the problem with that is, everyone gets on a roll, stoked with the advances and feel like, "Let's do this", and they and all of us should. Progressing with the obvious is awesome and we as the only species that realizes the feelings that we have and some understanding of why we have them is awesome. The problem is that apple keeps stopping. A little advance and a harsh halt. People using their stuff get miffed.

But again, who is apple? They had FCP7 which everyone, including the professional industry, used. They bought Shake and again, everyone used it. Why did everyone use these two software packages? Because they were logical well thought out software, minus some obvious features albeit for FCP7, that covered the gamut of necessary tools to do the job of editing and special effects. To do the job with the creativity that we as a species realize is within us and do it with excellence to the best of our abilities at the time we are doing it. In short form, to be unlimited in the execution of our ideas, within reason, with a proper, logical toolset.

The first question is this: Is FCPX anything like 7? The answer is, no. The second question is: Then why the 'f' are you using it? The second question is the killer. So if their is a blame to be had, whose is it? The guy swinging the whip or the guy showing up to be whipped?

Apple bought and then killed Shake, which still, even to this day, out does Nuke and Fusion hands down and if it had continued to be developed seriously, would still be the number one package of it's kind in the world as it was back in the day.

So to Simon and the rest of you, why are using what is, in your own stated opinions, less than you need to do your job?

FCPX is a joke and premier another clown in the same circus. Avid is the only serious tool and that is confirmed by every major and minor house on a whole around the globe. If you don't have the tools to do the job, go get them, and stop complaining. Besides, if you show up for the beating, a beating you should be handed.

And if you think that being lambasted by apple and their people for spinning around your feature requests into attacks, you guys are not thinking about the implications of that very fact. They are not listening and they consider you a pest. Think about it.

Time code is essential along with all of the essential tools that are indisputably important. Do not doubt your ability to ascertain your needs in any situation that are needs for real.

Again, think about it.


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Shane Ross
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 6:12:11 pm

[Brian Chaffee] "
FCPX is a joke and premier another clown in the same circus. Avid is the only serious tool and that is confirmed by every major and minor house on a whole around the globe."


Statements like that are extremely close minded, and very troll-ish. Avid is not the only serious tool...and it sees heavy use in very specific areas of post. It's absolutely the WRONG choice for many other productions. heck I used it in projects that would best be handled by another app (Premiere...even FCP 7) solely because we need project sharing. Sorry, that's statement won't get you far in this group...much less in the world of post.

"IT'S THE GREATEST TOOL EVER IN THE THE HISTORY OF EDITING APPLICATIONS...OMG!" Sorry, who's fanboying now?

[Brian Chaffee] "Time code is essential along with all of the essential tools that are indisputably important."

That statement is true. I'll give you this. People who mock us for liking and needing good old timecode because "it's too old...and anything old is bad" doesn't see the forest for the trees. There are many cases where "because it works it's good" is true. When something works...why change it for the sake of change? Also very narrow minded.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Shawn Miller
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 6:38:47 pm
Last Edited By Shawn Miller on Mar 22, 2016 at 6:40:05 pm

[Brian Chaffee] "Apple bought and then killed Shake, which still, even to this day, out does Nuke and Fusion hands down and if it had continued to be developed seriously, would still be the number one package of it's kind in the world as it was back in the day."

I'm curious why you say this, Brian. In what way does Shake outdo Nuke and Fusion?



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Andrew Kimery
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 8:33:02 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I literally think we are having different conversations on timecode. "

This.^


I'm going to try to hit the reset so everyone can hopefully get on the same page.

Let's just start with a single camera out in the field that is capable of generating SMPTE timecode. Your options are free run (user definable start time and the TC runs constantly once started), rec run (user definable start time and the TC only runs while the camera is recording) and time of day (TC matches the time of day and constantly runs). No matter which option you choose it will always be displayed as HH:MM:SS:FF where FF obviously corresponds to the frame rate your camera is set to record in. TC drift in this situation isn't that big of a deal because it's a single device so it only has to be accurate relative to itself.

If we upgrade the complexity though to say two cameras and one audio recorder in the field then we have to be more mindful of TC accuracy because three devices need to be put into sync and then kept in sync. This is where an external device comes into play. The two ways to go about this is either with a constant connection to an external clock (either with wires or wirelessly) or by jam syncing (temporarily connecting an an external clock multiple times a day to establish/maintain sync before the devices drift apart). So how accurate do we need to be to keep everything frame accurate? If we are shooting 60p then the devices have to maintain accuracy of at least 0.016666666666667 seconds.

