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Altering timecode for multiple clips...can it be done all at once?

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Michael Griggs
Altering timecode for multiple clips...can it be done all at once?
on Nov 20, 2010 at 12:01:42 am

So, I'm a wedding videographer, and as such, we always shoot at least two cameras for the whole 8-12hr day of an event (frequently shooting things at the same time). There are typically 2, and sometimes 3, shooters working each event (running two Panasonic AG-HMC150's), but the cameras are completely independent of each other while in the field. The biggest issue we have is trying to find the easiest way to way keep everything somewhat in sync (so I have less to do in the editing chair in post). There is almost never an opportunity to use any sort of clapboard on site to have easy sync points, so I have had to resort to finding things that each camera got a shot of from their angle.

Recently, I discovered that I could set my camera to "free run" timecode, and manually change it to be pretty close to the actual time-of-day. Once ingested into FCP, I sort each camera's clips by timecode, and everything ends up (close to) linear from start to finish (woot!). This solves most of my issues with sorting and organizing, but when it comes to syncing angles for multiclipping, the timecode is ALWAYS just a little bit off. They are close enough that I only have to change the timecode by a few minutes in order to be in sync, but the problem is that I still have to change it on EACH clip....



Here's my question:

Is there a way I can select all the clips from a particular reel (e.g. camera angle/imported card) and change the timecode on ALL of them at the same time?

As I said, I know this can be done on each individual clip, but this becomes quite tedious very quickly......Is this something that has to be done on import?


*My ingest workflow is AVCHD transcoded as ProRes Proxy in FCP studio 7*



Thanks in advance for any help!
-Mike


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John Pale
Re: Altering timecode for multiple clips...can it be done all at once?
on Nov 20, 2010 at 3:11:24 am

If you change the timecode after ingesting as Pro Res Proxy you will be unable to recapture at a higher resolution later. You should make use of Aux Timecode


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Michael Griggs
Re: Altering timecode for multiple clips...can it be done all at once?
on Nov 20, 2010 at 3:32:07 am

That is true....However, recapturing is not a common workflow for us, and I'm not particularly concerned with it in this case. We specifically use the lower bit of ProRes Proxy rate to save HDD space, as we don't actually NEED the higher rate.

I can't seem to find much about Aux timecode in the FCP manual....How does one use it? The only references are that you CAN use....nothing about how to apply it.

Again, going back to my original question, if aux timecode IS the way to go, can it be applied to multiple clips at once? (rather than each clip one at a time)


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Nick Meyers
Re: Altering timecode for multiple clips...can it be done all at once?
on Nov 21, 2010 at 2:41:32 pm

"Altering timecode for multiple clips...can it be done all at once?"

no.
but there are ways to streamline the operation.

i'll assume you have your clips aid out in a timeline, and each camera's clips are on a specific track.
in that case double click the first clip into the viewer.
you can now jump from clip to clip using the left arrow to jump forward and the right arrow to jump back.

starting on the first clip, open Modify > Timecode.
give this a shortcut if you want to do it quickly.

as for changing the timecode, if you have a constant offset, it's as simple as using that mathematically.
by which i mean you can very simply just type in your offset (+101, or whatever.)


AUX TC
is accessible in the modify TC window,
using that will add more work, probably worthwhile.

once you've set it, "Sync by AUX TC should be an option when making your multiclips

i have to admit there are a few question marks around your workflow.

using Proxy res, with no plan for re-capture is a worry.

your TC is off by "a few minutes"? that's really quite extreme!
you need to synchronise the cameras at the start of each day, and they shouldn't drift by more that a second or two.

you might be interested in this free app from Sphericp FilmTools:
Sequence Liner, it lays out clips in FCP according to their time-codes
http://www.spherico.com/filmtools/


cheers,
nick


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Michael Griggs
Re: Altering timecode for multiple clips...can it be done all at once?
on Nov 21, 2010 at 3:45:45 pm

Thanks for your response Nick... I didn't know that you could simply type in the offset....that would definitely speed up the process. (Why isn't this kinda stuff in the manual??)

As for Aux timecode, I'm still somewhat hazy on the process.... Can you give me more detail on HOW to apply it? or maybe direct me to a tutorial? I've looked both on the COW and in the manual....still coming up short (maybe I just need to look harder!).



