>>I remember doing low budget
features where the Nagra supposedly needed ten seconds of pre-roll
for the time code to work on someone's editing system. Seemed like
every take took forever to get going >>
It is not that the mixer's deck needs that much time to get up to
speed on the set, it is that he is recording the pre-roll necessary
to make the telecine system work.
The importance of enough pre-roll for video transfer can not be
overemphasized. When we are transferring sync footage we have the
Telecine, the playback DAT, one or more video record decks, and
sometimes an additional DAT record deck. The adequate pre-roll on
the location sound allows all these machines to get up to speed
and lock before the edit. If there is not enough continuous timecode
on the audio DAT, the system doesn't have enough time to do this.
It aborts the edit and tries again.
You can trim in the timecode by guesswork, but it often takes two
or three tries. It can add a couple of minutes to each edit. At
4 dollars a minute for average one light time, it really adds up
fast. Six seconds is pretty much the minimum. It can be done with
less, but most telecine colourists prefer six to eight.