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Diego Sanchez

TIMECODE - TCBuddy vs Ambien Lockit

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So I have been following very closely the development of that miracle 'all together' metadata protocol from various companies, and after the release of the new products from Ambient, TimecodeBuddy and Denecke, i believe a discussion is in order, hopefully even with a bit of input from the manufacturers themselves. 

 

So firstly we have a the TimecodeBuddy system. Some of you already using it, and apparently quite robust (900mhz and 2.4g transmission). Now they partnered with MovieSlate and Denecke. I love the fact that you can send metadata to the slate and other MovieSlate apps, but I don't see any integration with any recorder yet. I have been playing with MovieSlate recently, and although more complete than the CL-wifi or WaveAgent in terms of sound report creation, it lacks control of the unit and/or inputing of metadata directly into the files. I don't know how important that is for you or editors, but i like the fact that when inputing metadata on any of the Sound Devices apps, it adds this metadata directly to the files, not just the sound report. It means that if the sound report disappears, you can still create it back from the files. Also, it means entering scene and take only on one unit (we know sometimes we barely even have time for that!)

 

And then in Ambient. Obviously their lockit boxes have been around for a while and we can agree they do their job exceptionally well. And now they have integrated ACN into all of their products. Again this means sharing of metadata over wifi, from the app, to the slate and to the receivers. But (just on paper for now) they are talking about an app that can not only input metadata and notes into the network while creating a sound report, it will also be able to control the sound devices 788t and input metadata directly.

Also they have teamed up with Arri and are claiming compatibility with other cameras too.

 

I guess there is no real question here, more of a 'what do you think of each' 'which one would you go for'?

It's a bit of a shame again we have a war of formats, rather than a collaboration to achieve integration, but then again it is an industry and not a charity.

 

Any comments on the systems, corrections or speculations are welcome and so is any 'extra' info the manufacturers want to add to convince us ;)

 

Hope all of you have a big post-NAB hangover... as I couldn't get one

Best

 

Diego Sanchez

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I think the Zaxcom ERX2TCD should probably be added to the list, as it has mostly similar functions, plus it adds audio.

Also, as a small side-note, I don't think Ambient has teamed-up with Arri as such, it's probably more a case of buying/licensing the  technology. Just as Sound Devices did for their recorders. I am assuming all this, though. But in that regard it makes sense that ACN integrates really closely with the Sound Devices recorders. 

 

For me, Ambient have the edge for now, because of their tight integration with the recorder I'm using and the need to only enter the data once. That's a huge time-saver. They also have the added advantage of Metadata integration with (some) cameras and the somewhat more open format they are apparently employing.

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Boomboom   

Same mental debate here recently.

Also same opinion that the ACN has got the edge for the same reasons (metadata in files, not just a nice looking sound report).

I almost resurrected an older post from 2012 yesterday that was partly about that :D ("Sound report writer vs movieslate" thread)

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I love that these integrated systems are starting to flourish. I would love either, or both, to have the ability to control metadata information from a single source on both camera and recorder. Personally, I also see Ambient as the one with the leading edge.

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Boomboom   

TCBuddy is really nice for DSLR/C300/etc shoots where "the smaller the better" imo. And that slate from Denecke is awesome. The fact that their up'n'coming miniRX (NOT the TRX... The RX) is so small and can Genlock cams is awesome for multi-cams shoots. Unfortunately, the TinyLockit from Ambient can't.

But on the other hand, if you look at the whole system, I think Ambient got it right, really right so far.

If MovieSlate had the ability to communicate with recorders to enter metedata right there in the files, I guess Ambient would have a hard time; especially here in americas where Denecke already has a big part of the market.

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TJW   

...... But (just on paper for now) they are talking about an app that can not only input metadata and notes into the network while creating a sound report, it will also be able to control the sound devices 788t and input metadata directly........

