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Joe Riggs

Timecode slate

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Does one need a timecode slate in order to sync footage or can one just have a

lock it box to feed timecode to camera?

 

For example if you're using a lock it box can one use a dumb slate and still sync via timecode?  

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if you have proper timecode on both the video and audio files you don't need a slate at all to synch footage.

but if the project allows for it, it usually still makes sense to have some kind of slate as a failsafe and for organisation purposes in editorial.

chris

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When working with film cameras, I find recommending a TC Slate is a good idea, as it's not a guarantee that TC can be striped onto the film reliably. Digital cameras however, it's not a necessity.

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Slates need to be there for Editorial, and it can be a godsend -- especially if the timecode turns out to be bad. They also need to know the name of the scene and the specific take, and the camera roll (folder) number, sound roll (folder) number, shoot date, and so on. Merely turning on the camera and turning on the sound and rolling doesn't help get the material organized later on, when you're desperately trying to locate a specific shot weeks or months after it was shot. 

 

The timecode slate can be very helpful in trying to diagnose whether sound timecode is bad, picture timecode is bad, or both are bad. 

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TC slate is always a good idea, never had anyone complaining or requiring a normal slate instead.

 

It is inevitable for cameras which don't have any useable timecode option. Many shooters show up with an FS7 (without the TC adapter), FS5, Alpha7S, 5D, C100 ...

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Editors tell me they only able to know what scene  is playing is because of electronic slates, timecode, and sound reports - they aren't going to get that info from the camera dept.  No better reference than a happy editor.

 

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A producer I work for in Tampa shoots on 5Ds.  The first time I worked with him he said we don't need that slate because we are using Plural Eyes.  I told him that it was insurance, along with my notes and I insisted on using it.  The next time I worked with him he thanked me profusely for the slate and notes.  They made his life easier in post.

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Consider the poor editor, or more accurately the assistant trying to sync up all the dailies for the editor.  They are under tremendous time pressure usually, and have NO idea what is going on in the footage they are looking at, at least at first.  Whose voice is that?  What location is this?  What scene is this shot meant to be part of?  Which unit's shot is this?  From which camera?  What camera roll are we in?  The slate answers all of these questions.  As was said, camera dept notes (as assistants used to keep on film shoots) are a thing of the past.  Many shoots no longer have script supervisors, so no script notes (or coherent sequence of take numbers vs. script.)  Sound reports are often the only documentation sent onward from production, and are very useful, but having the report AND a slate to correlate it with is how the post sync work can get done quickly and accurately.  Yes, many directors and shooters pride themselves on their "bold and risk-taking" attitudes about everything, including slates.  DaVinci Resolve can do a really dandy fast sync of footage that has dead-accurate TC between cam and sound.  PluralEyes can work well too.  You have to check the work of both these apps anyhow....and the easiest way to to do that is by reading.....slates!

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On 21/08/2017 at 11:24 AM, thunderfm said:

When working with film cameras, I find recommending a TC Slate is a good idea, as it's not a guarantee that TC can be striped onto the film reliably. Digital cameras however, it's not a necessity.

Yup...always a TC Slate with film.

 

But otherwise, unless it's specifically requested by production I usually run with a good old fashioned slate, never had any sync issues. Just get a good one, not one of the $15 bargain deals on amazon $40-$75 will get you a good quality one that has all the info to keep the editor happy. They're inexpensive and I'm not worried if an inexperienced AC has left it lying haphazardly on the floor somewhere. But I am OCD about making sure everything running TC on set is in sync.

 

Organisation is the key to post production, and maintaining that organisation on set can save days for the poor editor who has to sift through everything. 

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