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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old December 20th, 2004, 09:33 PM   #1
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XL-2 timecode and tapes

I'm off to do assist with shooting a digital feature in a couple of weeks and need to get clear on a couple of concepts.

Do I need to change any settings on the camera when I put new (never used) tapes in for recording new footage?

The real question is how do I manage timecode for a multi-tape project? I am very comfortable with creating and managing digital content outside of timecode and this is really the first time I've had to seriously consider it at all.

Our workflow may take us into an Avid - or maybe Final Cut Pro. I figure having tapes is a good way to ensure we can pull timecode, but how to keep the tapes discrete and separate from each other with regards to their timecode? We will also be recording to disk with DVRack and will be able to use that to preview and check takes and to use for continuity .

Any links or comments would be vastly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old December 20th, 2004, 09:45 PM   #2
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Read my article, "Using Free Run Time Code as an External Sync Substitute for XL2 Multi-Camera Shoots" -- even if your shoot does not involve multiple cameras, there's still some good info in there regarding tape identification via camera-set userbits. Hope this helps,
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Old December 20th, 2004, 09:58 PM   #3
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That's very helpful, thanks. Am I right in thinking that I'll need to manually set the userbit for each tape? I looked at the userbit controls and they did not really make all that much sense to me.
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Old December 21st, 2004, 01:49 AM   #4
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The user bit section of the XL2 manual did not make much sense to me before, and I could not see what the user bit was for at all. Thanks to Chris Hurd for that article, I think I get it now.

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Old December 21st, 2004, 08:23 AM   #5
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The user bits are simply an arbitrary labeling system which you are free to use in any way you wish. There's no single correct way to use them. Come up with any naming convention you wish.

For each of the eight digits available in the user bits, you can set any number from 0 to 9 or any letter from A to F (this is the hexidecimal numbering system that computer users should be familiar with already). You don't have to use all eight places -- maybe your own labeling convention uses only two or three or four of those eight bits. Since they're set one at a time from left to right by toggling the little menu select wheel, you might find it easier and faster to leave all those zeroes to the right.

The "cleared" user bit setting is:

00 00 00 00

You can use one, two, or however many you want:

1A 00 00 00

Or use all of 'em if you wish:

04072005

That number above might stand for July 4th, 2005. But like my article says, these numbers can stand for just about anything you want. Just try to be consistent so you don't confuse yourself, like I do all the time.
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Old December 21st, 2004, 01:05 PM   #6
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You may want to use Preset timecode rather than Regen, which will give you a continually-ascending timecode as you shoot. If you use Regen (which is the default) then every time you put in a new tape the timecode will re-set to 0:00:00:00. With Preset it will continue where the last tape left off, giving unique identifying timecode to all shots.

(caveat: that's how it works on the DVX, I'm 99% sure that's how it works on the XL2 as well, so you might want to double-check before taking my word for it).
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