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788t, Ambient Radio TC Slate, Alexa. Best TC Mode and Workflow help


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Hey Guys,

Back again for some insight.

Starting my 3rd feature and we are going to be using the Alexa along with my 788t and an Ambient radio slate with one receiver.

We will not be using lockits, so my plan is to have the ambient receiver on the camera and jam the slate from my 788t as much as possible. What mode is the best to work in? If we go with free run or 24 hour run, could i keep the wireless receiver off and just instruct the AC to flip it on for jamming purposes?

Should we do a rec run setup? I know the camera guys wont be thrilled about me controlling camera record functions.

I hear the Alexa keeps time code really well.

BTW, I will not be sending a scratch track to camera.

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I just got off a shoot with 3 Alexa's. I did 24 hour free run and jammed from my slate, which was jammed from my Nomad. The Alexa is supposed to keep accurate TC even if disconnected from a power source for up to 10 minutes (Fairly certain) So I would rejam at minimum twice a day, and rejam if the cameras were down for more than 10 minutes. I had no complaints from post so I assume all was well.

the only thing to be aware of is the TC display on the Alexa will only show HH:MM:SS and will not show frames, and you may notice that the display is about an entire second off what your master will be, but Arri insists that the camera is actually jammed accurately, there is just a delay in the display causing the discrepency.

IIRC the jamming sequence is a bit unique. You start camera off, power it on. You will see a small ( i ) on the left of the screen, you plug into the TC in and feed it TC. after about 2 seconds the i will be blinking, when it stops blinking then the camera is jammed and you can unplug.

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On the right hand display of the camera, press the TC button on the left:

post-3119-0-28683000-1346919335.jpg

In there you have to place the source as input, the mode as freerun and the sync as jam sync.

Then press the 'info' button on top of the TC button. It should say something like 'System good'

As soon as you plug in a TC source into it (lemo), it will say 'TC jamming, please wait...' and then back to 'System Good' when ready.

It's very good at keeping jam

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Do a workflow test prior to the start of production. Shoot a sound scene, clap at the head, do 5 minutes of dialogue, clap at the tail. Load the picture and sound files up in a laptop and see if they agree. If there's zero drift, it should work.

I'm not a fan of wireless timecode at this time. I'm not convinced it makes more sense than just jamming or using an external timecode box on the camera. 24-hour run makes the most sense to me.

I would get your post department involved and make sure they sign off on the method, and you have an official email or memo agreeing to digital frame rate, timecode rate, and so on. And be aware that multiple cameras will most likely require Lockit boxes or Denecke SB-T's for external genlock reference and timecode for absolute sync.

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Ditto what Marc said above.

Generally, with Alexa, I just jam the camera once in the morning and then after lunch. I've never had a complaint. Note that the Alexa also resets internal TC after speed changes. If you do an off-speed shot, rejam the camera after.

As long as the AC doesn't keep the camera off power for more than 10 min or so, you should be fine.

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Do a workflow test prior to the start of production. Shoot a sound scene, clap at the head, do 5 minutes of dialogue, clap at the tail. Load the picture and sound files up in a laptop and see if they agree. If there's zero drift, it should work.

I'm not a fan of wireless timecode at this time. I'm not convinced it makes more sense than just jamming or using an external timecode box on the camera. 24-hour run makes the most sense to me.

I would get your post department involved and make sure they sign off on the method, and you have an official email or memo agreeing to digital frame rate, timecode rate, and so on. And be aware that multiple cameras will most likely require Lockit boxes or Denecke SB-T's for external genlock reference and timecode for absolute sync.

2nd the workflow test. Just bring small package to hair / make up / wardrobe test.

If the Alexa sees incoming code and then jams itself to the external code without needing a button to be pressed, then what's the harm of wireless TC. I'm used to jamming an Alexa without leaving a Sync Box attached and constantly jamming. If the wireless receiver loses signal the Alexa will just continue unless the receiver outputs a static TC value that confuses the Alexa.

Definitely go with Free Run. Do not depend on the ACs to turn the receiver on for you or being concerned with TC. There isn't any benefit to doing Rec Run.

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I'm not a fan of wireless timecode at this time. I'm not convinced it makes more sense than just jamming or using an external timecode box on the camera. 24-hour run makes the most sense to me.

I will definitely do a workflow test some days before the shoot. I do not plan to use the wireless timecode for ext sync, just for jamming purposes, I figure its easier to get the slate over to my recorder, re-jam, and then jam the camera via wireless link, once jammed, flip off the receiver and be done with it. Or do you think it would be better to have the transmitter on my 788t to jam the slate from? wont the slate hold sync all day long?

I know it might be overkill, I'm buying the slate next week and could use some money left over... should i just buy the Denecke TSC instead?

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