Published : 21st February 2005
I shot with a Varicam this past week (though I'm guessing most, if not all, pro cameras operate the same way). Shot most of tape 1 with timecode preset to hour 1. Went through subsequent tapes and then the director wanted to finish up shooting with what we had left on tape 1.
I thought I could simply hit the lens return button to pick up from the hour 1 timecode where we left off, but it didn't work. I flicked switches and scrambled through menus in hopes of figuring it out but to no avail, so continued at hour 0 with a timecode break (which I mentioned to the director and noted on the label, mind you).
Embarrassingly, I'm sure this is "Pro Video Cameras 101", but I had never run into this situation before (yes, I know, ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law), and besides, the DVX-100 picks up the timecode when you hit the REC CHECK button…
[ weak grin’s ]
Cinematographer / DIT
Dan Coplan says :
class="style9">>"I thought I could simply hit the lens return button to pick up from the >hour 1 timecode where we left off, but it didn't work."
I do this a lot on the SDX900, don't know if they operate the same, but there's a menu function that determines what the RET button does (you can hook up a video source to the Genlock In and hit this button to see "Program" or a second camera in the viewfinder).
Maybe it's not set properly. Also, something that's a bit confusing is that when you hit RET, and it rolls back a couple seconds, plays forward and stops at the original point (you did cue the tape up so that you were sitting on the tail end of some program material, not on blank tape, right?), the timecode displayed doesn't actually change over to that continuous number until you hit record.
Not the most confidence-inspiring feature. And again, these are SDX900 things, but I figured they might be similar.
Gordon T. Highland
Sprint University of Excellence
On Sony cameras, pressing the return button will regenerate the TC if the TC select switch is set to REGEN, but not when set to PRESET. I suspect there's a similar function on Panasonic cameras.
Randy Miller, DP in LA
class="style9">>On Sony cameras, pressing the return button will regenerate the TC if >the TC select switch is set to REGEN, but not when set to PRESET
You're talking about the physical switch on the side of the camera? Because there is no PRESET switch on the Varicam or SDX-900, but I think I found the answer. Similar, but through software vs. hardware.
There's a menu item in the "TC/UB" menu called "FIRST REC TC". If set to REGEN, this should continue the timecode where it left off. If set to PRESET, it starts timecode from what the preset timecode is. I haven't tested this yet, but I believe that's the answer.
class="style9">>There's a menu item in the "TC/UB" menu called "FIRST REC TC". If set >to REGEN, this should continue the timecode where it left off.
[This discussion centres around techniques to avoid a break in time code when re-loading tapes. There seems to be a (false) underlying assumption that a break in time code is a "fatal error".]
This discussion is conveying the false impression that an occasional break in time code (when reloading tapes, etc.) is intolerable. Time code breaks are in fact common and unavoidable.
(Indeed : There is a common (if not universal) technique in multi-camera shooting where "free running" code is "jam synced" to all the cameras, which are then turned loose to record a concert or other such event. Obviously, the time code will break---with a considerable gap---each time the cameras roll, since the time code is running when the cameras may not be.)
What to do :
If time code is broken, (due to tape reloads, "free run" live recording techniques, etc.) all you have to do is manually set the time code generator a few seconds past the end of the last take, and "Pre-roll" (Roll) 6 to 10 seconds of extra tape at the head of the shot. This will more than give the editors the 2 to 5 seconds of "Pre-roll" commonly used in edit sessions to allow the tapes to lock for editing, or non-linear transfer sessions.
By the way: In "free-run" time code settings, same thing: Just roll 6 to 10 seconds extra at the head of each new camera roll (or "take" if you prefer that term) to lay down a little fresh code for the edit folks.
Video Engineer, USA.