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RadoStefanov

TentacleSync E review

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Back in 2015, when I reviewed the first "crowd funded" tentacle sync, there was very little not to like about it. I was stating that after such a strong first product I am very excited to see how the tentacle syncs will evolve. I spent almost a month with the new 2nd generation tentacle sync E jam boxes and like the predecessors they do once again impress with innovation. 

 

The Tentacle Sync E carries over the same great features as the classic version: 
 

Small and light. Very Light. 
Allows for easier and more secure mounting on a camera and Camera Operators smiles.    
 

Rock Solid variable level Time Code that keeps approximate RTC even if shutdown and restarted 
The variable TC level is great for jamming picky cameras "RED" (: 
 

Internal microphone 
 More useful than I expected especially with Red  

Integrated Velcro 
 Cool 

 
Impressive 35 hours run and fast charging battery system 

Better and more convenient than battery charging and changing AA and AAA 
 

 
So, what has changed?  

A lot. Tentacle went all out on the improvements 

  
The Internal Microphone quality is improved which is always welcome for a scratch track. 
  
Battery is now replaceable and tentacle will have battery kits for sale. 
 

Back in 2015 I noted that locking connector is really something that I cannot live without. The new E Unit Tentacle delivers very ingenious and elegant plastic clamp locking solution. I was intentionally but unsuccessfully trying to disconnect it and I even let the jam box hanging a whole day by a 1-inch short bnc to mini trs cable. I feel like the natural evolution in the future tentacle sync will be a small jam box that just plugs directly in to the bnc without mounting (: 
 

The most impressive improvement is the low energy Bluetooth and the software behind it. It gives full control and monitoring over each individual unit and even alerts if a cable has been disconnected "which actually did alert me once when an AC disconnected the Tentacle when a camera was changed from on a tripod to a jib."  I did not really appreciate how useful the software is before I actually used it. I was working a commercial and there were a few people who wanted to take notes. I just had them install the software on their own phones and VOALA. I wish there were 2 version of the software: one for setup and one for viewing only so people don’t try to mess with the setup. And it would cool if the viewing one can have a note adding that exports to pdf. 
 

But most of all being able to just monitor the sync status of the whole set remotely without having to go to each camera and manually comparing time code from the unreliable camera screen is a luxury I believe no other jam box on the market provides such a simple monitoring solution. "Ambient ACN and TCS BIink need special hardware and seam a lot more complicated." I wish this can be added to recorders in the future in some kind of universal Low Energy Bluetooth protocol so I don’t have to use a phone and look unprofessional while doing it. 

  
What about the support? 

  

I found a bug in the android app showing the wrong time code in the devices menu even though everything was in sync. It looked like a NTSC issue "most of the world don’t use NTSC so a small oversight". I contacted Max and 2 days later the google play store had the fixed app update. 
  
In conclusion: 
There are so many things going for the tentacle sync apart from price and idiot proof operation but honestly there are few very important qualities: 
Weight and size. 
We live in times where strong and light plastics and small electronics are technologically available but a lot of field production sound manufactures make everything build like a tank. It does not have to be like that anymore. Regardless if it is in the bag or on a camera gear needs to be small, light. And also in tentaclesyncE case use modern innovative technology while keeping it simple for the end user.
 

 


 With such a track record I am looking forward to a great 3rd generation product.

 

 

note: the ambient ACN is similar but it needs the big masterlockit to BE ABLE TO MONITOR TIME CODE and it is just not as simple as Tentacle sync.

I am not familiar with the TimeCodeSystem gear but it seams it needs special hardware and a lot more complicated.

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As someone in the LocationSound community on reddit pointed out, Tentacle hasn’t released a Windows version of Tentacle Sync Studio. Have you encountered any issues with editors who run on Windows, or has that not been a concern?

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12 minutes ago, Daniel Ignacio said:

As someone in the LocationSound community on reddit pointed out, Tentacle hasn’t released a Windows version of Tentacle Sync Studio. Have you encountered any issues with editors who run on Windows, or has that not been a concern?

What problems? Every editor can work with time code.

Also you can use the Tentacle TimeCode Tool on windows.

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4 minutes ago, Daniel Ignacio said:

Are you talking about the setup software? I was talking about the syncing software itself. I’m probably misinformed, but I thought you specifically needed that software to be able to sync.

I am guessing you are talking about LTC  time code on an audio track. . Yes I am talking about the syncing software. tentacle time code tool for windows.

Also some video editors work with ltc.

 

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5 minutes ago, RadoStefanov said:

Yes I am talking about the syncing software. tentacle time code tool for windows.

 

Thanks for clearing that up, never saw the Timecode Tool until now.

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10 minutes ago, ryanpeds said:

The ambient ACN network allows you to see the entire set if using a master lockit. 

Yes but the size and price  is totally different . also acn is not as simple. 

10 minutes ago, Daniel Ignacio said:

 

Thanks for clearing that up, never saw the Timecode Tool until now.

