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PLAYBACK RIG(timecode with Pro Tools?)


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Hi guys,

Just been wondering about how to do timecode with Pro tools 9 and my 003. I have lost several gigs lately because I don't have a recorder that does time code. I have a Tascam DR-680 and a SD442. I know from the studio that I can stamp the tracks with timecode by basically recording a track with a spmte file, but how then to sync cameras? I probably just need to break down and get a 788t, but cant quite afford it yet. Any thoughts on recording or doing playback straight out of pro tools with timecode(without owning SD or Zaxcom)? Some one mention to me that JLaudio makes a box that converts word clock in to smpte...Don't sound reliable to me?? Thanks a lot.

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The way I did it was layed 5 minutes of TC onto a audio track in PT starting at 00:00:50:00 (to give 10 seconds of lead in for the opening of the song, song starting at 1 hour). Line up your song in pro tools then send the song mono out left channel, and the LTC track out right channel. Left channel goes to your PA system, and Right channel goes to the slate/camera (via cable or wireless if you have it). That's about it. I do it with PT 8 and a mbox mini with no issues.

The only thing is to be careful with how you record the TC track, it took me a bit of messing around before I had one recorded that worked when played back into the slate.

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Record a few minutes of timecode and place it in your session under the audio track

Snap them both all the way to the left so they both start at the same time

pan the TC track right, and the audio track left.

send output 1 to camera audio

send output 2 to the timecode input (use adaptors)

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Keep in mind, for music playback you'll often need some leadin to help cue the talent. It could be a count-in or a click track, etc.

So, you may wish to back-time the time code so it starts at, say, hour one when the song actually starts, and has some code before that. You'll want to start at hour one, or later, so the timecode doesn't wrap back before zero in the leadin.

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Yeah In PT you will have a really easy time with cue's. Just go through the song making memory markers and labeling them intro, chorus, verse etc. Assuming the song is 4/4 120bpm (modify for your actual song of course) record a click track with 5 counts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) then tab to transient the 5th click and hit D to cut off the end. This way when you drag your 4 click section the end of the region is directly on the 1 of the next bar and you just need to find the 1 count of whatever part of the song they are shooting. Set your preroll to 5-10 seconds (ask the AD to find out how much lead in time is needed). Select the begining of the click track you made and voila. 5-10 seconds of preroll into a 1, 2, 3, 4, ACTION kind of thing.

If you have enough time before the shoot to make the session go through the song and make cuts at the 1 of all the starting points they will be shooting. This way when you need to line up the click track you just click the region section you will be recording and ctrl+shift+left click the click track and it will line up the end of the click track to the beginning of the selected region.

sounds kind of complicated but its a super fast way to do it when your on set.

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Some one mention to me that JLaudio makes a box that converts word clock in to smpte...

I think you may be a bit confused on this. If anything, the box would convert MTC (MIDI timecode to SMPTE). Something like a MOTU digital timepiece would be a popular box for just this (and could also convert to VITC if memory serves...does that even still exist in the nonlinear realm?)

Maybe this was the box your friend was referring to?: http://www.proaudio.com/product_info.php?products_id=3314

Word Clock is a means of synchronizing sample rates between multiple A/D/(A) machines, and doesn't come into the timecode conversation. It's purpose is to ensure (basically) that sample 1 and 47,999 on machine one and sample 1 and 47,999 on machine two (and so on) occur at the exact same moments in time.

Best,

Wyatt

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Thanks guys all good info, it is as I suspected from working in the studio. I recoded smpte into pro tools, but instead of panning it I routed it in pro tools to come out a direct out and came out that way into cameras(red) time code input. It was a great success. I used a dumb slate( cause I don't own a smart slate yet) but figure it would be the same with a smart slate, I would just have to keep it plugged in? Or could I jam it from pro tools? Also wondering if it would be better to record 12 hours of smpte, or Iam I cool with the one hour I have recorded? When I asked the editor the said the one hour was fine.

This is the best forum ever!!

