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Tentacle Sync 'Track E' - New minirecorders with timecode


pillepalle
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1 minute ago, pillepalle said:

You don't need the studio software for the Track Es... the studio software is only used for TC recorded as some kind of morse code onto an audio channel.

 

Yes I know.  🙂

 

I was simply using that as an example of how TC would still be useful even if someone is worried about a tiny bit of drift.

 

Whether you use the Studio software for audio-based timecode files... or your NLE's built-in syncing function for metadata-based timecode files... having TC is definitely awesome.

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48 minutes ago, pillepalle said:

Michael Scrip

 

You don't need the studio software for the Track Es, because they write the timecode as metadata in the audio file. Any NLE can sync them immediately. The studio software is only used for TC recorded as some kind of morse code onto an audio channel.  Which is usefull for devices without TC cababilities. The Track E is a recorder that adds TC to your files. It can't be used as a TC-Generator or jam other devices, like a master unit. 

 

Greetings

You don’t need tentacle sync studio at all if you don’t want. Most editing software can decode audio tc like resolve or avid. But tentacle sync studio is the fastest way, it can output the video files together with the synced audio channels without reencoding the video, so it’s very fast, and it has no problems when the audio recording restarts during a video take - for example when you reach a file size limitation (4gb) on some recorders. Editing software mostly only syncs one video file to one audio file, no matter if audio is recorded simultaneous or subsequently, or it just messes everything up when that happens.. and it’s easier to edit if you sync before editing (for example when using match frame you still have synced audio..)

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On 1/9/2021 at 11:16 AM, Constantin said:

The Track Es have as their tc part essentially a Sync E inside and they will stay in sync with each other for at least 24 hours. There will be no drift of tc. 

There seems to be some confusion here of what timecode is amd what it is not. 
There can and may well be drift and phase issues between two or more recording devices, even though they are synced by timecode. This is regardless of which tc system and manufacturer is being used and regardless of their method of updating their tc sync. On long takes there will be some drift between two or more devices. 
The only way to get around that would be to lock the digital clocks of these devices. Although this camb be done, such as the Alexa Mini can do, from a regular TC signal, usually a separate Genlock or Wordclock input is needed. This will indeed lock the clock and make sure there will be no drift. 

I would be very curious how Timecode works on a smartphone.. for example you can sync the ultra sync blue to five zoom f2 plus the Mavis app on an iPhone. But I am not sure if this works as the frame rate on a smartphone is not constant at all. Even if you set it to 50p it’s constantly changing by a frame or two.. so no way to lock the variable frame rate. 

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4 hours ago, Sound said:

I would be very curious how Timecode works on a smartphone.. for example you can sync the ultra sync blue to five zoom f2 plus the Mavis app on an iPhone. But I am not sure if this works as the frame rate on a smartphone is not constant at all. Even if you set it to 50p it’s constantly changing by a frame or two.. so no way to lock the variable frame rate. 


Well, the Tracke E‘s don’t record to the iphone, they only record to their own sd card. So drift of the video will not cause any  damage to the audio. However, the ability to sync audio and  video may suffer as a consequence of the video drift, but that would be the case with any external audio recorder. At least with the Track E you‘ll get (presumably) rocksolid audio and can sync and align your video to that. 

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On 1/12/2021 at 11:21 PM, Constantin said:


Well, the Tracke E‘s don’t record to the iphone, they only record to their own sd card. So drift of the video will not cause any  damage to the audio. However, the ability to sync audio and  video may suffer as a consequence of the video drift, but that would be the case with any external audio recorder. At least with the Track E you‘ll get (presumably) rocksolid audio and can sync and align your video to that. 

That’s a misunderstanding. I was talking about the ultra sync blue which syncs Timecode to the f2 and the iPhone mavis Video App. But I’m not sure how this can work at all as there is no reliable fixed frame rate even with third party software on a phone.. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/14/2021 at 12:57 PM, Sound said:

 I would be very curious how Timecode works on a smartphone.[...]I was talking about the ultra sync blue which syncs Timecode to the f2 and the iPhone mavis Video App. But I’m not sure how this can work at all as there is no reliable fixed frame rate even with third party software on a phone.. 

Correct. Basically, you can't sync an app (or software for that matter). "Sync" as we refer to is a hardware level process which needs a constant, clocked connection. Neither the "host" platform mobile phone nor the source, Bluetooth allow for this.

 

Instead, the process we are looking at her e with these implementations is actually a TC jam where the timecode value is aligned at the begin of recording. On from then the jammed unit  is running completely on its own internal clock speed. From a professional perspective it is pretty much like having TC but no genlock - and we all know how "good" that works with even higher profile BMD, Canon, or Sony cameras. So, draw your own conclusion for flaky-shaky sensors, encoders and engines on a mobile phone.

While the same would go for the F2 and TrackE, given the record of Zoom's F8(n) and particularly even more so with Tentacle we can just asume the accuracy of F2 and TrackE good enough for the intended application.

 

Bluetooth again actually consists not of just the radio (IEEE802.15.2) but also so called profiles. "Official" BT profiles however, as all package based netowrk protocols, are not suited for meticulously time critical transmission (otherwise we would see this a widely available  feature with e.g. all various BT speakers playing in sync).