 

Diego Sanchez

 

You say 'just on paper for now'. The new Lockit Script app is rebranded from the German EasyScott system that has been in use in Germany on films and episodic drama for two years now. It has had a very good and successful trial and is certainly a long way from 'just on paper'. There is another Ambient logging app on its way and I reckon it will end up supporting more brands than just Sound Devices that uses the Ambient Beetle on a 788T that can be used stand alone or can be integrated to the network. Things are moving fast.

 

Tim

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Flipstar   

I'm a TCB user and of course right after NAB I'm starting to rethink my loyalties.  ;D

 

Sound Devices seems to have been licensing their tech to Ambient and I can't blame them due to them using Ambient for their TC technology for how many years now.

 

I think what some of us have been waiting for is recorder integration into MovieSlate. It's tough entering metadata twice, and some of us have resorted to exporting the CSV from the recorder and importing back into MovieSlate at the end of the day.

 

The question is, "Is Sound Devices putting all their eggs in a basket with Ambient or are they willing to license out to other 3rd parties?" I love Ambient's products but after seeing the UI design for Tonmeister and the various other apps I suddenly realize why MovieSlate along with its various plugins are not free. The fact that PureBlend (who makes MovieSlate) specializes in app programming and UI design is what makes that app what it is. 

 

I'd definitely pay a lot more for a MovieSlate 788T plugin over an Ambient Tonmeister 788T plugin from what I've seen from those screenshots. If anything, I hope PureBlend has tried to open some dialogue with Sound Devices about the potential there. I would definitely pay a lot more for that 788T plugin with MovieSlate than what Ambient is offering theirs for.

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flip: " The question is, "Is Sound Devices putting all their eggs in a basket with Ambient or are they willing to license out to other 3rd parties?" "

well, that is a business question, but, pardon me, what exactly is SD licensing to Ambient (let alone that they are not licensing to others..?

I'm not even certain Ambient is licensing anything to SD or even ARRI, I believe they are pretty much just supplying the SMPTE/EBU TC subsystems.

 

that question is like this one: Is WISYCOM putting all of its (North American) eggs in just two baskets with Trew+Gotham, or are they willing to sell their products through other dealers ..?

Edited by studiomprd

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Boomboom   

Got the same impression (they provide TC and that's it) BUT the integration of the CL-Wifi plugin for the Beetle unit +Tonmeister app makes me think also they might have concluded an agreement somewhere...

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Boomboom   

I'm hearing the first TCBuddy MiniRX units have been sent to dealers in Americas... As for the price I read !$800! ... To confirm with dealers...

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TJW   

Got the same impression (they provide TC and that's it) BUT the integration of the CL-Wifi plugin for the Beetle unit +Tonmeister app makes me think also they might have concluded an agreement somewhere...

The Ambient Beetle works in place of CL wifi. Sound Devices must have supplied details of the data stream so that Ambient Tonemeister (a sort of WaveAgent on steroids) can receive data from the 788T and send data to the 788T such as files and track names etc. Just because the 788T is the first recorder to work with the Beetle and Ambient Tonemeister I am sure doesn't imply exclusivity. I reckon any other manufacturer - camera or recorder - who shares details of their data stream could get the benefits of ACN, Lockit Script and Ambient Tonemeister. 

 

Tim

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WhyOne   

I like and support every manufacturer named above. Several have announced, at one time or another, that they're goal was to work cooperatively - a voluntary open platform for on-set creating and sharing appropriate metadata and time code. When the Ambient guys visited last year and gave their presentation at Trew LA, they were very candid - they felt an open platform would encourage innovation and would have a positive effect on all who participated. The last time I was able to talk to the brilliant Glenn Sanders, I encouraged him to open up ZaxNet, to add to the cooperative effort. Just imagine never writing a scene and take number - the script supervisor creates it and every file generated, image or sound, has it. Perhaps retuning ten channels of radio mics (receivers and transmitters) with one click of a pull-down menu.

 

Jay

APPLY FOR YOUR FCC LICENSE NOW!

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