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judykarp

SONY PXW FS7K 4K XDCAM Super TimeCode Help

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I am going to Myanmar on a job on Thursday and was just informed that we are using this Brand New Sony Camera. I went to check it out today and noticed that there is no timecode input on the camera itself. It's on an Extensions Unit (XDCA-FS7) not included in the package, that connects to the camera via a multipin connector.

Obviously, this unit is not something we can get before Monday and may have to be

ordered by the rental house.

Does anyone have experience with this camera and the extension unit?

I'm planning to feed sound to the camera, either hardwired or wireless depending on conditions and situation and record on my SD633.

One of my questions is:

Can we jam timecode with the extension device attached to the camera and then take the device off and assume that it will be as good as any jam which may drift slightly. The camera person is concerned that the unit will add weight and bulk to the

camera.

Looks like it's BNC timecode input but it's hard to tell from the photos.

Any advice would be helpful. There are many workarounds, I know, and the production I'm working formay say "pluraleyes" will be fine in post, but I feel it would be

much better to have accurate timecode.

Thanks,

Judy

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If you/they want two clean usable channels of audio going to the cam all the time then you can't use one for TC.  Doing LTC to an audio track is also something you'd have to run by post--can they and would they deal with that?   I haven't had the pleasure with this camera yet, but since it's from the "FS" series my guess would be that it will drift some off a jam but probably not too bad (not like RED bad).  Since you are going to some trouble to feed the camera 2 chan of audio, then my geuss is that the posties see that as the primary audio recording, and recordings made on your rig as backup and extra stuff.   Really good notes about what is where in your files will help a lot, and if you can jam TC even if it drifts some it should put the syncing folks in the ball park at least.  If all else fails there is always PluralEyes.  The main recommend I have is to test the audio part of the cam as soon as you can and find out what you can expect re headroom.

 

philp

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The FS7 isn't really shipping in mainstream channels anyways, so however the company got a pre-production FS7 - they can probably get the extension unit too, no?  You can always give post the option to do TC on audio, but tell the camera guy to get a grip, they need TC, equip the damn camera to receive it.  Besides, that particular camera is way front heavy anyways, so the rear unit will only benefit him by providing better balance, otherwise his right wrist is going to bear too much weight through the course of the day.  It also allows better codecs to be recorded AND gives a high capacity V-mount option, rather than the relatively puny U style EX batteries.

 

The camera is so short that it doesn't extend past the back of one's head.  With the unit and batteries, it will only extend by a couple of inches.  Also, it provides a nice slot for you to put you wireless receiver, rather than having to mount it on a shoe, thus saving the operator the vertical "wasted space" or saddle bagging / velcro'ing it to the side, also adding bulk.

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TV: " The FS7 isn't really shipping in mainstream channels anyways, so however the company got a pre-production FS7 - they can probably get the extension unit too, no? "

sounds like Beta-testing to me...pioneering at the least.

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FS7s are shipping in the UK, I know two people who have bought them this week.

 

As for camera dept not wanting the weight or the bulk of the extension unit, how do these people get work?

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Alternative: Send sync-pop (aka tone) after both devices running. I know post will not happy so much, but... who knows.

 

Will be a cool feature if a mixer / recorder has this feature. When you press record to send sync-pop at outputs. Just a thought.

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take a tc slate, send audio direct to the camera, jam the slate and snap it each take

 

Just do this and don't sweat it-------Seriously,they're ready to deal with it. concentrate on getting good sound.

 

                                                                  J.D.

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Thanks for all the feedback and possible solutions.

If I hadn't checked out the camera at the camera person's house yesterday, I never would have anticipated

that there was not timecode in or out on the body of the camera.

A lot depends on the rental house tomorrow and the availability of the extension. While the timecode slate is the most straightforward answer, I'm working on a small documentary in a Buddhist nunnery and I'm sure that the director will say that the slate will call too much attention to us. I will bring it and see.

My sense is that the job will be mostly boom only and that I will have a second track for timecode. So far there is no editor and no post...I tried this as a possible solution and am wondering if there is any reason why this won't work.

I'm using my SD633 to record. I just fed timecode from timecode out of my 633 to input 4. When I am using the boom only I can send boom to the camera left out and timecode right out. When I am using wirelesses and want to have left and right for sound to camera, I can send a "burst of timecode" (seem to remember that from some incarnation of the Nagra) and then turn input 4 off and send only sound. I realize this is a

baroque solution and far from ideal, but is there any reason why it won't work?

Thanks again,

Judy

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Judy: " I'm sure that the director will say that the slate will call too much attention to us. "

yeah, without it you will only stand out like a sore thumb.

well, if s/he doesn't want to use a TC slate, then the issue is settled, and the consequences are her/his to deal with later...

someone once said something about leading a horse to the water...

