MOTU 828 mkII and XL2 - Timecode and sync at DVinfo.net

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Old January 11th, 2005, 12:27 AM   #1
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MOTU 828 mkII and XL2 - Timecode and sync

Hi there

I've been lent an MOTU 828 mkII and have a Canon XL2. I was wondering if there is some way to sync these two together using SMPTE timecode. I know that the XL2 apparently generates SMPTE timecode when recording to tape and the MOTU can also generate and read SMPTE timecode. Does the XL2 output a signal that the MOTU can recognise for sync?

Basically I want to record my video through the XL2 and leave the MOTU to record high quality multitrack audio. It would be nice if I could sync the two together.

If anyone could help that would be great.

Thanks

Mark
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Old January 11th, 2005, 11:39 AM   #2
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Hi Mark,

This actually came up in another thread awhile back. No, the XL2 does not output any type of SMPTE time code sync....well not directly. There is a device which was linked to in the original thread which can tap into the LANC port and grab the timecode. It then outputs it so that you can sync other devices.

www.spcomms.com/ltcexport

Good Luck!

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Old January 11th, 2005, 12:16 PM   #3
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I've read that not all cameras output their TC from the LanC port during shooting. Some do, but some only during playback. I have no idea about the XL2 and whether it would be successful during a live shoot with this device.
You could record TC from the MOTU onto one of the audio channels of the camera, but that opens up a huge can of worms in several areas.
You can set both devices to Free Run code and start them at the same time. This will keep you within a half-second.
If you lock the MOTU to the video output of the camera so there's no drift, then use a sync marker for precise alignment, an audible call out of camera TC and careful notes, you should be fine.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 07:21 PM   #4
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Hi Jay

I was wondering if you could explain the process to me in detail. I've got a shoot coming up tomorrow and I've been laid on with all this equipment that I'm rather unfamiliar with.

Thanks

Mark
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Old January 12th, 2005, 07:45 AM   #5
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This may be too late for you. I was wrong about the 828 mkII taking video sync directly. (At least that's the consensus I hear)
It takes Word Clock in, which can be derived from video if you have the right converter box. If you can find an old ProTools Video Slave Driver it will make this conversion for you.
Set the 828 and your recording software to run at 16-bit 48k to match what you're recording on the camera. Set both units to Free Run code, with the same starting number and either Drop or Non-Drop code as you prefer. Start them counting together.
If there is any drift it will be minimal. If you change camera batteries or tapes, you'll probably need to set new code to a new starting spot (don't repeat the same code).
Both the camera and the MOTU have to record sound.
Start both devices recording. After they are up to speed, call out the camera timecode.
Use a slate or a hand-clap on-camera to achieve a sync point for alignment in editing.
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Old January 13th, 2005, 10:55 AM   #6
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I've used a MOTU 1224 unit at 48K 24-bit with three other miniDV cams. I just set all of them to record non-stop and aligned them manually in post. It took some time to get it right, but I couldn't detect any drift after one hour of material. I figure digital devices have accurate enough timing crystals that I don't need any extra sync equipment. No it's probably not perfect, but it was good enough for what I needed.

If you're going to be starting and stopping frequently, it may be much more beneficial to lock all of the recording devices together. I'm just saying it can be done without.
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