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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
Topics also include Sony's TRV950, VX2000, PD150 & DSR250 family.


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Old April 10th, 2005, 12:08 PM   #1
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PD 150 / 170 Free Run Time Code?

Hey, can I just quickly confirm with those who have PDs whether they feature the Free Run Time Code that the Z1 thankfully has?

I am hopefully filming a concert or two and would like to be able to use one or two cameras in addition to the Z1. As the remote is the same for this and many other Sony cameras I was wondering whether the PD 150 / 170 have this free run time code feature, as they would work perfectly for what I need.

Thanks in advance, Chris
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Old April 10th, 2005, 03:57 PM   #2
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Yes. The PD150 and PD170 have Free-Run timecode modes. Hope this helps,
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Old April 10th, 2005, 04:20 PM   #3
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Yes they do, Chris. All three cameras feature free run timecode. However, the trick is to get them all running in sync. There is no way to "jam sync" the cameras, as is done with true professional level camcorders, such as Betacams, et al. There is a myth that you can start the timecodes on the cameras together by placing them in close proximity, and using one remote controller to start timecode rolling, but I have not been able to set the timecode by using the remote.

This is not to say you can't get the timecode very close on the cameras by gang starting the timecodes. Assuming you all know how to set timecodes on your individual cameras, here's what you do:
In each of the cameras, go into the menu and set "TC RUN" to "freerun."
"TC MAKE" to "PRESET"
In "TC FORMAT" make certain all cameras are set to drop frame or non-drop frame.
Go to "TC PRESET" select "PRESET" and establish your new timecode start, which is usually time of day, but you can make it any time you want. For instance, 08:00:00:00. Then go to "SET" but...
DO NOT PRESS "Set" just yet. Pressing "Set" starts the timecode running.
All three camera operators will now attempt to press "SET" at exactly the same time. Have one do an arbitrary countdown, "Three, two, one, SET" and all press "SET" at the same time. Chances of you all getting exactly in sync are slim and none. However, now roll record on all three cameras and shoot a still camera flash. When you line up the three camera flashes in sync on your NLE, you can can establish the off-set of the camera timecodes, which will only be a few frames at most.

Why not just shoot off the flash at the beginning of the concert and forget the timecode? You can, but if anyone stops taping, even for seconds, you lose your sync point. With the timecode you will always have it, even if you have to change tapes.

Be warned though that the timecode may drift over a period of time, in which case you will have to fiddle with sync in post.

Not perfect, but it should help.

Wayne Orr, SOC
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Old April 10th, 2005, 05:29 PM   #4
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Thank you very much. Why would timecode drift? I would have expected that by now all the internal clocks are pretty damn accurate for many hours!
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