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Jim Feeley

Fujifilm X-T3- experiences sending TC and scratch audio?

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I didn't find the X-T3 manual especially helpful, and didn't find much online either. So I turn to all of you:

 

Looks like I'll be working with an X-T3 mirrorless camera soon, though I'm not exactly sure what (if anything) I'll be sending to it. Does anyone here have any experience with that camera? I guess my main questions are:

 

1) For sending timecode, can I treat it like any other DSLR/mirrorless camera, or is there anything unique about this Fujifilm camera?

 

2) For sending scratch audio, same question. Anything odd? Is setitng levels fairly straightforward, or is there anything extra weird (or extra good) going on?

 

3) Anything else I should be prepared for?

 

Thanks!

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Hi Jim:

 

I've been shooting with the XT-3 for the past nine months.

1. Are you sending TC via a Tentacle or just from your mixer?

2. Honestly for scratch, I use auto levels and a Røde Video Mic and it works fine. The Tentacle Sync E mic works too. The 3.5mm input is plastic so fragile so be gentle and minimize how many times you plug and unplug gear

 

3. For a mirrorless, I find the audio and auto levels in general decent and much better than many other mirrorless I've used.

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Producers haven't nailed down what they want. I'm just trying to be a bit ahead of the curve.

 

1) TC- if we go that route, the plan is to send it from a Denecke JB-1. Depends on bleed, for one thing...

 

2) Scratch- if we go that route, the plan is to send a mix from my bag to the camera via wireless (either Lectro 100 or G3).

 

3) Audio in general- thanks. 

 

 

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If I can attach a G3 to the camera somewhere I am happy.  If you are in the OCD mode you can set camera system time to as close as you can to slate TC. I think it would be evil to record linear analog time code on what is essentially a still's camera, any bleed would be onto the audio track and there would be no benefit to it.

 

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Thanks Al. Ya, that's my basic approach to small still/vid cameras, too. But I was wondering more if there was anything especially good or bad about the X-T3. Like remember the GH2 (or something from that era) has a 2.5mm rather than 3.5mm audio jack...

 

Anyway, has anyone found any little happy or sad suprises with the X-T3?

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6 hours ago, Jim Feeley said:

Thanks Al. Ya, that's my basic approach to small still/vid cameras, too. But I was wondering more if there was anything especially good or bad about the X-T3. Like remember the GH2 (or something from that era) has a 2.5mm rather than 3.5mm audio jack...

 

Anyway, has anyone found any little happy or sad suprises with the X-T3?

XT-3 is a notch above average mirrorless/DSLR.

1. Camera features separate level settings for internal and external mics

2. Auto levels for scratch mic are decent, not too much pumping, I've used a Røde Video Mic in a pinch if I could get close to talent on gimbal and I had a seperate recorder that sounded better but the on camera mic would have been usable.

I've used my Tentacle Sync E with the XT-3 and I have skipped them and just used the multicam auto sync in FCP X and that works well too.

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9 hours ago, Jim Feeley said:

Like remember the GH2 (or something from that era) has a 2.5mm rather than 3.5mm audio jack...


yes, the GH1/GH2 has a 2.5mm input

But they're an abnormality, the vast majority of DSLRs/mirrorless have 3.5mm


Anyway, as for the X-T3, I'd treat it the same way as any other DSLR/mirrorless (personally my approach is put a Tentacle Sync E on it, which puts Aux TC to the left channel and a scratch track to the right channel). 

btw, the X-T3 is arguably "the best" mirrorless on the market for filming with! Makes a very nice image. So it is good they're going to use it on this project with you.

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3 hours ago, Dan Brockett said:

I've used my Tentacle Sync E with the XT-3 and I have skipped them and just used the multicam auto sync in FCP X and that works well too.

A Tentacle is safer though, what if they're doing a car rig? Or a wide shoot outdoors on a windy day? Or any of a million other "gotcha" scenarios 

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12 hours ago, IronFilm said:

A Tentacle is safer though, what if they're doing a car rig? Or a wide shoot outdoors on a windy day? Or any of a million other "gotcha" scenarios 

True, never hurts to be set with your Tentacle. For me, it just depends on what we are shooting, how it's being shot and who is editing it.

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I use the X-T3 now for 14 months. Highly recommended. I also have Tentacle Sync E and edit in FCPX. Syncing using audio works well in FCPX or Plural Eyes for short clips, such when making movie and clips are not likely to be over a couple of minutes. If you are shooting an event, like a concert or theatre or conference then syncing via sound is almost impossible (with any camera), because of ambient noise and because the program would have to find every clip's audio in a very long separate audio recording. In such scenarios, I recommend not to switch off the recordings (might need an external recorder if over 30 mins), OR use an audio TC generator.

 

I favour the Tentacle Sync (E) system for the following reasons:

  1. Probably the lowest cost, especially when you factor in the included license for Tentacle Sync Studio program
  2. Very easy to use
  3. Has on-board mic for recording scratch sound on the Right channel (Left is used for audio TC)
  4. Bluetooth control

Now if you have unrestricted budget, need longer range than Bluetooth and have extra devices to sync with, such as electronic slate, then you might want to look at more expensive alternatives, otherwise it is hard to beat what Tentacle has to offer.

 

Back to the X-T3. I use Auto Level for external mic input and plug in the Tentacle Sync E. I record audio with a Sound Devices MixPre Mk 2 recorder (good alternative is Zoom F6). I use my iPhone as time master for TC, as that is tracking the mobile network atomic clock link (however real time accuracy is not important as long as everything is synced to each other). I then jam sync the audio recorder from the Tentacle, which can then be disconnected and moved to the camera. Additional synced Tentacles are plugged in to additional cameras.

 

Only preparation, which will be required with any camera, is to do a test recording with a slate clap, and determine the video delay, between audio and video. This is due to the camera's video processing. I find that the X-T3 is 4 frames at 25 fps or 160 msec., but check your own gear. You then apply this as offset in the Tentacle Sync Studio, which will convert the audio TC to file TC that your NLE recognises. All this is well documented on YouTube.

 

Hope this helps...

Paul

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