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Old January 26th, 2008, 11:52 PM   #1
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HPX500 to Tascam HD-P2 Timcode Sync Questions

So I have been doing a bunch of reading and trying to find an answer with no avail.

I'm pretty sure that I'm going to purchase the Tascam HD-P2 at the beginning of this next week. I'm trying to figure out how the timecode thing is going to work with our HPX500's. We've never really had to deal with timecode - we usually just synced via the audio, which I really don't want to do anymore.

I guess I have a few questions here:

1. Will the HD-P2 be synced directly from the HPX500 TC out or do I need a clapper?

2. On the HD-P2, will I need to convert a BNC to XLR for the timecode to work? Or can I go directly to the BNC Video Reference in? (Not quite clear on how all of that works)

3. If there are any Vegas / Raylight users lurking: Is timecode going to be a problem when using this method?

4. can the timecode be synced up and then the HD-P2 be disconnected so long as the audio settings are the same? ie. framerate and drop / non drop frames synced?



I think that's it for now. I would appreciate it if someone can tell me how this works.

Thanks
Kit
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Old January 27th, 2008, 12:27 AM   #2
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if the 500 has TC out, it will be a BNC. you should set the camera to _free_ run TC if you don't plan to stay connected. The camera TC is then usually set to time of day by eyeball, then take the TC out from the camera on the BNC and send it to your recorder with whatever end you need for that. BNC to XLR is actually an OTS adaptor, put it on the end of a BNC cable, XLR on your end.

if you plan to stay connected, you can leave the camera in rec run or regen and it will send out TC when rolling to your recorder. camera should start runnning first for your audio recorder to catch the code.

you can also run it the other way around with the audio recorder being the master and slave the camera taking TC IN. doesn't really matter as long as you do it the same way every time.

once you have TC running on both camera and recorder AND you are in Free Run you should be able to seperate them and they should stay within 1 frame in 8 hrs. if you are nervous, you can re-lock them mid day.

Video Ref IN is basically composite video IN to the camera for locking the camera's video to other video sources/ cameras. this is normally used to sync cameras together when feeding them into a switcher and really has nothing to do with TC. ok... some really a_nal r_etentive types like to lock the cameras with both TC and video sync because without video sync, the cameras can be off a sub frame, but in reality, anyone who can spot sync being off 1/4 or 1/2 a frame gets a gold star. in the real world, no one will every notice.

to be quite honest, unless you work on avid which can auto sync A and V based on TC, a clapper is still the faster / simpler way to go.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 12:29 AM   #3
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Are you shooting NTSC video or 24p HD? For NTSC both camera and recorder should be the same, 29.97 and drop or non-drop.

The BNC in on the P2 is for video sync, not timecode AFAIK.

You can either use TOD timecode on camera and recorder, jamming the P2 to the camera, or you can hard-wire them together and use Record-Run on the camera and External code on the recorder.

Slates may be redundent with TC but it's good idea to get 'em anyway if it's practical.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 02:02 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses guys. For how advanced we are with everything else, many of our guys working with us are former news guys, so they never really had to deal with timecode either.

I imagine I can get an adapter at somewhere like B&H or something, so I will check that out.

So, is this a reasonable timecode workflow?..... Have a digital slate with timecode out running into the timecode in BNC on the HPX500, then running out to the recorder? and what if we're using a second camera in the mix? I imagine we can just loop through and they will all be the same? Will there be any problems with delay on the timecodes down the line? Or is there a better way to do it, like "T"ing off the BNC at the Slate?

Sorry for the million questions, I just like to understand things as much as possible so I don't look like an idiot going in and using them....

Again, thanks for the help. Very much appreciated.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 02:04 AM   #5
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One other question too..... If the source timecode is "jamming" the other timecode, I interpret this as forcing the sources to read the same timecode? Am I correct in doing so? If that is the case, why would you need to re-sync them at some point?

BTW, most of the time we will be shooting 1080 24p for native display.... Every now and again we'll be shooting SD, but it will be few and far between.

Thanks
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Old January 27th, 2008, 02:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kit Hannah View Post
One other question too..... If the source timecode is "jamming" the other timecode, I interpret this as forcing the sources to read the same timecode? Am I correct in doing so? If that is the case, why would you need to re-sync them at some point?

BTW, most of the time we will be shooting 1080 24p for native display.... Every now and again we'll be shooting SD, but it will be few and far between.