This is where my first point of confusion comes in, Bill. With your GPS idea is it meant to replace the device's internal clock for TC (i.e. if there is no GPS connection there is no TC ability) or is your idea meant to be another way to provide external sync to multiple devices (ex. instead one local box sending out the same signal to multiple devices you would just have all the devices to connect to a GPS satellite to get the time)?

From what I've read about how computers, smart phones and GPS-enabled watches, etc., keep time it doesn't sound like going the same route to enable cameras/audio gear to maintain sync would work. There's just too much wiggle room allowed (and it's also a lot to ask of camera manufacturers to make their devices with WiFi, cellular and GPS radios like smartphones have). It might be any okay alternative to jam syncing though (a bit more info here, http://watch.camp/2014/11/apple-watch-timekeeping-accuracy/ ). An Apple Watch might drift a few fractions of a second over the course of a day and then 'snap back' to the right time when it gets a GPS update a few times a day and that won't be noticeable to anyone. But if you have three pieces of A/V gear that all 'drift and snap back' at different rates that's probably not going to turn out well.

Sure, you could possibly use one iPhone, for example, as the time source and then attach receivers to the all the A/V gear so that the are all getting time from the iPhone, but then you not only have to worry about the iPhones accuracy but also the strength of the signal going out to each device (what if Cam A accidentally wonders out of range for a few seconds but Cam B and Audio stay w/in range)? This is already one of the short comings of using a wireless setup for syncing such as the WifiMaster.

Like i said in a previous post, I think it's an interesting idea Bill, but I don't think the tech is there yet to make really make it happen. Maybe as an additional alternative to what we currently use in some situations, but certainly not as a viable and robust replacement.


As Jeremy has mentioned TC in post production isn't quite the same beast in part because media generation in post doesn't usually happen in real time. If you are on the broadcast side of things or still have a lot of tape I/O in your workflow then you probably need to multiple devices (NLEs, decks, etc.,) locked to the same clock, but if you otherwise it's doubtful you would need to have a central point of sync for everyone to tap into. In post I think maintaining TC continuity throughout the project becomes the key point. For example, if an interview is shot ToD in the field and I export it for transcription it behooves me to export it with the exact same ToD as opposed to having it start at 00:00:00:00 (unless of course I have good reason for wanting the 'official' TC of that interview to change to 00:00:00:00). Or If I make an export for color grading then the TC I originally give them should be consistently used throughout the process.

And to a point that I think Oliver made (if not others) TC is one of the few pieces of metadata that is pretty much universally understand by all NLEs *and* is easily human readable.

If anyone is bored they can go to Time.is ( http://time.is/ ) and see how their computer/phone/tablet time compares to that of an atomic clock. Note that anything down to 1/10 of a second comes back as "exact" yet for our needs we would need accuracy down to at least 1/60th of a second.


[Bill Davis] " FCP X doesn't CARE if the sources ALL have SMPTE or not."

What NLE does? I used to digitize VHS into various NLEs nearly 20yrs ago.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Can we perhaps hold the triumphalism ...?
on Mar 22, 2016 at 8:49:28 pm

[Brian Chaffee] "But hang on minute. Who is apple? They have been a company for sometime now who states brazenly and I paraphrase, "We do things this way and you should too." "

That was pretty much Jobs' so it's nothing new.. Apple made FCP 7 for themselves just like they've made FCP X for themselves. Users that liked FCP 7 happened to have their likes overlap with Apple's likes and many users mistakenly took that as Apple making FCP for them, which wasn't the case.


[Brian Chaffee] "Avid is the only serious tool and that is confirmed by every major and minor house on a whole around the globe. "

Um, okay... (o_O)


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Bill Davis
To Simon Ubsdell.
on Mar 19, 2016 at 5:19:27 am

[Simon Ubsdell] "Let's wait and see that (for instance) implemented before we start crowing too loudly just yet"

Simon,

I need to apologize.

I'm on a nasty series of deadlines on 3 projects and am facing one specific corporate project that defines Scope Creep that I have to shoot next week and I'm stressed.

I should have been more temperate.

Sorry.

Your use of the triumphalism dig hit me the wrong way. But thats neither here nor there.

You are right to feel that you want any software you consider to have similar features to ones you've come to depend upon.

I spent my whole career chasing timecode - and I have to say that I'm feeling freed when I realize that I no longer HAVE to manage that in order to do some select portions of my work - but as you say - workflows are individual.

So again, sorry.

Bill.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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