Timecode XLH1 > 744T advice appreciated at DVinfo.net

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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old April 29th, 2007, 07:01 AM   #1
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Timecode XLH1 > 744T advice appreciated

Hi, I'm going to use timecode to syncronise the XL H1 with a Sounddevices 744T recorder and wonder if there is anything special to think about to not mess it up later when editing in FCP.

I will use one Black Box video timecode sender at the camera connected to TC OUT (www.blackboxvideo.com) and one receiver at the recorder (connected to TC IN).

Filming will be carried out (25F, PAL) during three weeks with many short cuts. Sometimes the recorder will not be used but rather the camcorder audio only.

I don't have enough time to work out this in beforehand due to late equipment. So perhaps you experienced here can give me some input to get it working flawlessly.

1. Could I use Timecode REC RUN PRESET at the camera and set the hours to the roll number (1-24)?

2. Could I set the 744T to "Ext TC/cont - Auto Record" to automatically start recording when the timecode starts from the XL H1 and also run from the internal timecode if the wireless gets a dropout?

3. Is there anything else to think about like pre-roll etc? How long will it takes from the camera runs in record until the audio track on the 744T is jammed OK?

4. What should I do if I would like to save some location sound without using the camera? Select a roll No. which is not used by the camcorder?

5. Is it best to record one mono track for each audio channel or one polyphonic track containing all selected channels in one file?

I would appreciate to know what to do or not to not get any bad surprises later. Thanks /Johan
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Old May 5th, 2007, 06:19 AM   #2
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Maybe some help

Hi Johan we use the XLH1 and a 702T witch is the little sister of the 744T.
Note that we have not evaluated this method just yet and might do things in another way later.
Our setup is a XLH1 and a timecode cable that connetcts the camera with the 702T, we want to use a wireless system but have not had the time to try something out, your setup works out fine please let us know. We use the timecode generated by the camera and we record a mixed signal from the 702T on one of the soundtrack on the tape.

The 702T is set to start recording when the camera starts to record. We have noticed that when the camera is set to standby the 702T records a short segment witch is kind of annoying. The 702T is set up to store each recorded segment in a folder that has the same name as the tape. When switching tapes the 702T is manually set to switch folders.

When we import it into FCP we use http://www.spherico.com/filmtools/BWF2XML/index.html to sync the material. This workaround should not be necessary in FCP 6 but we have not been able to test this. We have noticed that often the timecode of the audio files are 3 frames off sync.

Our sound technician (Jonas) answer your questions below:

1. Could I use Timecode REC RUN PRESET at the camera and set the hours to the roll number (1-24)?

Jonas: Sure, why not? But also, create a new folder on the 744T with the take number, its easier, I think, than to have ALL the files in on folder at the end of the shoot.


2. Could I set the 744T to "Ext TC/cont - Auto Record" to automatically start recording when the timecode starts from the XL H1 and also run from the internal timecode if the wireless gets a dropout?

No, not at the same time, at least not the 702T, that we're using. I've passe your question on to someone who is using the 744T a lot, Hopefully he will have a better answer.

3. Is there anything else to think about like pre-roll etc? How long will it takes from the camera runs in record until the audio track on the 744T is jammed OK?

If you use "Ext TC", the pre-roll function is switched of, Otherwise it would overlap between takes. My guess is that sometimes, it takes 3 frames from the camera record buttonsd is hit, to the jam is ok, but not always... :-)


4. What should I do if I would like to save some location sound without using the camera? Select a roll No. which is not used by the camcorder?

I would create a folder called something completly different like "location sound" or something and then record away. Depending on how you're ging to work in post production with the location sound, you should consider switching to internal timecode, if yo uactually need timecode in your location soundfiles. Talk to your mixer BEFORE the shoot.

5. Is it best to record one mono track for each audio channel or one polyphonic track containing all selected channels in one file?

We do one mono track for each channel, but I guess it's a matter of taste. once again, check with the postproduction people how your DAW handles polyfonic files.

Also, if you have any desperate questions, pleas contact me on (marionettfilm@telia.com)
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Old June 11th, 2007, 06:04 AM   #3
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Annoying stray timecode from XL H1 - software flaw

Hello Oskar,
Nice to meet a Swedish XL H1 user here! Thank you for your advice.

We have the setup with XL H1 and a Sound Devices 744T running with timecode from the XL H1 transmitted to the 744T via a wireless link.

It seems to work! However,

It creates an annoying garbage sound file of about 3 seconds each time the camcorder is switched on or off. And also if the camcorder shuts down in standby mode or wakes up from standby.

I guess it comes from the XL H1 while it is locating and tensioning the tape! The camcorder outputs some stray timecode which triggers the 744T because it thinks the camcorder is rolling when the timecode changes!

Rather annoying to get three sound files for each take!

Anybody else who believes this is a design flaw by Canon? Could we ask Canon for an software upgrade?

Do other camcorder work in the same manner or is this something special for the XL H1 which could be an issue for warranty repair?
Thanks, Johan
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Old June 11th, 2007, 07:09 PM   #4
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Johan,

I'm not 100% on this but I don't think it's a design flaw so much as it is a way to keep the time code on the tape from breaking.

ON most camera's that use tape, when the camera is turned off or goes into standby the tape heads dis-engage from the tape. In order to reingage the heads at the right point the camera has to do a quick review 9usualy it rewinds the tape about 3-5 seconds back and plays it forward to then cue up the exact moment where the previous take ends. I suppose canon could turn off the time code out at this moment but then wouldn't you lose timecode at your audio source?
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Old June 12th, 2007, 02:33 AM   #5
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Hi Nick,
Thank you for your answer. I agree with you about the reason why the camcorder rewinds to find the break.
But I think it should be much better if the time code was muted while the camcorder is locating the break or lifting the tape.
While the camera is put to rest the time code stops. So we need to begin a new take later anyway so I see no problem if the time code should be muted during the video tape location.
Maybe we have somebody with another opinion here or how are you working?
I probably have to learn more about different workflows with time code involved like:

1. Separate audio to one camcorder for each take. Time code feeds from camera to audio recorder with eventual auto start/stop of audio. (Situation above.)

2. Recording live event with one camera and separate audio. Continous audio but camera is moved now and then and/or tape changed. Better to feed time code from audio to camera to get one continous timecode?

3. Multi camera setup. Time code from recorder to all cameras?

But this should probably be discussed in a new thread in a different chapter ... Thanks /Johan
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Old June 12th, 2007, 08:07 AM   #6
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I think I understand the request for a mute, but I have a feeling that the majority of people would have no need for it. What we've done in the past with multi cam is use a time code generator (master clock) which provides us genlock and timecode to all of our cams. I think if you were running seperate timecode into the camera and the audio portion you won't have an issue.

I do see the problem with wanting something in recrun, instead of free run though. Wish I had an option there for you.
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