Thus, TCS (and also Tentacle for that matter) have introduced their proprietary protocol to achieve frame accurate jam which is utilizing the network stack IEEE802.15.2, Bluetooth operates on. Again, without consideration of native timecode devices such as the UltrasyncBlue, overall system accuracy will also depend how time critical the global BT software stack is implemented  on the "receiving" end and the app can pipeline the custom protocol. Just saying as Apple has a good record of throwing curve balls accessing the hardware directly.

Just to be clear enough that it may give workable results and for sure is better than going totally without, but no matter what you do a mobile device as recording platform cannot be  "synced" in a literal sense.

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On 1/22/2021 at 3:45 PM, Klaus said:

Correct. Basically, you can't sync an app (or software for that matter). "Sync" as we refer to is a hardware level process which needs a constant, clocked connection. Neither the "host" platform mobile phone nor the source, Bluetooth allow for this.

 

Instead, the process we are looking at her e with these implementations is actually a TC jam where the timecode value is aligned at the begin of recording. On from then the jammed unit  is running completely on its own internal clock speed. From a professional perspective it is pretty much like having TC but no genlock - and we all know how "good" that works with even higher profile BMD, Canon, or Sony cameras. So, draw your own conclusion for flaky-shaky sensors, encoders and engines on a mobile phone.

While the same would go for the F2 and TrackE, given the record of Zoom's F8(n) and particularly even more so with Tentacle we can just asume the accuracy of F2 and TrackE good enough for the intended application.

 

Bluetooth again actually consists not of just the radio (IEEE802.15.2) but also so called profiles. "Official" BT profiles however, as all package based netowrk protocols, are not suited for meticulously time critical transmission (otherwise we would see this a widely available  feature with e.g. all various BT speakers playing in sync).

Thus, TCS (and also Tentacle for that matter) have introduced their proprietary protocol to achieve frame accurate jam which is utilizing the network stack IEEE802.15.2, Bluetooth operates on. Again, without consideration of native timecode devices such as the UltrasyncBlue, overall system accuracy will also depend how time critical the global BT software stack is implemented  on the "receiving" end and the app can pipeline the custom protocol. Just saying as Apple has a good record of throwing curve balls accessing the hardware directly.

Just to be clear enough that it may give workable results and for sure is better than going totally without, but no matter what you do a mobile device as recording platform cannot be  "synced" in a literal sense.

Since I didnt receive an answer from the MAVIS-app-developer for two weeks and Zoom and Timecode Systems (which is owned by Atomos now) didnt seem to have tested syncinc the F2 to an US blue, I tried testing the timecode drift on two iphones using the native camera app (which has variable framerate obviously).

I recorded half an hour on an iphone 11 and 12 pro and added a sony a7 iii. As expected, the a7 iii drifted from the iphones (as the framerate is different, but sometimes davinci resolve can compensate for that).

But to my suprise both phones stayed in perfect sync in these 30 minutes when I aligned them in Resolve.

So I guess for recording educational content for 30 to 40 minutes just using multiple Iphones for multicam could work - even (or especially when) using the native iphone app!

No need to set "fixed" framerates with third party apps, which are not fixed at all and tend to drift anyways on these phones.

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  • 9 months later...
50 minutes ago, Sound said:

Wow! Any details? Latency? Monitoring multiple units at once? Easy switching between them?

I have not been to that Tonmeistertagung. I only saw the mentioned statement.

However there is not much time left for "later this year". They advertise the Sync E and Track E to be avilable early 2022 or "ca Frühjahr" (around spring).

So I'd guess they release the FW a few weeks before they have new units.

I wonder more about range and if it is extendable, e.g. via a Rasberry zero W at the cost of latency. 

The app interface needs some sort of pro version with more precise control of levels, playback and transport and metadata. So my hopes go also there.

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52 minutes ago, Paul F said:

It's not obvious to me how Tentacle's app has anything to do with Zaxcom's patent if it doesn't record. https://www.natlawreview.com/article/recently-designated-precedential-ptab-decision-confirms-objective-indicia

 

 

The app does not record, though it does trigger it. The Track E records but does not output audio on the HP jack on US units during recording. Presumably due to Zaxcoms "virtual wireless multitrack recording" patent (or whatever its called), realized in the ZFR100 at the time.

I'd assume, the android/ios audio-monitoring feature, however compressed it may be, if at all wireless/BTLE, would follow this US/nonUS firmware policy.

The link you provided exceeds my non native English reception skills for a late evening read and the overall issue does not affect me directly outside the US. If you could sum up the essence of that text I'd appreciate it.

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Can someone explain to me how they can make the reach to force these companies to disable the headphone out jacks on these recorders(in the US) while they are recording?  What was the argument and was it as simple as saying, "Well, someone COULD use the headphone out jack to feed a wireless transmitter" and the US Patent Office was like, "Okie Dokie..."?  It seems like IF they are able to make some type of argument for that, then they could apply it to ANY recording device that isn't Zaxcom.  But my Sound Devices recorders still have functioning headphone jacks while they're recording...