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I've been looking into one of these.

http://www.rosendahl...k.com/mif4.html

Still need to find out if it will work will LE. At least to stripe code without having to hire someone with a SYNC I/O.

I do have a few different tracks of SMTPE at different rates. I'll import the SMPTE track that I need into my sessions and spit them out a single output.

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Yeah In PT you will have a really easy time with cue's. Just go through the song making memory markers and labeling them intro, chorus, verse etc. ...Set your preroll to 5-10 seconds (ask the AD to find out how much lead in time is needed). Select the begining of the click track you made and voila. 5-10 seconds of preroll into a 1, 2, 3, 4, ACTION kind of thing.

I have dealt with this a thousand times in post, but never had to do it on the set until a couple of months ago. It took me several hours to figure out how to do it, but I finally was able to use Beat Detective in Pro Tools and figure out where to put the cue beeps prior to each chorus and segment. I just dropped this into a laptop for playback, fed the output of the laptop into an SD MixPre, monoized that, fed it to a pair of powered JBLs, and it worked great.

Courtney Goodin's BWF-Widget Pro worked like a champ -- all playing back on a little $300 netbook. After going through that all day, I have much greater appreciation for the work a top playback guy does on a complex set.

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" you don't want a bunch of extra time code. "

why not ?? (right back at'cha )..

I has been learned from experience, and been pretty SOP for many years that the downbeat is at hh:00:00:00 of the TC, and there is a need for preroll TC both for technical reasons and performance issues (playback) so the TC tends to start earlier than the downbeat...

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Every time I have done a music video, the track that is provided to me includes at least 1 bar of silence before the music starts. As far as I know (and I could be wrong) that is a SOP as well for a properly prepped music track.

Floating the track over timecode leaves a lot of room for errors like nudging, and makes it more difficult to tell when something has moved accidentally. Snapping it all to the beginning makes it very easy to tell if something has moved, and if it has, makes re-syncing everything painless.

If you want to have a hard reference and leave your tracks somewhere in the timeline and note that reference, that works just as well, but in my opinion is a lot of extra work.

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different strokes for different folks...

a lot of us grew up with preroll,

I once lost a client because the PB track did not have enough preroll TC before the downbeat on their music video shoot.

If the downbeat is at hh:00:00:00 but with 30 seconds of preroll TC that is not "floating the TC", so I don't understand any issue??

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different strokes for different folks...

a lot of us grew up with preroll,

I once lost a client because the PB track did not have enough preroll TC before the downbeat on their music video shoot.

If the downbeat is at hh:00:00:00 but with 30 seconds of preroll TC that is not "floating the TC", so I don't understand any issue??

I'm the same way, but I like to start TC at 1 hour just to give any mechanical machines an hour of pre roll. Pass 0:00 and your back at 23:59.

I get my downbeats to land on 01:00:30:00.

It's pretty easy for post to establish an offset at that point. They should also be also getting TOD code and my start time never changes. Post just subtracts my 1hr 30 sec from their code to establish offset and it locks up.

Also, if you give them a 4 beat click before downbeat, they should be able to use that just like a slate slap.

Also, I ALWAYS make a beat map. In PT or Logic. It's pretty simple really. I can explain this further if anyone is interested. Tonight is not the night though...

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Do explain, Alexander! I'd like to hear a step-by-step on a simple method for making a beat map (as opposed to the convoluted way I did it the last time), in the event I get roped into another playback situation.

What we always requested in post is for the playback song to begin exactly at 1:00:00:00, preceded by 4 beats corresponding to the tempo. I believe this technique worked pretty well for a hundred major music videos I worked on over the years. As Alex says, starting at 00:00:00:00 will confuse the editing gear, because of its inability to go "less than 0." Being an old-school guy from tape, I usually suggest at least Hour 1, but anything will work. Older versions of Pro Tools don't like to go after hour 12, so that's another potential situation.

