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Old January 2nd, 2004, 02:03 PM   #1
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Timecode?

What exactly is it? I hear about people complaining about gaps in their timecode sometimes but I dont know what it is or what its used for?
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Old January 2nd, 2004, 02:12 PM   #2
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Use the search function. This has been answered many times in the past. Use the link in my signature or use the button in the upper right corner of this window. This post will help get you started.
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Old January 3rd, 2004, 05:06 PM   #3
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Dustin, basically, every frame has a number embedded, and it's called time code because it counts in hours, minutes, seconds and frames. If you look at the suggested post it tells you about the different time codes (DF, NDF). Time code allows you to keep easy take sheets, manually or electronically, and to log your footage into your editing system. When the editing system goes to grab a scene, it does so by looking for the time code numbers. If you look at the edit list of a completed program, it will show you every in and out point in time codes. You can't really edit seriously without time code.

Gaps in the time code on a tape do, indeed, drive editors nuts and make batch digitizing or capturing more difficult. Proper tape handling procedures will eliminate the gap problem. All you have to do is record a few seconds extra at the tail of each shot, and if you rewind your tape to watch it, or take it out and put it back in at a later date, all you have to do is make sure you back up into that throwaway rundown before you start recording again. That way the camera will pick up the time code where it stopped (or in the case of many professional cameras, you have to reset the time code to pick up with the next frame). With non professional cameras, if you do not rewind into a recorded section of the tape, the camera resets itself to zero, which means that you could have several different parts of the same tape with the same time code, making your take sheets meaningless and causing the editor to utter obscenities about the heritage and capabilities of the cameraman.
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Old January 3rd, 2004, 11:37 PM   #4
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Okay thanks.
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Old January 4th, 2004, 12:05 AM   #5
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What about blanking tapes? Like, recording an hour in a quiet room with the lens cap on? Wouldn't that eliminate timecode problems? Or is there a loss of quality if you record over a tape twice?
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Old January 4th, 2004, 12:49 AM   #6
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What about blanking tapes? Like, recording an hour in a quiet room with the lens cap on? Wouldn't that eliminate timecode problems? Or is there a loss of quality if you record over a tape twice?
Blanking tapes removes the problem of broken timecode.

Is there a loss of quality if you record over a tape twice? If you don't re-use tapes, then practically speaking there is no difference.

These kinds of issues have been thrashed out in the threads in the Long Black Line forum.
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Old January 4th, 2004, 12:33 PM   #7
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Blacking tapes will do it, but it's a waste of time and puts unnecessary wear and tear on the tapes as well as your camera heads. It's a lot easier to not be lazy in the first place and always put a few seconds of tail on your last shot and back up into it before you start recording again.
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Old January 4th, 2004, 08:29 PM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Glenn Chan : Blanking tapes removes the problem of broken timecode.

Is there a loss of quality if you record over a tape twice? If you don't re-use tapes, then practically speaking there is no difference.

These kinds of issues have been thrashed out in the threads in the Long Black Line forum. -->>>



As far as I know, there should not be any loss in quality since the signal is digital. Then again, I could be very wrong.
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Old January 5th, 2004, 02:54 PM   #9
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There's no loss in recording quality, but every time a tape is re-used, there's a chance for wear and dropouts to occur.
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Old January 6th, 2004, 12:55 AM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Bill Pryor : There's no loss in recording quality, but every time a tape is re-used, there's a chance for wear and dropouts to occur. -->>>

Any estimates on how many re-recordings a minidv tape can take?
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Old January 6th, 2004, 03:01 PM   #11
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I don't have a clue. Sony claims something like 150 (I can't remember for sure) on DVCAM tape, but those types of claims are based on recording on a pristine machine, most likely located in a clean room with not a spec of dust for miles around. The only time I reuse tapes are for recording voice overs and transferring footage from other formats, and sometimes for shooting artwork and things like that. I've used these worktapes for up to maybe a dozen passes and haven't seen any droupouts or other problems. However, for serious shooting, I always use new tapes. I've been using DVCAM tapes for over 3 years now and I've never seen a dropout. I have seen dropouts on miniDV tapes that some clients have brought me. In most cases these tapes came from consumer rather than professional camcorders.
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Old January 12th, 2004, 11:50 PM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by James Duffy : What about blanking tapes? Like, recording an hour in a quiet room with the lens cap on? Wouldn't that eliminate timecode problems? Or is there a loss of quality if you record over a tape twice? -->>>

instead of blanking the tape by putting the lens cap on (which i thought is supposed to be bad for cameras. please correct me if i'm wrong,) why not just record black tape off of adobe onto the camera, i think it would be much cleaner.
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Old January 16th, 2004, 12:59 PM   #13
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I can't really argue with Bill about always putting a tail on your footage. That is a habit I must drill into myself!

But as a novice trying my silly best to be creative, I've managed to dork up that process often enough to decide that I'll place color bars on the entire tape.

Using color bars rather than black makes it easier to tell at a glance that the tape is ready for use. When shooting, I cue up as closely as possible to the end of the last recorded video. So, if there are more than 2-3 seconds of color bars after it, I know I'm REALLY at the end of the recorded material...yup, I've accidentally recorded over stuff I would have wanted to keep. This way, it is almost Pete-proof.

I like Shaya's idea of just exporting black video (or my preference, color bars) straight out of the NLE for the timecoding. Think I'll try that! That way I can use my old ZR-10, which I don't think generates color bars, to timecode the tape. I do agree strongly that it is not a great idea to double the wear on the heads of a good camera by routinely laying timecode with it.

I understand the concerns some express about drop-outs by recording twice on a tape, but personally haven't seen any problems doing this in the dozen or so tapes I've "blacked" before shooting. FWIW, I use 63 minute Panasonic Professional Level tapes ($4 at Zotz...cheaper than consumer level tape off the rack at Fry's!).

If you shoot both in-camera 16:9 and 4:3, be aware that there can be timecode breaks when switching formats on the tape. Using a Canon ZR-10 and Premiere 6.x, there were unavoidable breaks in timecode when switching the camera from narrow to widescreen modes (or vice versa) between scenes, which caused me grief while capturing. The Premiere 6.x manual did warn about this problem and advised against mixing formats on the same tape. I haven't messed with this using my current set up of GL2 and Premiere Pro, though.

Also, make sure to not record any actual material in the first or last 30-60 seconds or so of the tape. The NLE may lose the timecode during capture if it has to bump right up to one end or the other of the tape while cueing. It has also been said that there are more drop-out in the ends of tape because of the edge of the sheet from which the tape is cut is more likely to have flaws...avoiding the edges is supposedly what makes the difference in the "pro" tapes vs consumer tapes.

Also, 90 minute tapes are physically thinner (per specs on the Panasonic web page) than shorter duration tapes, so I don't use them because I suspect they might be more prone to drop outs.

More long-winded than I intended, but hopefully a help.
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