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Old March 18th, 2017, 02:55 PM   #1
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syncing sd 664 to 2 Varicams

the producer has just said to me that they will come to shoot with 2 varicams so they want a guide audio wireless to be fed to both the cameras but want all synced togheter, i am going to rent a sd 664, since I have never used it i have just read the manual, for me is unclear how to make the things work simply without ambients lockit boxes and other tools since i have so much stuffs to take care about.
Can I just jam at the beginning of the day and at the break time, with both the cameras?
Can you give me any suggestion please to have the most reliable setup.
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Old March 19th, 2017, 03:31 PM   #2
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Re: syncing sd 664 to 2 Varicams

"the producer has just said to me that they will come to shoot with 2 varicams so they want a guide audio wireless to be fed to both the cameras but want all synced togheter, i am going to rent a sd 664, since I have never used it i have just read the manual, for me is unclear how to "

- The guide audio cam hop has little to do with the TC unless your recording LTC. Jam sync the cameras to the mixers TC and hope for the best. Re-jam at lunch or a break. I don't know how stable Varicams are, but all the devices could drift w/o some sort of gen-lock.
Cam hops to two cameras are easy (one Tx., two or more Rx,s. However most of the new GHz wireless systems don't allow broadcasting, so you would need complete Tx/Rx systems for each cam. Cam-hop audio is fast and easy to sync with PluralEyes. I think the newest edition of PE even adjusts for drift.

Last edited by Rick Reineke; March 20th, 2017 at 09:23 AM.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 09:55 AM   #3
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Re: syncing sd 664 to 2 Varicams

Rent some timecode boxes and a master timecode generator/reader/ as well that you can set timecode on, read on, and compare on. You might not have to use it, but it can help diagnose problems.

For this type of thing, I've done this two different ways:

Rent a timecode box for each camera. Jam each box from the recorder at the start of the day, and then again at lunch. One box goes on each camera.

OR...

Rent a timecode box for each camera and a master timecode generator/reader. This master timecode generator/reader is the timecode master. I then jammed the recorder from this, as well as the timecode boxes. Seems like it isn't necessary, BUT, if there is a problem somewhere, this master timecode generator/reader can be a life saver. You can jam things from it, jam it from other devices, compare frame rates, see drift, and all kinds of neat stuff. I've had these save my rear end and the rear ends of other people on several occasions, thus saving time and keeping blame from going to the wrong place, AND avoiding post problems later.

The catch is you need to know what you are doing, so if you go that route you need to read the manuals and prep all the gear thoroughly and even run a camera test if possible.

My rule of thumb when it comes to timecode is this:
Ultimately, the production sound guy gets blamed for timecode issues that happen on production, when 99% of the time the timecode issues are caused somewhere else. I try to nip that in the bud as soon as possible. Know what you are doing, and solve issues that pop up, and people will call you again for other gigs.
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Old March 26th, 2017, 11:17 AM   #4
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Re: syncing sd 664 to 2 Varicams

Why be renting timecode boxes when each device has it's own locked to sample/frame rate generator ?

Just jam sync the two cameras together then jam sync the timecode in the sound devices.

This is all pro kit so all three timecode generators should hold sync for a good few hours, re jam sync at lunch time and the start of each day shooting.

I have done multi cam shoots on numerous varicams and HD P2 cameras and you just connect the BNC SDI in and outs together to jam sync them together and the same should go for the sound devices.

Timecode is mostly just there for positional information these days.

A basic radio hop to each camera will also be useful if you wish and give each of them the same audio you have on your sound devices.
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Old March 29th, 2017, 04:00 PM   #5
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Re: syncing sd 664 to 2 Varicams

Why rent timecode boxes?

I guess because I've been burned by drifting cameras before. I'd rather rely on gear I know works for me. Whenever there's a timecode sync/drift issue, the sound mixer is the one that gets the call later on down the line.

Betso has a new system out that has a master generator that wirelessly connects to reader boxes. They basically C-Jam wirelessly from the timecode master. If they get out of range they'll free run on their own. But one of these on each camera and you know you'll be good.

Why use timecode at all? Because when syncing picture in picture editorial with sound it's instantaneous when everything is done correctly. Plus, if picture editorial only uses the mix track on a multitrack audio shoot, the assistant dialogue editor can instantly bring in the iso tracks later on if they need to. I'd probably run a reference audio track to camera anyway as a "just in case" if it was budgeted. Yes, it's just positional information, but it's really important, especially on bigger projects. On something really small, like an indy short or corporate thing that doesn't have tons of footage and only one or two audio tracks, it's not as much of an issue. I don't use timecode for anything I do for my product videos or instructional videos because I'm doing everything myself and it just isn't needed. I'm really really simple on my setup, and I do one, maybe two takes with 15 minutes of footage at the most, and maybe some b-roll. However, you start doing multi-camera, like what the OP was talking about, and timecode becomes important and doing it right is REALLY important.

For me, all of this is CYA. Like I said, I've been burned once because of drift, and that was enough for me to not want that to happen. Every time I've been allowed to run timecode the way I want there has never been an issue and everyone was happy.
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