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TOPIC: Timecode issues with Arri Alexa

Timecode issues with Arri Alexa 3 years 9 months ago #2024

  • Fred Ginsburg
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Greetings Professor,

I have a question about Timecode in the Alexa camera model. Here is what happened.

Yesterday, we were having some issues matching the Timecode on the camera display to the slate and recorder. I was using Denecke TS-3 & Sound Devices 744T.

I was jamming the camera straight to the recorder and we went through the proper options on the camera. It notified us that the Timecode jam was successful. Despite this, the display would still read about a second behind the slate and recorder. We checked our frame rates (23.97) which matched on the slate, recorder and camera settings.

Then we tried powering the camera off and on which produced the same results. So we called ARRI and I was notified politely by the representative on the phone that the camera's Timecode display will never match the numbers on the slate or recorder because it was not designed to do that. It was only designed to show the numbers running so that we would know it was recording Timecode as well.

These were his exact words. He suggested we try making an offload and syncing them in avid and it should work just fine. So our editor did that and he said everything synced up just fine.

My question is, have you ever heard of this issue before? It seems strange a camera would be designed this way whether or not everything turned out okay. I'm put more to ease since our files were able to sync correctly with no issues, but I figured I would run this by you to see what you think.

I have not worked personally with the Alexa, so I have no experience with its timecode quirks. The most important thing re timecode is that the camera visually see (photograph) the TC slate, which will provide a visual link to the audio TC. If a timecode offset is required in post, the editor can enter it into the AVID.

So long as the camera display is within a second of the other TC, I would not be concerned. Obviously it was jam sync'd, or else the display would be way off. Sometimes a delay is the result of digital to analog output or processing of the display numbers. Same reason why even single system audio appears to be out of sync when viewing digital dailies sometimes.
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