In regard to my workflow, I starting using ProRes after upgrading to FCS3, as it now handles AVCHD natively. (We were previously importing as ProRes then converting to HDV....lame, but HDD space is somewhat limited and on a budget.) Since 95% of our delivery methods are simply SD DVD, I figured that using the lower bit rate of ProRes Proxy wouldn't make THAT much difference, and still allows me to use faster render times of the ProRes codec. And I still have my original AVCHD files ready for re-capture (if necessary) and for archival purposes.

Am I missing something on this? I realize that Proxy was intended for use in an Offline-Online workflow....but are there any specific advantages in using straight ProRes (rather than Proxy) besides the higher bit rate? Maybe I should word that question more like this: what advantages are there in using a higher bitrate codec (in general), if that bit rate will ultimately be reducing to mere mpeg-2 DVD quality anyway?


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Nick Meyers
Re: Altering timecode for multiple clips...can it be done all at once?
on Nov 22, 2010 at 3:18:24 am

Hi, Michael.

"what advantages are there in using a higher bitrate codec (in general), if that bit rate will ultimately be reducing to mere mpeg-2 DVD quality anyway?"

i think the best thing you could do would be to do a test.
capture some footage as ProRes, and as Prores LT and Prores Proxy.
or simply use the same ProRes footage in Prores Prores LT and Prores Proxy timelines.
then make some DVDs. can you see a quality difference?
i imagine you would.
especially on the text.

but i really wouldn't know without seeing. i once used a lower res on a music video and it looked better for that project.
if it turns out you do like the proxy look, you can always edit it in a Prores timeline for better text

Harddrive space has never been cheaper, FWIW.


"As for Aux timecode, I'm still somewhat hazy on the process.... Can you give me more detail on HOW to apply it? "

have a look in the Modify TC window. you'll see a field for Aux TC, but you have to check the "Aux TC box first to make it active.

actually, i just learnt something. ticking that box would be a drag,
BUT you can bring up the Aux Reel column in the browser, and give all your clips an Aux reel#

you CAN apply reel# as a batch.
enter it for one clip,
then select the others, and right click in the Aux Reel column, and chose the new reel#

now all those clips have an aux reel#, and now when you go into the Modify TC window, the Aux TC field is active.
so you can use TAB to get to it.

problem is you have to copy the actual TC,
then paste it into the Aux TC field, THEN apply the offset.

a lot of this just a string of shortcuts,
and as such is very easy to program as a macro using a tool such as QuickKeys (i use that for all sorts of things in FCP)
there are other apps, cheaper than quickkeys, but that;s just the one i use.


there is a tool for batch modifying Quicktime TC tracks from Video Toolshed.
http://www.videotoolshed.com/product/42/qtchange

i wonder if it can add the existing TC to the Aux TC track.
or maybe apply an offset???
it doesn't say as much,
but the guy who makes it, Bouke, is approachable, and may consider a request.


the idea of not messing up your existing TC seems important to me.
i know you are in a camera>FCP>final workflow, so it's not important for re-capturing at a higher res,
BUT what if in three years time your clients come back and need something done again, or whatever.
accurate TC means you can deal with that, assuming you have the original cards backed up somewhere.

of course you know your market and workflow better than me. i'm just throwing some ideas out there.


oh, one more thing.
have you had a look at Pluraleyes?
http://www.singularsoftware.com/howto_pe_finalcut.html
that syncs multicam clips based on audio. might work for you .
you can try the demo.


good luck with your projects,
nick


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David Heidelberger
Re: Altering timecode for multiple clips...can it be done all at once?
on Nov 22, 2010 at 7:47:00 am

Hi Michael,

There's a program on my website that batch adds AUX TC to clips based on a constant offset from the main TC track. Look for the Multiclip Offsetter.

If you have two cameras, for example, and one was off by three frames, you would put the first camera through the program and set the offset to 0. That would add AUX TC that matches your regular TC. Then put the second camera through with an offset of 3 (or -3, depending on which direction the offset is), and then you'd have two matching AUX TC tracks and can multiclip based on AUX TC. Of course, if the cameras drift over the course of the day, you'll still have issues, but at least this gets you part of the way.

- David



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Nick Meyers
Re: Altering timecode for multiple clips...can it be done all at once?
on Nov 22, 2010 at 10:11:16 am

Wow, gold cigar material!

nifty tool David.


nick


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John Heagy
Re: Altering timecode for multiple clips...can it be done all at once?
on Nov 24, 2010 at 11:08:04 pm

CatDV has an Offset Timecode tool that will batch offset the TC of movies. The standard version at $90 will do this. One of it's many useful tools.

http://www.squarebox.co.uk/index.html


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