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Multitrack multicamera production


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Hi

I wonder if anyone can spot any gotchas in my workflow for an upcoming shoot I’m recording 

 We have 3 cameras shooting a theatre production over 3 nights.

The play  is approximately 90 min long.

The cameras are ARRI mini, Amira and XT.

 I have 8 wireless and 6 wired sources running into a Tio Dante stagebox and then into a behringer x32 thru a switch to reaper on my laptop and also to the Scorpio.

im also taking analog out from the X32 into the Scorpio so will be recording up to 30 tracks on it.

My question is about Sync.

i have 3xultra sync ones and a couple of Mozegear TiG

I’m thinking I’ll put the Ultrasyncs on the cameras using LTC and Genlock and stripe LTC onto Reaper....The Scorpio will be the master.

Can those Cameras derive their genlock sync from the LTC or is it best to run a second sync cable for Genlock.

I haven’t used Dante before and it’s a bit of a learning curve.

I am using Dante controller and DVS as my Interface.

So far I’ve managed to get All Dante units talking to each other After some manual IP setting.

im also planning to send a guide mix to each camera.

Can anyone see any potential pitfalls or better workflows to record this show.

As I say I’m a newbie to DANTE and most multicam shoots I’ve been on have been Drama , not long continuous rolls.

Thankyou hive mind

NEVO

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22 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

If the X32 is acting as the interface for the Reaper computer, what is clocking the X32 and how?  The cameras and the Scorpio will be fine.  The TC track you are sending to Reaper is just another audio track, and won't act as a clock source for the computer.

The problem I’ve come across is the X32 does not have a WC input

im happy that the Scorpio will be locked and the Reaper record is my backup, but it would be good to have everything clocked.

I have convinced the camera dept to cut between acts so we will have around 30 min takes.

 

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Hi nevo, Filming Theatre plays and Musicals is a specialty of mine. Your thinking is correct, but there are a few issues you are going to run into with the gear you have that will need some work-arounds. First, yes using the Scorpio as the master audio recorder and Reaper as the backup is a good idea, lets leave reaper for a moment and look at the primary chain Sync plan. When I do these projects, I use Ambient TC boxes, but I'm sure the Ultrasync Ones (USOs) will be fine, and like you, I use sync boxes as the TC and WC source for my recorders (in my case, Sound Devices 970s). I am guessing you are planning to route the individual audio inputs to the recorders from the TIO interface via Dante directly, rather than patching through the X32, then the X32 will be making mixes that will also go to the recorders via Dante or analog (in the case of the Scorpio)? Here's where you have to be a little careful. 

 

Firstly the Scorpio, like the SD970, does NOT currently allow you to sync the Dante Card inside it to the word clock from the Scorpio's circuitry or external word clock fed into the Scorpio. In the setup you describe, the Scorpio or the X32 are the only Dante devices capable of being the Clock master for the Dante network (unless you are using a RME Dante interface for your Reaper computer, as opposed to Dante Virtual Soundcard - in which case you are in luck). Therefore, you really have to treat the entire Dante system (TIO, X32 and the Dante card within the Scorpio) as if they were just an Analog mixing console and cables for the purposes of planning your Sync system. You sync the Scorpio off one of the USOs (more about this in a minute) and Genlock the cameras to other USOs and your audio will stay in sync with the cameras for the duration of an Act just fine. LTC from the USOs line up the files.

 

For some reason, SD have chosen with the Scorpio to put the WC In and Out on the same Lemo that does TC in and Out - as a software switchable option. Therefore, you can not input BOTH Wordclock and LTC to a Scorpio at the same time. Realising this was an issue, they have allowed LTC as a choice in the Clock Source menu - ie it uses the timing information inherent in the LTC stream as a Wordclock source. You would choose this option to sync from the USO dedicated to your recorder. I'm used to the Ambient system, which uses an RF network to continuously 'tune' all the TC boxes to be in perfect sync - not sure if the USOs do this as well or just jam once over their network, but even so, using the USO on your recorder is likely to give you a better drift result in these long-take projects than using the internal clock and LTC from the Scorpio as master (but you knew that already). The Dante network will just elect either the X32's Dante card or the Scorpio's Dante card or the TIO as it's master - whatever - the Scorpio re-clocks the Dante channels internally to match the chosen WC source and this process does not cause any drift.