Give me that redit link if you can.

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3 minutes ago, RadoStefanov said:

Give me that redit link if you can.

 

Over here:

 

Looks like the thread continued for a bit explaining that you didn’t need Sync Studio to use Tentacle’s timecode, though I read “lack of Windows support” and stopped right there.

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Yes exactly, you do not need to use TentacleSync software at all for syncing audio and video. Your windows based editors can keep using whatever they used before for LTC. 

 

11 hours ago, RadoStefanov said:

I wish there were 2 version of the software: one for setup and one for viewing only so people don’t try to mess with the setup.

 

They do have the timebar app. This simply displays a large TC readout. Might be more suitable. 

 

Fully agree with your review, Rado. 

I was wary of the lack of a locking jack on the original Tentacle, but in practice this has never ever been a problem. Not once. 

 

8 hours ago, ryanpeds said:

The ambient ACN network allows you to see the entire set if using a master lockit. 

 

If using a master lockit...

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Thanks Rado, insightful and informative as ever. Totally agree with you about the weight and build of devices too.

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For the sake of discussion; Is there a list of Windows video edit packages that have the built in capability to reference LTC on an audio track and sync "double sound" sound files?

 

I bought my Tentacle E devices for use with cameras that have dedicated time code inputs, but have been curious about how a production would deal with the LTC on an audio track if it did not have access to the Mac OS Tentacle syncing software.

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1 hour ago, alenK said:

For the sake of discussion; Is there a list of Windows video edit packages that have the built in capability to reference LTC on an audio track and sync "double sound" sound files?

 

My guess is that these would mostly be lower budget productions, and I would simply loan or rent them my Tentacle. I mentioned this in another thread, I have in the past given my Tentacle to the DP who would sync everything while we were heading out for dinner. 

 

If that is not an option and they insist on Windows (which I don’t think I have seen near a set in the past 10 years, since rental houses hand out Macbooks), there is Tentacle‘s own tool to convert the TC. Syncinc would still need to be done in another software. 

Bouke, who posts here regularly, from videotoolshed.com also has a LTC convert software, with which you would also need to actually sync everything with another program. 

And of course, Avid can convert LTC natively. 

And last I can think of is Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve 

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3 hours ago, alenK said:

For the sake of discussion; Is there a list of Windows video edit packages that have the built in capability to reference LTC on an audio track and sync "double sound" sound files?

 

yeah, like Constatin said, Davinci does Audio TC and runs on Windows, is a powerful industry workhorse for dailies and finishing (and more and more often for small editing jobs) and is free!. 

AVID also supports it and is still the defacto standard for big production but less and less important on smaller jobs.

 

For most other editing apps you could either use an XML/AAF export from Resolve or use a separate audio LTC tool like videotoolshed

christoph

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On 1/4/2018 at 10:48 AM, chrismedr said:

 

yeah, like Constatin said, Davinci does Audio TC and runs on Windows, is a powerful industry workhorse for dailies and finishing (and more and more often for small editing jobs) and is free!. 

AVID also supports it and is still the defacto standard for big production but less and less important on smaller jobs.

 

For most other editing apps you could either use an XML/AAF export from Resolve or use a separate audio LTC tool like videotoolshed

christoph

Video toolshed fcpauxtc is $250. I own it.

If you buy a tentacle syncE they give you a free osx or Windows sync software 

 

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On 4.1.2018 at 3:52 AM, Daniel Ignacio said:

I read “lack of Windows support” and stopped right there.

 

Rado would never write such a good review about a product whose software runs on macs but not windows ;-)

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16 hours ago, Christian Spaeth said:

 

Rado would never write such a good review about a product whose software runs on macs but not windows ;-)

Hey hey now. I don't hate osX . I dislike Apple hardware. (:

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On 11.1.2018 at 5:46 PM, RadoStefanov said:

Video toolshed fcpauxtc is $250. I own it.

If you buy a tentacle syncE they give you a free osx or Windows sync software 

 

I edited a project on FCPX recently, and had to realize FCPX can't batch sync audio to video by timecode (not audio tc). DaVinci doesn't run on my macs for lack of graphics processors so I used the Tentacle software. It's easy, looks good and works perfectly. The syncing was a bit slow though. But frankly the price almost justifies itself for the software alone (as long as someone edits on FCPX), and then you get a Tentacle on top...

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1 hour ago, RadoStefanov said:

BTW Resolve runs on atom cpu tablets so it should run on any mac.

"Resolve won't run on a machine with an Intel HD graphics card"

 

I think all macs had intel graphics cards until about 2011, which is when I bought my macs.

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1 hour ago, Christian Spaeth said:

"Resolve won't run on a machine with an Intel HD graphics card"

 

I think all macs had intel graphics cards until about 2011, which is when I bought my macs.

 

as rado said, the latest version works with integrated intel graphics, even pretty old ones.

just don't expect to do lots of color correction with 4K footage  ;-) 

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