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Tascam DR10 Timecode solution


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Thought I'd share something I'm working on with fellow recordist Matt Morris here in the UK. It's a timecode solution for the Tascam DR10 beltpack recorder which allows accurate syncing of the records internal clock which it uses to stamp its bWAV files.

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I have to say that i m very impressed by your project. I own three of these so a tc solution would be amazing.

Since these devices work with infrared transmission have you considered develloping an app for a smartphone equipped with a tiny infrared transmitter hardware device instead of building a whole device?

http://www.numbert.net/index.php?language=en

 

 

Edited by dominiquegreffard
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Way cool, lusting after etc.  Is it any kind of possible to have the IR blast just not include the EQ, naming, etc etc info, so that it would not have to be reset each time?  IE the transferrred info would be the TC only?  In your "IR blast while target device is in record" mode, does the clock stay frame accurate if you cut the recorder and then restart record?  Does it hold sync thru a shutdown and re-battery or media change?

thanks for this--what will your box be called?  do you have a website?

phil p

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"Is it any kind of possible to have the IR blast just not include the EQ, naming, etc etc info, so that it would not have to be reset each time?" Watching the full video I thought I heard him explain that in version 2 of this prototype there will be a routine that that jams all the units with unified preset settings and then will jam updated timecode only and not disrupt the settings.

I'm going to make one comment which I am sure will not be taken well by many, that if you want a device that is currently shipping, has a proven track record, has ALL the features that this proposed prototype box provides (and more), is available to be purchased in all countries, for about $300. more than this "solution", you could buy a Zaxcom ZFR-200.

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If you already know the language used for the IR communication I think it'd be much more convenient to use an app on a smartphone.  Many have IR ports, those that don't, well you can just plug an IR transceiver into a USB OTG cable.

It's a nice project though, little boxes like this can be quite handy to have waiting around in the bag.  Although personally I'd go with Jeff's suggestion above.

Edited by Lancashire soundie
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From what i can see a zaxcom zfr200 is listed at 950usd from trew's website.

I said "about $300." since it is almost impossible to come up with an accurate number. First of all, the truly great and innovative work that has gone into (and continues to go into) the development of this device has not produced a shipping product with a price. matadams (sorry I don't know your full name) has said he thinks tghe device will cost "about £200" That's about $312. US. The Tascam DR-10cs is priced at £193.00 on amazon.com-uk (not available in the US). That's about $300.00 US. So, if you add in shipping costs, potential customs charge (if shipped out of the UK) you wind up with a total cost that is about $300, less than a ZFR. I think it would be foolish to continue trying to speculate on exact numbers --- I was only making the suggestion that a feature rich product already on the market with a proven track is available for not a lot more money. In no way do I wish to denigrate the work that matadams and his partner are doing to develop an add on accessory for the Tascam DR-10.

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Perhaps it could be implemented in smartphone app, I don't know, but I personally prefer the idea of a dedicated unit that you put batteries in and it works, regardless if you're phones updates its OS since you last used it or you've lost your IR dongle  

Well doen Jeff, you've earned your gold star (or whatever it is they give you) this month with your Zaxom endorsement ;-) I would really prefer this not to descend into the usual squabbling feeling that both products have their place. I also have ZFR recorders which I think are superb!

Also, the 'back of the beer mat' costs change hugely when you look into buying multiple units. 

 

Thanks everyone one for the positive comments!

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Ah don't rain on the guy's parade.  No one who frequents this forum would not understand that the ZFR, whatever its price is, is a unified pro solution to most of the situations where this kind of device would be worth the trouble.  These guys have come up with a clever way of doing their own jobs, with a somewhat more cumbersome and specialized solution that is probably somewhat cheaper at the cost of more hassle (and more points of possible human error).   I watched the whole video and got the bit about the reset to preset etc, which isn't what I really want and might well deter me from using this thing--I want the rolloff and naming and etc settings to be untouched, not reset to nominal, since each one of these things (in my world) would have different settings probably, certainly re naming.  In truth I could live with sync to the closest minute (how I've used the DR10 mostly so far) with keeping all my settings, in favor of more accurate TC with having to reenter my unit-specific settings (if the unit holds frame sync when not in record, since you can't enter any data while the DR10 is rolling).  At issue is that for peeps like me the DR10 is often deployed in a desperate hurry as a fix for an unforeseen situation, and so every setup second is a sacrifice of some sort.  If, on the other hand, the shoot is planned, predicated, scouted and budgeted for using a squadron of DR10s from the get go, then I think this box is a cool solution.

philp 

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I watched the whole video and got the bit about the reset to preset etc, which isn't what I really want and might well deter me from using this thing--I want the rolloff and naming and etc settings to be untouched, not reset to nominal, since each one of these things (in my world) would have different settings probably, certainly re naming.