 

The bigger issue is your backup Reaper system. Assuming you are using Dante Virtual Soundcard rather than a hardware Dante to USB / Thunderbolt interface, it will be locked to the Dante Network clock - which bears no relationship to your USOs (and therefore the Cameras). You must set the X32 to clock from the 'slot' (ie the X-Dante card) for Dante to work at all in that console without glitching, and as Philip has pointed out, the X32 doesn't have Wordclock (or even AES) In anyway. This means your Reaper recording can only be an emergency backup, and be aware if you need it, it will drift from the cameras and need fixing in the Edit. The way around this, if desired, is to either use the aforementioned RME Dante interface or insert any other Dante Device you can get your hands on with a Wordclock In connector (and the ability to sync the Dante Network to that) into the Dante Network - even if you don't need it for Audio IO purposes. Just set that device as Preferred master and Sync To External in Dante Controller, and feed the WC input from the WC Out from your 'recorder' Ultrasync - as it'll be un-used by the Scorpio. Reaper can chase Timecode in recording, but it's not very straightforward. Lots of menu settings to make it work.

 

As for the Cameras - depends on which model of Arri:

 

Alexa (full size) - DO NOT HAVE GENLOCK. This is why my regular Theatre-filming clients do not allow them for this type of work. I have other clients that do use them (they want LF version, typically) - in this case we usually insist the Cam Ops button-off every 10min or so under co-ordination from the Director so only one is off at a time, in a place that doesn't cost them a desired shot. The Cam Ops need headset comms for this. This creates new timestamped files and reduces drift. Not ideal, really.

 

Alexa Minis & Amiras - these both have Genlock and you have the choice (which I choose) to Genlock from the LTC input from the USO sync box. With the Amira, you have to set the TC BNC to be an input rather than output in a menu, as well. Be aware (if you aren't already) that the TC mode you want is Free Run, not Jam Sync. In Arri-speak, Jam Sync, a relatively new addition, is where the camera samples the incoming LTC/Genlock speed for about 30sec and 'trains' it's internal clock to match - after which time it ignores the sync box. It works OK for a Steadycam who doesn't want the sync box left on, but if you can leave the box there it's safer to do it the 'old way'. I pretty much guarantee with any Arri taking external LTC and Genlock that there will be a 1 to 2 frame Offset on the timestamped LTC as compared with the Recorder or a TC slate. This is an offset, not drift, it sometimes freaks out less experienced DITs or Edit Assitants but is very easy for them to fix in Post.

 

 

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Thank you Nick for this detailed reply,I was hoping you might reply as I read some of your other threads regarding these types of jobs.

I was initially confused with the shared WC/LTC port on the Scorpio but in my testing worked out the SYNC to LTC option.The plan in my head came a little unstuck when I realised the X32 doesn’t have a WC input and that’s when I thought to make the Scorpio

the master....We have a tech rehearsal today so I’ll find out any gotchas.

when you sync the ARRI  MINI genlock to LTC, do you put in an offset in the camera ? Or do you just make the Editor aware of it?

What kind of drifts are we talking about with reaper if it is running unclocked with 30 min takes.?

I will try to hire in a RME DANTE or similar interface if I can find one.

thanks to you and Phillip for your input 

NEVO

My other thought is I’m going to be putting guide tracks onto each camera so if there are any sync drift it shouldn’t be too difficult to

align the multitrack record .

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3 hours ago, nevo said:

when you sync the ARRI  MINI genlock to LTC, do you put in an offset in the camera ? Or do you just make the Editor aware of it?

What kind of drifts are we talking about with reaper if it is running unclocked with 30 min takes.?