Thanks
marketech.com for the BNC > XLR adaptors. when cameras / recorders are in free run, the clocks must be super stable and temp compenstated to stay the same. in this day and age though, they can drift out so syncing every few hours gets them back together again. it totally depends on the design of the TC clock circut and how well its made.

you can use a TC slate as well as the master if you want. it really doesn't matter as long as there is ONE master somewhere that everyone locks to - cam1, cam2, or audio recorder... or slate.

basically TC is an audio signal, so you can get away with a quick T connection if you must. Ideally you DA it like any other A or V signal if there are a lot of sources.

if you loop TC in to TC out, some cameras & VTR's introduce a 1 frame delay. BVW-75's are notorious for this. can't save about the P 500's. the way around this is to set all recorders to free run, sync them from a single source, then shoot.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 05:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kit Hannah View Post
One other question too..... If the source timecode is "jamming" the other timecode, I interpret this as forcing the sources to read the same timecode? Am I correct in doing so? If that is the case, why would you need to re-sync them at some point?

BTW, most of the time we will be shooting 1080 24p for native display.... Every now and again we'll be shooting SD, but it will be few and far between.

Thanks
Yes, "jamming" means connecting your TC master device to a slave so the slave can read the code from the master and set itself in sync. You can then disconnect the two and let each run on its merry way. For safety you should re-jam at least every 4 hours plus after every camera battery change or powerdown.

A quick glance at the camera manual reveals its "24P" frame rate actually shoots at 23.976 FPS but its timecode is output at 30 FPS Non-Drop. This means the NTSC pulldowns and .1% slowdowns have been already applied and "30" is really 29.97. Record your sound at 48kHz, 29.97 Non Drop. The Tascam offers a "30ND" timecode mode but that would be used if the camera was running at a "true" 30FPS frame rate, not the 29.97 the Panasonics do.

How long are the majority of your single takes expected to run? Are we talking about relatively short takes, on the order of < 15 minutes or so, or are we talking about long concert-style shoots where single takes might run to > 1 hour or more? For very long takes there's more to keeping multiple cameras and the audio recorder sync'ed without drift than just jamming timecode. This is where tools like Lockit boxes start to enter the picture.
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Last edited by Steve House; January 27th, 2008 at 06:09 AM.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 08:02 AM   #8
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Here is another tip on time code. When audio is stamped with time code, it's not on the entire file. A broadcast wav file has the beginning time code and little else. When audio and film is sent to telecine they lock the timecode and audio together. For people doing this themselves, this means you're doing it once you place it on your time line. I don't know how other applications work, but in Final Cut Pro, you can align these based on the beginning time codes.

Using a time code slate may seem like a pain, but when all else fails if you have the proper time code in both the camera, slate, and the recorder, you can always fall back on it to help you sync you picture and audio. I've mentioned this once before, but I had lunch with Jeff Wexler (one of the big time sound mixers) when I was in LA this past summer and I was surprised to learn how often major pictures are still sync'd up using the clapper instead of time code.

Ultimately, the key is to have a fall-back. The slate is good way to do that.

Wayne
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Old January 27th, 2008, 10:58 AM   #9
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Great great info guys.

Let me take this one step further. Instead of doing a free run timecode and disconnecting, is it possible to leave everything plugged in so that it will stay synced?

Most of our video that we will be doing will either be 1080 24p, recorded in 30 minutes max segments, or it will be just standard def recording to Nnovia drives. When recording to drives, we wont be using timecode because it will be one continuous take on each of the cameras, and that's easy enough because we can just start them withing a few seconds of each other and line up the audio. Doesn't take too long. My main concern is when we are shooting a lot of our commercials and corporate videos with multiple cameras, and we're doing relatively short takes, starting and stopping recording, etc. I just want to easily be able to go in and line everything up. To line up audio waveform is fine, but the problem with that is that sometimes, when we have a wide shot and a close shot, they may be a few hundred feet away, the close up shot may be where there is a lot of stage monitor audio bleed or getting a nasty slapback off of the buildings (graduations come to mind on this one). So, in those situations, we need to be able to lock video via timecode, so the video is not off by a couple of frames.

Kit
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Old January 27th, 2008, 12:54 PM   #10
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Let me take this one step further. Instead of doing a free run timecode and disconnecting, is it possible to leave everything plugged in so that it will stay synced?
You could do this. If so, your camera is your master for time code, which could create one small issue, that is when it comes time to change batteries, you have to have something to keep track of your time code. This is where boxes like Denecke SB-T and other time code devices come in handy. You can jam the camera ever time you change batteries and then all your devices should stay in sync.

