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Old July 25th, 2012, 08:02 PM   #1
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Auto Sequencing using Timecode

Hi Premiere Peeps

So I am currently using Avid Media Composer and my workflow is shooting on DSLR's. Once shot I add the timecode using Qtchange so all the files now have timecode. In Avid I would simply highlight Camera A's footage and tell Avid to Auto Sequence it, which then it creates at timeline using the very first clips timecode and lay down the remaining clips at the actual times, so my timeline has gaps etc..and then I would do the same with Camera B & C and then just lay down the footage on a separate video track, this means all my footage is now in sync and I can visually see exactly where I recorded the clips.

I really like some of the new features on Premiere CS6 and had been thinking of moving to it but I can not find a way to do what I have been doing in Avid, I tried searching on forums and blogs and all I can find is only being able to sync 2 clips and not multiple clips and no options to use timecode to create sequences, seems that even on the Adobe forum a few people have asked about similar and no solution.

I am hoping maybe someone here has a solution
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Old July 26th, 2012, 05:25 AM   #2
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Re: Auto Sequencing using Timecode

Unfortunately placing the clips on the timeline with the gaps is not possible in Premiere Pro (another case when this program could use some scripting possibilities).

You could try this hack:
Select all the clips you need, then choose "create multi-camera sequence" and synchronize by timecode. It will do what you want, but it will put all the clips on separate tracks with proper gaps. Not viable for numerous clips. Then copy the clips and paste them in another sequence.

Alternatively, you can sort your clips by the timecode in the project window by clicking on the "timecode" column, then select the clips from top to bottom (important, the order of selection matters) and either drag them to the new icon or right click and select "New sequence from clip".

But it will only sort the clips and not create the gaps.
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Old July 26th, 2012, 08:05 AM   #3
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Re: Auto Sequencing using Timecode

I'm not quite clear on your circumstances. Am I understanding that you have:

- three DSLRs, call them A, B, and C, that don't natively have timecode

- random duration of clips and gaps between clips for each camera, let's label clips for each camera numerically, eg 1, 2, 3...

Are you trying to:

- CASE 1: splice together one continuous long form timeline (eg a concert or public address) using different cameras to cover gaps between clips as each camera reaches its clip duration. I'm not really familiar with Qtchange so I don't know how your are assuring that clips 2, 3... for each camera have the exact correct timecode, but for this case I'll assume you have done so. Solution for this case is to place a transparent clip in a track for the length of your program and assign it a continuous timecode. Make sure that track is selected by clicking to highlight it in the track header at the left. You can then sync multiple clips on multiple tracks by timecode to that synthetic "master" timecode track. As long as clips overlap at all (which they will since the synthetic track has timecode for the duration), they will synch up to the highlighted track.

- CASE 2: same as above but there are gaps where none of the 3 cameras was running, so the duration of the gap would be unknown since they don't have timecode natively. In this case I don't quite understand how you'd assign the proper timecode to clips 2 or later because you wouldn't know the exact length of the gap.

- Case 3: doing short scene takes with all cameras running, and each scene can have its own timecode that doesn't have to be tied to previous or subsequent takes (eg a short film). In this case, just put A1, B1, C1 clips on tracks in a sequence and synch them. Do the same for A2, B2, C2. You can do that within one sequence or give each take (1, 2, 3...) its own sequence and then nest the sequences in a master (best practice).

Pending a better understanding of the exact road block, that's the best I can do.
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Old July 26th, 2012, 06:22 PM   #4
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Re: Auto Sequencing using Timecode

@Bart, thanks for the response, thats what I figured so far.

@Pete Wow thanks for the detailed response, so yeah Qtchange adds the timecode from the date/time the file is created, I basically sync all the camera times before a shoot so yeah not 100% but still a lot easier to sync than trying to use Pluraleyes (especially if say one camera is too far to actually get audible audio) . Usually the sync may only be out a few frames which then I can simply adjust the whole video track and its done.

I have attached an image to show you how my timeline looks after the basic sync I described.

I think you have Case 1 correct, but I did try to do what you said, one thing I couldn't do is assign a timecode to the transparent clip, when I select modify the timecode option is greyed out.

also I tried grabbing a long clip with timecode and then grabbing the shorter clips on a 2nd video track but I could only syncronise one clip at a time, rather than highlighting all the short clips and syncing it in one go which is what Bart described.
Attached Thumbnails
Auto Sequencing using Timecode-timeline.jpg  

Last edited by Peter Szilveszter; July 26th, 2012 at 07:00 PM.
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Old July 26th, 2012, 10:05 PM   #5
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Re: Auto Sequencing using Timecode

Ah, sorry, you are right. Similar to DSLRs, the synthetic clips don't have embedded timecode. As best I can tell, there is no one-click way to synch these multiple clips from multiple cameras. It would be wonderful if all clips on a sequence could be aligned to the sequence timecode, but alas it is not so in CS6. BTW, it is a bit of a hidden feature, but you can change the starting timecode of the sequence by right-clicking the name of the sequence in the tab of the timeline window and selecting "Start time..."

The easiest work-around I can think of is to create a single file with timecode of a greater length than your projects will be. Perhaps Qtchange can do that; otherwise, I just verified that a sequence with nothing but a transparent clip could be exported to an MXF file with timecode. Once imported, the MXF file (or whatever file format you prefer that contains timecode) can have an opacity of zero if for any reason it needs to be on any track other than V1.

The kicker for projects like yours is that although you can synch clips from any number of tracks, only one clip per track can be selected at a time. Unless there is a trick that I'm not aware of, that means with many short clips on a given track you'd have to repeat the synching operation an equal number of times. Also, Premiere uses overlay when synching, so you have to be very cautious to not accidentally move a clip on top of another on the same track when doing the synch.

Again, sorry, but as best I can see, at this point there isn't a no-brainer way to do all that synching. I guess it gives the software engineers at Adobe something to work on for CS7, eh?
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Old July 26th, 2012, 11:18 PM   #6
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Re: Auto Sequencing using Timecode

Thanks Pete, its nice to know I wasn't just going mad thinking that I was missing something. I so wished they had this, I know I could do the sync in Avid and then just bring in that timeline but defeats the purpose of editing only on CS6, ah well, I continue to just use After Effects in conjunction with Avid for the fancy post work and hopefully Adobe gets their act together and add this very simple feature, as Bart said even just a script would be cool.
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