 

No, I don't muck about with offsets - that would indicate Sound taking ownership of a Camera issue. I do like to get a TC slate shot at least at the top of the performance, as if it and the sound TC agree, it's easier to convince unaware editorial staff that it's a Camera thing (and makes it dead easy for them to see what offset to apply when dropping the clips in their timeline). With the setup I suggested, Reaper is at least running of the Dante Network Clock, so will be pretty well calibrated - better your average Camera's internal clock without genlock. In tests I've done, you might see as little as a couple of frames up to maybe 6 frames in half an hour. Certainly easily fixable in the edit if you have to use it - but still looks bad to a professional Post dept that might not know you personally.

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On 6/20/2020 at 2:29 AM, nickreich said:

Alexa Minis & Amiras - these both have Genlock and you have the choice (which I choose) to Genlock from the LTC input from the USO sync box. With the Amira, you have to set the TC BNC to be an input rather than output in a menu, as well. Be aware (if you aren't already) that the TC mode you want is Free Run, not Jam Sync. In Arri-speak, Jam Sync, a relatively new addition, is where the camera samples the incoming LTC/Genlock speed for about 30sec and 'trains' it's internal clock to match - after which time it ignores the sync box. It works OK for a Steadycam who doesn't want the sync box left on, but if you can leave the box there it's safer to do it the 'old way'. I pretty much guarantee with any Arri taking external LTC and Genlock that there will be a 1 to 2 frame Offset on the timestamped LTC as compared with the Recorder or a TC slate. This is an offset, not drift, it sometimes freaks out less experienced DITs or Edit Assitants but is very easy for them to fix in Post.

 

Fascinating, I wasn't aware that the ARRI camera eventually "ignores" the sync box if set to Jam Sync. Thanks for sharing, good to know. 

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On 6/19/2020 at 10:29 AM, nickreich said:

Firstly the Scorpio, like the SD970, does NOT currently allow you to sync the Dante Card inside it to the word clock from the Scorpio's circuitry

Has Sound Devices acknowledged this somewhere? I remember it was a problem with the 970 but they eventually put out new firmware that fixed it. I haven't put the Scorpio in many large dante rigs to test it but it seems silly for them to make the same mistake again.

 

My natural instinct would be to set Scorpio as preferred master and "sync to external" within dante controller and then clock everything else (except cameras) over dante from the Scorpio.

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your natural instinct would be right - except for the fact that Sound Devices (either intentionally or not) didn't correctly implement this feature of the Brooklyn II Dante card inside the Scorpio and 970 (and presumably 888) - so even though Dante Controller allows you to tick the 'sync to external' checkbox, it will subsequently throw up regular Dante clocking errors. If they intentionally chose not to support this feature, they could have prevented that checkbox from showing in Dante Controller. Sound Devices has said to another user on the JW FB group where we were discussing this earlier this year that they are looking into fixing this for the 8-series down the track - but for now, it's not an option. I don't own an 8-series, but that user did and reported the same error on his Scorpio - which SD acknowledged. They most certainly DID NOT put out firmware that fixed the problem in the 970 - I own two, and operate another four, all on the latest firmware, and the sync-to-external problem persists. Maybe you are thinking of the firmware update when they added the ability to select Dante as a sync source for the 970?

 

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UPDATE.

We did our first of three records a couple of nights ago.....

I recorded analog into Scorpio fed straight from radio racks .
Plant mics and music from X32......

I also took a Dante feed to the Scorpio and to Reaper.

We shot on ARRI MINI and I Genlocked with USOs via LTC
The Scorpio I jammed from USO then sync via TC....

Talked to editor and everything lined up to the guide track I put on ARRIMini.

Thanks to everyone especially Nick for the advice

Nevo

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On 6/22/2020 at 10:00 PM, nickreich said:

Maybe you are thinking of the firmware update when they added the ability to select Dante as a sync source for the 970?

Yes you're right, I was thinking of the other way around. I remember it solved a lot of problems for me being able to clock the 970 over dante.

Seems they've botched the dante implementation on the scorpio/8 series. If I remember right, it doesn't do redundant mode and the switch mode doesn't actually work as a switch but just "pass-through."

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