Wayne
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Old January 27th, 2008, 01:07 PM   #11
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yes you can leave the the TC connection in place if you want to, but unless you have a problem with one device having an unstable clock, its not really needed. I'd worry more if your audio recorder runs at speed. I don't think you mentioned which one you are using. there is another thread about some one using a H4 Zoom to record and its not stable over long takes.

also, TC doesn't run at 29.97, at least not according to which ever standards setting body came up with it. TC runs in full frame amounts, not fractional ones which means 24, 25, 30, 50, 60 are valid TC rates. 29.97 isn't. the problem is, usually when you see 29.97 DF its actually 30DF, and 29.97 NDF is 30 NDF. in the case of NDF, if it actually ran at 29.97, it would always equal the true run time. another words wall clock time and TC would stay in perfect sync. as well all know, it doesn't because its really running at 30.

the problem is, some audio apps actually do implement 29.97 TC rate, as well as 30.000! this if course leads to a world of hurt and confusion. if your recorder has both rates, it may be best to seriously RTFM and run some tests of at least 10 minutes, ideally about 30 min. slate the start, slate the end, and see if the match up, and what the TC for each clip is saying at the 2nd slate - do they match or not.

one would think in 2008 that this had all been left behind back in the 60's or 70's, but it hasn't.
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Old January 27th, 2008, 01:13 PM   #12
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You could do this. If so, your camera is your master for time code, which could create one small issue, that is when it comes time to change batteries, you have to have something to keep track of your time code. This is where boxes like Denecke SB-T and other time code devices come in handy. You can jam the camera ever time you change batteries and then all your devices should stay in sync.

Wayne
all cameras have a small internal battery which keeps the TC / daytime clock running. main power battery changes are not a problem. what can and often does happen with especially rental cameras is that the battery is either dead, or missing, in which case in Free Run, the camera will reset its TC to 0 when changing the main battery. OTH, if you use rec run or regen, when the camera puts the tape back on the heads and backrolls a bit to go into record, it will catch the code and continue on assuming it properly pre-rolled and caught recorded tape. if the camera misses, then it will start at 0 again.

the only thing with using the camera as the master is that in rec run or regen, it has to starting rolling first to start sending TC, then roll audio to catch it. in free run, it will put out TC continuously
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Old January 27th, 2008, 02:35 PM   #13
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3. If there are any Vegas / Raylight users lurking: Is timecode going to be a problem when using this method?
Can't say about Raylight (isn't this only in use when you're set to render? if so, no problem), but here is a rough sync workflow for Vegas.

1) In your shoot, consider using free-run and time-of-day. Do some logging if convenient, eg. the take at 3:04pm was a good one. Now, anybody with a watch can do rough shot logging.

2) After capture to computer, pull your first keeper video onto the timeline. "First" meaning shot earliest with lowest timecode.

3) Go to Options | Preferences | Video | Show source frame numbers on event thumbnails as: | and select "Timecode". (you might as well also go to View | Active Take Information so that you can confirm event filenames on the timeline as well.)

4) Look at the timecode label on the first frame of the clip, eg. 03:04:12;05. Send the cursor to that point on the timeline (Ctrl-G, type it in, separating the units with periods, then <enter>), and drop a marker.

5) Zoom out as needed to show the marker and the clip, drag and snap the clip to the marker. Optional - your timeline doesn't need to start at "0". You can take the cursor to the beginning of the timeline and right click on the big timecode display, pull down to Time Code Format | Set time at cursor. In this example you'd probably set it at 03:00:00;00

6) Now, File | Import | Broadcast Wave... and set Arrange | Add across time and Positioning | Use ruler time. You can select multiple files for import at this point.

Done with rough sync. With good attention during the shoot, you may be done with fine sync, too. All the above takes much longer to read about than to do.

If you have fine sync issues (visible lip sync errors), Vegas is one of the BEST tools for dealing with this. Turn off "quantize to frames", DON'T forget to turn this back on before cutting video!!!, select the audio track to be slipped, zoom in a lot, and play a looped sequence. Use the 4 and 6 keys on the numpad to correct. They'll slip left and right by an increment determined by your degree of timeline view zoom.

Final tip - always record reference audio on the camera. A crappy shotgun mic is OK, wired or wireless link from the mixer is the best you can do. One of the easiest tipoffs about sync issues will be an echo between cam audio and 2nd system audio. And, the ear is very sensitive to echo, it can be a great reference for fixing sync as well.

It's an art, but not to difficult to learn.
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Old July 2nd, 2008, 11:45 PM   #14
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HD-P2 23.976 sync issues.

While we're on the subject of the HD-P2 I got some issues that some of you may help me with. I can't seem to sync the HD-P2 to 23.976 at all. I have a Denecke SB-3 sync box and I'm able to jam a TS-3 and Boom Recorder at 23.976. However, the HD-P2 will not sync to that rate. Once I feed it timecode, it catches the time, then the numbers stutters and does not advance and also shows 3 digit frames; really weird. Then if I switch the HD-P2's rate to 29.97ND it cross-jams just fine! And yes I'm sure the Deneke SB-3 is outputting 23.976. Even the user bit on the slate shows 23 after jamming. Is something wrong with my tascam or am I doing something wrong?
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Old July 4th, 2008, 10:27 AM   #15
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I just tried this with an Ambient generator and everything was fine. Are you sure you have both the timecode field set to 23.976 AND the clock source set to LTC?
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