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You can read the details of Zaxcom's legal complaint against the Lectrosonics PDR here:
https://litigationtools.maxval-ip.com/UnifiedPatentViewDocument/home/index?caseid=124644

 

As part of the complaint, they cite some instructional videos that demonstrate specifically how to use the headphone output jack of the recorder to feed a wireless transmitter. Additionally, Lectrosonics sells all 3 of the parts necessary to do this (audio recorder, wireless audio transmitter, and cable for connecting the two devices), although each of those 3 products also have various other uses as well.

 

It's important to note that that particular legal case remains unresolved at this point. So whether such products actually constitute a patent infringement (in other words whether that argument stands up to legal scrutiny) remains unclear. And there are also a few other patent violations claimed in that case besides just that one issue.

In the case of the Tentacle Track E specifically, I don't think there has been any legal action taken against the product yet. I believe Tentacle Sync just voluntarily opted to disable the headphone output jack during recording in light of the ongoing court cases against other manufacturers rather than risk being involved in a possible lawsuit themselves.

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9 hours ago, davedv said:

In the case of the Tentacle Track E specifically, I don't think there has been any legal action taken against the product yet. I believe Tentacle Sync just voluntarily opted to disable the headphone output jack during recording in light of the ongoing court cases against other manufacturers rather than risk being involved in a possible lawsuit themselves.

Sidenote: We've had this observation with Tascams DR-10 family before.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not sure if this was ever clarified, it’s a long thread, so I believe there’s some benefit in updating a few points:

 

*the Track E does not transmit timecode. Neither hardwired NOR via Bluetooth. You can receive timecode from other systems or cameras or anything you like, via the mic jack, if not via Bluetooth…If I’m not mistaken, this is not just a time stamp or a jam, this is an updated periodic connection when the units are in range of the master TC.

 

But there’s no signal coming OUT of the output jack aside from mic monitoring, much less an LTC signal, and if you think about it, that’s self evident…

 

* there was a blog update specifying that phone monitoring would be available for these units with an update to the iOS app this last quarter of 2021. We know it’s in the making. Don’t expect 0 latency. Don’t expect continual range. I imagine this is a confidence check that your mic dressing was successful or that it’s still in place and not bobbing around  by their belly.

 

* 32-bit is indeed a goody. I’m still confused as to why there is an input gain adjustment in 32-bit mode, but TS assures me it is still best practices to manage your input gain as you formally would. Some NLE’s don’t handle 32-bit, and will bring those files in at 24-bit, so that initial decision is crucial. and even if they did natively handle 32-bit, you would want still want to offer your editors a guide value for playback, which can indeed clip on an output bus.

 

That said, if you have a number of units, I propose to choose a lowest common denominator for input gain, offsetting for the insulation of any hidden techniques, such that the ambient noise levels match across any mics that are open. Said differently, take the input level to the channel that you are being the most conservative with input gain, the one most attenuated for the source, and apply that value with the remainder of your deployed units, adjusting in your case if some mics are more buried than others (or have a different make/model.) I would maintain sound perspective, in other words, I would not factor in back-towards-traffic vs facing-traffic. One is supposed to sound noisier than the other. Base it on how much you attenuated for that individual’s performance. Their perspective. Camera perspective. Not perspective of traffic. (Unless camera is rolling by in traffic. Then, yes, you base the conversation on continual traffic.) 

 

Blocking and camera movement are all dynamic decisions and why you really need a mixer and boom op

 

the fellow I bought them from keeps them at maximum input gain, but he knows he’s the one editing, and he also knows he can use TS conversion utility. I suspect he does this because it’s easy to slide a dial all the way up and know that you have the same setting for all your units. I also think monitoring levels often get confused with these decisions, and he was trying to anticipate a noise floor which he could already hear. Well intended, that’s not really what goes behind a good listening environment, auditing a location or choosing an SPL.

 

if you read this far, I have a further installment on gun violence on the tele, and there is no way I’m wearing my cans on a tactical firing range. My 24-bit recordings sound absolutely awesome. Now I have a 32-bit option that can track an interview with a live firearm, side coaching, direct signal and reflections, all on-mic. I haven’t been able to get my hands on a mixpre 3ii, so I was happy to make an intermediate decision and welcome the Track E into my Tentacle family.

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Hey James,

thank you for the update. Sorry to be a wise-ass. Here are some minor comments for the sake of precision.

 

5 hours ago, James Louis said:

*the Track E does not transmit timecode.

Technically, the Track E (if "green"?) does transmit its timecode every time the app "sees" it... to the app. Within the app, you can manually relay its TC as master TC to other Tentacles. (even the original one via USB?)

 

5 hours ago, James Louis said:

But there’s no signal coming OUT of the output jack aside from mic monitoring

Playback triggered via the switch or the app should be possible from a file the device "believes" to be the last recorded one.

 

5 hours ago, James Louis said:

* there was a blog update specifying that phone monitoring would be available for these units with an update to the iOS app this last quarter of 2021.

The english blogpost announced a new firmware that brings this feature to IOS and Android. An update to the app on both platforms is assumable and highly likely to make use of these features.

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