Hi Philip,

 

The unit (still to be named) is still very much in development at the moment. We're using the Tascam sync protocol in an unconventional way which by it's nature is designed to sync settings and rtc between units. We've worked around this by giving our unit the ability to read and store "master" settings to be transmitted between units, but unless I can think of a workaround the bias, gain, LF cut settings etc will be written as part of an IR "sync". I've not been working on it for a few weeks (the day job has taken over), but I have a feeling that filenames aren't part of the sync - so you may get your wish on that front anyway. Watch this space!

Since these devices work with infrared transmission have you considered develloping an app for a smartphone equipped with a tiny infrared transmitter hardware device instead of building a whole device?

http://www.numbert.net/index.php?language=en

 

 

 

If you already know the language used for the IR communication I think it'd be much more convenient to use an app on a smartphone.  Many have IR ports, those that don't, well you can just plug an IR transceiver into a USB OTG cable.

 

Yes, we did think about a smartphone solution and am in agreement with Mat. I do like the convenience of just using something that is almost always in my pocket, but first of all the IR mechanics aren't quite as easy as with the "universal remote" solutions out there for smartphones suggested above. There's also the question of getting LTC into a phone while transmitting IR via a dongle... maybe a split in/out "y" TRRS cable with an IR transceiver on one leg and a BNC socket on the other? Sounds messy doesn't it? It's got me thinking though.

 

Cheers, Matt.

Edited by Matt Morris
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I want the rolloff and naming and etc settings to be untouched, not reset to nominal, since each one of these things (in my world) would have different settings probably, certainly re naming. 

philp 

Sorry, Philip, I guess I didn't fully understand what was meant by settings. I get what you mean now with each unit having its own specific settings which you want preserved and untouched when updating timecode.

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Hey, Craig, I think for the people that want to use the Tascam on their projects, the plus or minus 1 second or more over a long run still gets them in the ball park to sync things up by the various "sloppy sync" methods that will be used. I don't think anybody thinks that this material will auto-sync itself based on true and accurate smpte timecode. It reminds me of what we used to do in the early days before ANY timecode --- working on documentaries the camera would shoot the face of a digital stopwatch set to time of day and I would SAY the time on the clock verbally into the microphone sand onto the track. This actually got us a lot closer when syncing things up to picture.

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The only test I have personally completed with a DR10s rolling for a long run was the day I first got them. I was testing a clap-sync workflow using a sound devices machine to produce TC accurate recordings of the start and end claps, then manually syncing in an NLE to attempt to create a multitrack tc WAV. The two DR10s rolled for five and a half hours and in relation to the SD recording one was longer by two frames and one was longer by three frames. 

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Just wish we could purchase the DR10 in the US.

I was surprised to see these are all over eBay for as little as $179. I don't think they're ideal as a pro audio product, but for certain desperate situations, it could be useful as a double-secret-emergency backup.

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There's also the question of getting LTC into a phone while transmitting IR via a dongle... maybe a split in/out "y" TRRS cable with an IR transceiver on one leg and a BNC socket on the other? Sounds messy doesn't it? It's got me thinking though.

 

Cheers, Matt.

Many top end smartphones have a built-in IR blaster.

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<lifts his head from development desk>

well, one still has to find a way to create a TC generator app that really syncs up even closely to frame accurate with the rest of the outside world (e.g. cameras) and stays sync - especially when it should be running on Android as well

But then, why shouldn't we like what they are using in their example to get proper TC onto the Tascams ;) )

<returns back to engineering>

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brilliant work mat.

re jeff's pricing: if you only need 1 recorder jeff is absolutely right, probably better to buy the zax product mentioned...

however, if you want several (eg 4) body worn recorders out there i think mat's solution is very cost effect since you only need the 1 box to set up all the dr10s. 

dan

Edited by daniel
typo
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