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Naaaa, both mechanical transports and non-linear edit gear just need about 5-6 seconds of pre-roll. Some can do it in less than a second, but "it depends." The trick is to get multiple transports to lock, using an external reference, and that can be dicey. If it's all in one timeline, not a problem.

If you're playing back a track and are relaying timecode to a timecode slate, I think a minimum of 10 seconds of pre-roll is the right way to go, especially in multiple camera situations. It takes time for the slate person to physically show the numbers to the other cameras (even assuming multiple slates), and this can be a critical problem for post.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Do explain, Alexander! I'd like to hear a step-by-step on a simple method for making a beat map (as opposed to the convoluted way I did it the last time), in the event I get roped into another playback situation.

Sorry for the huge delay. It's been an incredible week for work...

And family life....

I will explain this for my Pro Tools workflow. Logic is a bit different.

Making a tempo map is not something that I would do the morning of the session.

First of all, I find the first downbeat of the music I'm working on. Some songs start with a quick drummers intro or some very quick melodic lead in right to the downbeat. I then cut the intro off and just work from the downbeat.

I generally zoom in on the downbeat to the point that I can see the very beginning of the hit, almost to the sample level.

I put it on the grid and place the downbeat on bar 17 (bars 1-16 gives me plenty of lead time for whatever happens...)

It's taken me 5 minutes to write this, but this usually takes about 20 seconds.

Now I count to the next bar, and place my cursor on the downbeat of bar 18. I then hit "Identify Beat" (Command "I").

I tell it to be Bar 18, Beat 1

I then create a region of that length and place it before the song start... that will help me establish a count it, that I'll get to later.

Now if your working with a loop based song (now a days 99.999% of all music... unfortunately for music), I take a look at the tempo, and if I see it's 100.1, I set my session to 100 and turn the click on. If it's off, I'll start dividing the .1 to .05 or 1.05... I'll divide till I get the click right on with the music.

It may seem like a lot of work so far, but I'm at most 5 minutes into the beat mapping if I've had to divide the beat 10 times. I may end up at 100.0275 and the click locks all the way throughout the song.

Now if it's a song that was not done to a click, I go through the song, bar by bar and using the down arrow, identify every bar. If the song is slow enough, I can do this with the song playing, identifying every bar (they will be all odd numbers) and get through a song in the length of the song.

I then can generate a click track.

How about the count in?

That first bar that I took and placed before the song start comes here.

I identify the beat (Command "I") of the top of that clip. Then I delete the clip and drag out any pickup that came before the downbeat.

I'll automate a mute on the click track so it stops for the pickups.

Looking up, that seems like a lot, but I've done it too many times to count.

I can do this for anyone in need pretty quick. Just give a shout.

What we always requested in post is for the playback song to begin exactly at 1:00:00:00, preceded by 4 beats corresponding to the tempo. I believe this technique worked pretty well for a hundred major music videos I worked on over the years. As Alex says, starting at 00:00:00:00 will confuse the editing gear, because of its inability to go "less than 0." Being an old-school guy from tape, I usually suggest at least Hour 1, but anything will work.

I work this out by doing everything I stated above, unless you want the downbeat to start on the hour.

I always start my SMPTE at 1 hour. Then I'll wait to clip the intro back on after this next step.

Older versions of Pro Tools don't like to go after hour 12, so that's another potential situation.

I got around this by setting an offset. It didn't work on one gig because the director went 4 hours past our hopeful offset. At around 10 hours the PT rig started acting funny. It would take too long to explain the whole situation and it ended up turning out well for Soul Train in the end.

All in all, I've done this so many times, it's second nature for me. Please feel free to give a shout and I'll be more than happy to offer assistance.

I feel that I've left out so much, but I'm tired and have this very gig X3 tomorrow. If you have any questions on what I've posted, give a shout and I'll try to answer.

Wish me well though, I've been hired to record on set anything that is thrown at me, and it might be a full band with choir and lead vocal to just all playback. I love it though.

I'm pretty sure I have most things covered though, and that might include a full orchestra.

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