Thread: To the gods of sound knowledge and timecode drifting...

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  1. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulcurtis View Post
    I've not used either of those for that length of time so this isn't a personal observation but since i've been googling my way to enlightenment i've read numerous places where the Alexas at least are off. Could be a per camera issue - or as you say length of service. That's an interesting nugget of info - that stability of these crystals can be an issue over time.

    I'm in the acceptance phase now, so just need to decide between tentacle and ultrasync...

    cheers
    Paul
    Paul it depends which Alexa. The Mini doesn’t NOT have the same clock as the full size cameras and are notionally “not good” aka a system clock, not the seperate clock the full size bodies have.

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  2. #12  
    Thanks everyone. I'm in a slightly more knowledge place now when it comes to sync/TC!

    I guess it's turned into a Tentacle vs Ultrasync situation - does anyone have any opinion. I've used tentacles but one of the benefits (built in mic) doesn't really apply in red land.

    cheers
    Paul
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  3. #13  
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    Ive used the tentacles for many years now without issues. They're so small!
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  4. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulcurtis View Post
    So Epic-W and Zoom F4 (upgraded from a H4n recently so not used yet). When we've hired in sound for bigger jobs i place some blinkers on my head and don't pay too much attention. But i usually end up with a tentacle sync on my epic shoving TC in and the post side is smooth.

    For my own stuff, hence the F4, i'm working out whether i should be doing similar.

    But what i struggle to understand is why the inter webs are full of cameras drifting and boxes loosing frames - because from a techy view i just don't understand why anything *digital* should drift? So maybe the tech inside these things is something i don't understand. wondering if anyone can shed light on why all cameras aren't rock solid at timecode?

    Why?

    There are three main reasons why:

    1) "image 1st, sound last"

    Unfortunately it seems most camera manufacturers just don't give a sh*t about sound department's needs, they just pour all their resources into making cameras which produce the prettiest pictures instead.

    From random Chinese brands up to even ARRI themselves, they've all done things which make me as a soundie facepalm hard.

    2) "human error"

    Unfortunately half the human population has below average intelligence, and won't do their basic research beforehand or follow simple logical instructions step by step.

    Doubt me? Just hang out on any filmmaking forum for a while....

    3) "gremlins"
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  5. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulcurtis View Post
    Thanks everyone. I'm in a slightly more knowledge place now when it comes to sync/TC!

    I guess it's turned into a Tentacle vs Ultrasync situation - does anyone have any opinion. I've used tentacles but one of the benefits (built in mic) doesn't really apply in red land.

    cheers
    Paul
    The original Tentacle Sync was a game changer for its small size and very low price, however now in 2019 the Tentacles have stiff competition when it comes to smallness (in size or price). In my personal opinion, the Ultrasync ONE is the best buy at the moment if you're sure you'll never need the scratch mic. (for a few reasons, such as: genlock, LED display, :blink, etc)

    I did a short video here on my YT vlog channel, which compared three different timecode boxes:



    And later on, I got the newer Tentacle Sync E as well:

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  6. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulcurtis View Post
    This is exactly what i read everywhere. But taking a step back - why? If tentacle can keep time in a $200 box why can't my $20k camera? That's the crux of my pondering question. Internally a camera is scanning a sensor at an incredibly precise rate otherwise we'd be getting dropped frames and odd cadences, surely? So as well as working out a practical solution for me, i'm just interested in understanding the why. Sometimes the general knowledge is out of date, perhaps modern cameras are fine. Don't you find it curious that cameras are drifting in this day and age (assuming they are!)
    There are varying levels of "precise", sure, it is doing it accurate enough not to drop frames. But from a timecode perspective, that is a very rough level of "precise", this is why we have genlock.


    Quote Originally Posted by paulcurtis View Post
    So after some digging about how they work and what a quartz crystal is then i guess that you're probably right - skimping on parts. However that still doesn't really make sense - because the cost difference doesn't appear to be that great. The TC side is probably separate than the sensor electronics, more an after thought.
    Yes, because timecode and genlock are two different (but related) things.

    Quote Originally Posted by paulcurtis View Post
    Just seems such an industry anomaly!
    Nah, not an anomaly, just the usual business of noone giving a sh*t about the sound department....

    Quote Originally Posted by paulcurtis View Post
    So i guess i will need tentacle/utrasyncs running as well as the supposed built in TC generators. What a waste! Understand if it's a huge multi camera / device set up but other than that...
    What "supposed built in TC generators"? They don't exist! Nobody ever claims to have them in their cameras.


    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Trim View Post
    Hey Paul,
    I’ve always been curious as to why the manufacturers don’t develop more robust TC. I think it comes down to priorities. Let’s take RED for instance. I would guess that the bulk of their engineers time is spent developing sensor and color technology and things like audio and TC are left as the least important part of their universe. As important TC is to professional workflows, I’ve never felt the manufactures felt it had to be dealt with on a higher level then they have. It’s all of them too. I’ve been on shoots with massive Alexa setups and have spent all day dealing with TC error messages even though it had a box on it. And that’s a well documented issue on that camera. Perhaps that has been addressed by Arri but fact is, a lot of pro mixers I know lament the fact that TC can be an issue on a lot of cameras but again I’ve always felt as I just stated it comes down to priorities. Not enough post people are yelling at the manufacturers and saying “fix this”. They just blame the sound department when clips don’t sync.
    Yup, ARRI is "best" when it comes to dealing with timecode gracefully, but yet.... even ARRI isn't immune to their problems.
    http://IronFilm.co.nz/Sound/ (Sound Recordist based in Auckland, NZ. Happy to travel too)
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  7. #17  
    David,

    Thanks, i appreciate the details!

    I've moved over to your camp about sound related stuff. I think the ultra syncs are perhaps best in my case for the reasons you say (plus they're a bit cheaper in fact)

    I'm just putting together a small sound bag for my own stuff around the F4.

    thanks again
    Paul
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