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Old November 25th, 2007, 06:04 PM   #1
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Unable to Locate Time Code: what the ...?

I need some urgent help. Although I've used FC many times, this is my first time using log and capture; usually I just capture the entire tape but this is a large project with a lot of stuff I don't want.

When trying to Log and Capture, or even Capture Clip, I keep getting an error Unable to Locate Time Code and it won't capture. In fact the only way to capture seems to be to take in the entire tape, which I don't want.

I see time code on my HV20 screen and in the time code windows of FC. In fact, I can type in a time and it will move the tape to that time. I don't see any obvious gaps in the time; it doesn't appear to reset to zero each time I turned the camera on and off.

How can this be? If there's no time code present, then why will FC move the tape on command? I've tried different device settings (HDV Firewire, Firewire Basic etc) without success.

Help please, as I really don't want to ingest clips I don't need.

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Old November 25th, 2007, 08:31 PM   #2
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Unfortunately, I think this is why you have to *stripe* a tape first before you record anything to get Log and Capture to work with FC.

The tape is maintaining the time code through the shots, but all stops in recording I believe leave a frame or two of no time code. FC sees this and thinks "ERROR" and won't continue capture.

Even when striped, you do need to give extra lead time for it to capture effectively.... using an extra second on each side for transitions and then another 3-4 secs for FC to "speed up" for some strange reason.

There are some options in the User Preferences to help with dropped frames and such, but I haven't had any luck using Log and Capture to avoid the problem.

You might be doomed to a fate of capturing it all or manually capturing the parts you want....
Kelly OHara is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 25th, 2007, 08:49 PM   #3
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Some possibilities:
1- FCP may have trouble grabbing timecode off the very first few seconds of a tape, and after timecode breaks. Usually is there is a timecode break, the timecode is reset to 00:00:00.00

2- The pre-roll and post-roll settings in the device control settings make a difference. Try making them longer.

3- You should see FCP send commands to your HV20 (flip the LCD screen out) and see it rewind the tape, slowly cue it forward, and then play.

You don't need to stripe your tapes. Try to avoid timecode breaks when you shoot... if you do get them, make a note about that on the tape and there are ways to fix it in post.

EDIT: ACK... I didn't realize this was HDV. One HDV camera I tried can't consistently batch capture... depending on how far the VTR overshoots / how unresponsive the VTR is. Usually if you try a few times it will be able to re-capture. I don't know the solution for that.
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Old November 25th, 2007, 09:10 PM   #4
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Thank you both

Kelly: I can't even capture "clip" for the same reason, the time code error.

Glenn: I'll try looking at the roll settings.

I think the problem is the time code breaks from starting and stopping a lot. It looks to my newbie eye that the code is intact, but that doesn't mean FC is reading it that way. I found one real break...35 minutes into the tape and even trying to capture after that break didn't work. I'm not sure why the camera would have a break there, and not at the dozens of other places I started and stopped.

If worse comes to worse I'll have to capture the entire tape, make sub clips and then delete the crap but that's going to be an awful process.

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Old November 25th, 2007, 11:51 PM   #5
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Hey Bob,

In the User Preferences in FCP, go into the General Tab and turn off the flag "Abort capture on dropped frames" and ensure the option "On Timecode break:" is not set to "Abort Capture"... that should allow you to capture regardless ... I was only able to capture one shot on a tape with the first option turned on... hence the reason I thought you needed to stripe your tapes first.

Generally, I've avoided all of this and just capture the whole thing in iMovie and then edit using the AIC codec... it does the job and functions well enough for the basic projects I've worked on.
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Old November 26th, 2007, 06:45 AM   #6
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Hi Bob,

Firstly, don't stripe MiniDV tapes. It does a lot of harm and no good.

What I've found is that if you're capturing using a camera (as opposed to a deck), you generally have to leave around 10 seconds of "good timecode" before the in/out point. With a deck (which is "better" at going to exact frames), you only have to allow for say 5 seconds. For example, instead of starting the capture at 00:00:00:00, trying starting at 00:00:10:00. Also, if you're manually inputting in and out points, round everything off. Don't start capturing at 00:32:19:11 - instead try 00:32:20:00. That way the camera doesn't have to "search" for that exact frame. Not too sure of this (maybe someone can correct me?), but I'd imagine that as you're shooting HDV, it would also have to start capturing on an "I Frame", so even if you say a specific frame, it may have to start capturing a couple of frame earlier. Also, sometimes your computer "thinks" faster than your camera, so you might have to try a couple of times to get the computer and camera "in sync". Look at the camera's LCD screen and you'll get a good idea of if it's struggling or not (as it will keep fast forwarding and rewinding like crazy).

As Glenn said, on the shoot you should ALWAYS keep an eye on the timecode to make sure you don't accidentally break it. At the very least, just make sure it's OK when you change tapes and batteries. If you do notice a break at the time, just rewind a bit so that the camera remembers where it left off. If you discover it too late, then just make a note. Then when it comes to capturing, you will need to regard every break as a new roll. For example, Tape 1A, Tape 1B, Tape 1C.

But, yeah, don't stripe tapes and ALWAYS make good camera logs.

Hope this helps!

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