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As I wrote my baroque solution, I realized the absurdity of three white women, one over six feet tall, in

western dress, in a Buddhist nunnery thinking they were under the radar except for that damn timecode slate and I admit, I had to laugh...

Thanks for seconding that. I'll bring the slate.

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I apologize for using the term "camera guy".  Although I tend to use the term asexually, I could have just as easily used "camera person", it is after all chauvinism no matter how slightly perceived.  If no editor or post team is selected, I would avoid audible timecode, its too non-standard to throw in as a default.  Let the director live with the decisions made to date, slating is a good idea.

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Alternative: Send sync-pop (aka tone) after both devices running. I know post will not happy so much, but... who knows.

Will be a cool feature if a mixer / recorder has this feature. When you press record to send sync-pop at outputs. Just a thought.

The new tascam DR-70D does this

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Comments are all really helpful.

Tom, since you spoke so disparagingly of the "camera guy" in your post, in my reverse sexist way, I was

glad that you assumed the camera person was a man. Since you seem to know a lot about this camera, do you have any idea why they separated the TC input and output from the body of the camera? Even in the online specs, the extension is to be used for "multi-camera" shoots. Sony says nothing about recording sound separately. I'm used to rolling with odd camera changes (anyone want to buy a bunch of RED input cables?) but I did not anticipate this one.

And just to throw this out as a compromise solution (complicated by the fact that there is no post yet):

What is we set time of day timecode on camera and sound (can usually get it within a second which I realize is a very large ballpark) and then I jammed the slate and we shot the slate every so often, so that post

would know what the offset was?

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JK: " we shot the slate every so often, so that post would know what the offset was? "

you may be over-thinking this...

you are making some sort of movie, right??

then slate it (you don't need to clap them if you need a compromise)  po$t will appreciate it and $o will the producer.

Edited by studiomprd

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My opinion on is:

- establish with production company that you'll send a mix track to channel one and audio timecode to channel 2.

- Establish with editors that your recorder's sound will be used as primary audio in final product. they have two options of sync right there.

- bring the slate anyway and clap it if you can when it is more still (aka interviews).

- approach time of day timecode on camera as close as possible.

- last and not least, get good audio. That s why you re there.

Good luck!

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While the timecode slate is the most straightforward answer, I'm working on a small documentary in a Buddhist nunnery and I'm sure that the director will say that the slate will call too much attention to us.

 

God knows, a couple of lights, a boom pole, and a camera won't call any attention. We wouldn't want to add a slate to all that. Especially if they're not shooting without permits or permission.  :-[

 

If they are shooting with permits and permission, having no jammable timecode in the camera and no timecode slates is a recipe for post disaster. My observation is that shoots like this are fraught with problems from a lot of short-sided decisions being made by non-technical people. The time and money you save in production can snowball into very, very time-consuming problems in post. 

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I shoot mostly with non TC cameras on docs (dslrs, black magic etc) and always go the sennheiser G3 as scratch/plural eyes route of that is the case. We do a test before hand and I even show them on a laptop how it works if they are not experienced. No problems whatsoever. I mentioned in a tread years ago regarding this subject: I can not see how I or a camera assist would use a slate on documentaries, except on sit down interviews. Following people in their natural behavior, trying to get a specific scene without intruding that much. Staying as unnoticeable regarding if you are rolling or not.

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Vincent is right, imho. Treat it like you are shooting with a 5D. You are recording good sound on your 633, they are presumably getting good pix with this new camera. Send a scratch track with a G3 and they can easily sync with Plural Eyes. I think you are over worrying about it and unnecessarily over complicating it. They will thank you for recording easily and unobtrusively without a big fuss, and remember they have chosen this camera - you have provided your sound, you know they can sync it with PE - if they have a problem with that, it is entirely their issue not yours. Relax and enjoy it.

 

(I have done shoots with a 5D where they even refused to have a G3 and used onboard sound for sync- they never had a problem with that either)

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...

- you have provided your sound, you know they can sync it with PE - if they have a problem with that, it is entirely their issue not yours.

...

I prefer to approach jobs as more of a collaboration. The teamwork aspect is one of the things I like most about what I do.

I also understand that most of my clients are experienced professionals who usually know more about their specific workflow needs than I do.

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Of course, I didn't mean otherwise. If they are happy with their proposed workflow, then all I am saying is you don't have to feel a weight of responsibility for it, and you have to assume that they know the pros and cons of it. In this case I would be happy to concur with their proposal. Which is also collaboration.

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