How do you get FCP to use the timecode from WAV files off the Zoom H4n? at DVinfo.net

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Old May 28th, 2009, 03:43 PM   #1
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How do you get FCP to use the timecode from WAV files off the Zoom H4n?

I have a Zoom H4n digital audio recorder, and it is supposed to have timecode metadata in the broadcase wave .WAV files that it records. However either the H4n isn't working as advertised, or I can't get Final Cut Pro to recognize the timecode.

Does anyone have any experience with the H4n? I can't find any info on the timecode and FCP anywhere... I saw that someone was having problems getting it working with Sony Vegas so it could be that the files just don't have the BWF header written correctly. But thought I'd see if anyone else has used the H4n and it's timecode support.

Thanks!
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Old May 28th, 2009, 07:43 PM   #2
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Hi Adam:

I am looking through the H4N owners manual. What leads you to believe that the H4N is capable of recording in .BWF format? Same with the TC metadata, the manual makes no reference to TC in the files.

I don't think the H4N has either capability. If it does have some sort of TC capacity, it automatically resets to zero for each clip so I couldn't see too much use for all of those repeating TC values.

Dan
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Old May 28th, 2009, 07:54 PM   #3
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Hey Dan,

Take a look at page 51 of the manual, under "Variety of WAV Files".

Also check out this page, seach for BWF in the page:

H4n Handy Recorder

They both say that the WAV's it records are supposedly BWF compliant and have timestamp and marker metadata.

Adam
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Old May 29th, 2009, 10:49 AM   #4
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Why keep guessing? Ask the manufacturer.
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Old May 29th, 2009, 10:56 AM   #5
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I did already. No response yet to my e-mail and they aren't answering their tech support when I called.
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Old May 29th, 2009, 05:52 PM   #6
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I did already. No response yet to my e-mail and they aren't answering their tech support when I called.
That's not good. I find it interesting that the opening line from their "contact us" page reads: "Catch us if you can". Maybe they meant that literally since they're playing hard to get?? Odd and ironic.
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Old May 29th, 2009, 06:07 PM   #7
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Yeah I'd go with a different piece of gear like a Sound Devices- those rock.

702T Portable Audio Recorder | Sound Devices, LLC

Not cheap but worth every penny.

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Old May 29th, 2009, 07:56 PM   #8
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Well, part of the point of the Zoom H4n is for the built in stereo mics for picking up ambient sounds.

Anyways, even without timecode I can get what I need mostly via the file's timestamp and a little elbow grease.
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Old May 30th, 2009, 11:14 PM   #9
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If you ever want to step-up to a pro-piece of gear but keep the same small-ish form factor, both Noah and I are big fans of the Olympus LS-10. It bested the Zoom in our tests and in the world of compact, stereo "Flash" recorders it's impossible to beat for the price. It also uses ISO standards for file and output types.

And unlike Zoom you'll find Olympus tech support readily available and accessible.
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Old May 31st, 2009, 03:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
If you ever want to step-up to a pro-piece of gear but keep the same small-ish form factor, both Noah and I are big fans of the Olympus LS-10. It bested the Zoom in our tests and in the world of compact, stereo "Flash" recorders it's impossible to beat for the price. It also uses ISO standards for file and output types.
Glancing at the specifications the Olympus is more comparable to the much cheaper Zoom H2. Unlike the Zoom H4n there is no XLR input, no phantom power & no four track recording. Is the sound quality so much better as the functionality does look much less?
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Old May 31st, 2009, 03:45 AM   #11
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Am not working with BWF here, but reading the FCP6 release notes, it states ... Some Broadcast Wave Format (BWF) audio files contain metadata in the evolving iXML format (for details, go to www.ixml.info). If you import a BWF file containing the appropriate iXML metadata, Final Cut Pro can calculate the timecode rate and mode (drop frame or non‑drop frame).

The thing that grabs my attention there is the first word "Some" which seems to suggest that there is room for variation, or perhaps it just means that some BWF files don't have that info (probably more likely). Either way, maybe the Zoom files are out there in variant land? That said, have you tried using BWF2XML? It predates FCP6 and was once th ebest bet for working with BWFs in FCP ... might be worth grabbing the demo and seeing if it is more able to interpret the embedded data you need: BWF2XML - Communicating with BWF and Final Cut Pro XMLs
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 06:45 PM   #12
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The folks at Zoom finally fixed this BWF problem with the H4n. The new firmware released a couple weeks ago, version 1.40, fixes the timestamp info in the BWF WAV files.

I tried it out, it works. FCP recognizes the timestamp info and displays the media start & media end timestamps as expected (that is, as time of day when the file recording started/ended).

Markers work too -- if you make markers when you're recoding with the H4n then they'll show up in apps that support it. FCP doesn't seem to, but iZotope RX showed them.
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