[00:00:18.19] If I told you that you could synchronize your video and audio content with perfect timecode sync on an Atomos Ninja V, along with another Atomos Ninja V, plus a camera like the Lumix GH5S which has timecode support via the PC port, or a camera like the Lumix G9 which doesn't have timecode support at all, a recorder like the Shogun 7 which has good old-fashioned timecode input, the app MAVIS on iOSwhich is an advanced video recorder including timecodesupport, 32-Bit float audio on a Zoom F6, video on a Gopro, audio recorded on the MetaRecorder app on iOS, and your slates using MovieSlate 8, is that something you might be interested in? Yeah? Well, let's get into it.
[00:01:14.09] Let's start by answering the question, “why?”,why bother with timecode? If timecode is there to synchronize your shots, can't you just do that with the audio track? I mean, every modern NLE will easily take multiple clips with audio on them, find how they sync up, and build a perfect multicam clip.
[00:01:30.03] And that is perfectly fine if you are in a small set like this here and all the cameras are close enough to you to hear everything you say. However, if you are on a bigger set, maybe you have got a camera that is farther away, up on a rooftop or down the road, out of range of being able to hear your subjects, then audio sync is not going to work.
[00:01:46.29] Or maybe shooting into a car; you have got a couple characters in a car shooting a dialogue scene, you are outside of the car, or maybe the cameras even mounted on the car, and so, you have wind noise to contend with. In these situations, audio is simply not going to work.
[00:01:58.09] Or maybe you are on a really big location like a football field, and you have cameras all over the field and they are shooting all at different times starting and stopping throughout the game, and you want to make sure that all of those cameras can be brought into perfect sync, audio is never going to work in that situation.
[00:02:11.17] There is lots of reasons you may want to use timecode. So, let's talk about how to do it starting with the AtomX SYNC. This little guy right here attaches to the back of your Ninja V. And it actually sits between the Ninja V itself, and the battery. So, this actually has a couple of neat tricks up its sleeve, but at its core, it is a timecode transceiver.
[00:02:28.06] That means, it can both transmit and receive timecode. This device can be the master or the slave on the network. Once this is attached to the Ninja V and you'd slide your battery in here like so, you now have everything you need to generate timecode and record accurate timecode onto your track.
[00:02:42.29] Since the battery attaches to the back of it, Atomos built into this a small battery itself, so that when you are shooting, if your battery starts to go low but you don't want to stop recording, you can actually take this battery out, swap it with another one, put it back on without ever stopping.
[00:02:57.16] Now, there is a few other neat tricks on this device but we will talk about those in a minute. Let's go ahead and get it attached to the Ninja. I will go ahead and attach it to the back and power it on. And there is a couple of things we are going to want to configure in here. Let's start by going into the TimecodeMenu.
[00:03:11.18] And you will see up here that you have a source that you need to choose. The source should be set to AtomXSYNC. That's this device itself. But what timecode is it actually going to use? If I go into the Set Timecode Menu, I can choose it to be Time of Day or I can set it manually. But I will leave it at Time of Day and set for Non-Drop Frame and then tap Set Timecode.
[00:03:29.27] This now sets the master clock for all the other devices on the network. You'll also notice over here that there is a calibrate button. Now, this is critically important when working with an HDMI camera. As you undoubtedly know, HDMI cameras deliver their video and audio a little bit later than real time. Somewhere between two and maybe eight or nine frames, just depending on the camera.
[00:03:49.14] This is inevitable with an HDMI device. It simply takes time to process the data from the camera sensor and get it out over HDMI. And the problem is that the camera is going to send the video and audio a little bit late but the Atomos recorder won't necessarily know that. So, we need to program in the delay into the recorder.
[00:04:06.21] Fortunately, that is really easy to do. We don't have to guess or test, there is a built-in calibration tool on the device. All you have to do is take a audio cable and plug it into the headphone jack on the Ninja V, and then tap the calibrate button. The Ninja V will play an audio tone out of the headphone jack, and the other end of this is plugged into the microphone jack on the camera.
[00:04:27.06] The camera will receive it, and then send that back over the HDMI port up to the Ninja. The Ninja will calculate the difference and it will set the timecode difference for you. So, I will go ahead and tap on Calibrate, and Calibrate Again. It measures it and it says there is a delay of six frames. I will go ahead and tap Accept, and now, that is programmed into it.
[00:04:45.08] Next, I will go to the Sync Config menu. And under here, we will see that this particular unit is set to be the master. It is also set to Channel 7. So, that means that any devices that I want to connect to this on the network, all you have to do is put them in a slave mode and set it to the same channel. You will also see here a Region. It is currently set to North America because that is where I am.
[00:05:04.15] And the great thing about these devices is, they can be used anywhere in the world. You simply change the region depending on where you are, so that the device can operate at the correct and legal operating frequency for that part of the world.
[00:05:15.26] Next, you will see Bluetooth. You can actually pair up to six Bluetooth devices to the AtomX SYNC. We will talk more about that later on. The last thing you might have noticed up here is that there is a record control button that is currently set to “On”. What this means is that, if that is enabled, when I tap record on this Ninja V, any other Ninja V or GoProon the network, will automatically start recording as well.
[00:05:37.07] Now, let's check out our other Ninja and make sure that it is on the same network. I will go into the TimecodeSettings and under Sync Config, make sure it's set to slave and on the same RF Channel 7. That is it. These are now in sync.
[00:05:50.20] Because of the frame offset programmed into both recorders which might actually be a little bit different for each camera, if you were to shoot video of these screens in slow-motion and play it back frame by frame, you might see that there actually is a timecode difference. Remember, that is there as the offset which is required so that everything lines up in post between all the different cameras.
[00:06:08.26] All right, next let's add one of these other cameras to the list. And to do that we are going to use this. This tiny little timecode device will connect to the master on your network and keep perfect sync along with everything else. Why is this sync so good?
[00:06:21.12] Well, it utilizes a quartz crystal inside of each and every single one of these devices keeping extremely accurate timecode. In fact, as long as they are connected, the timecode is perfect. But if they get disconnected, which should be pretty hard to do on most sets because the range is over 150 meters, you will find that the timecode will only drift less than a single frame over the course of 12 hours.
[00:06:42.11] And then, as soon as the devices come within range of each other, they will find each other, say hello, and start to slowly drift back into sync, keeping perfect timecode across all of your devices. Now, this little guy can be used in a lot of different situations. I am going to go ahead and start right using this on the GH5S.
[00:06:59.06] The GH5S can accept timecode through the PC port with a special cable adapter that comes with the camera. I am going to take the BNC cable that came with the UltraSyncONE and just connect the two. At this point, the GH5S isn't yet reading the timecode. I actually have to go into the menu and tell it to read the timecode from this device.
[00:07:17.07] So, I will go into the menu, navigate to the Timecode option, and under External Timecode Settings, tap Link, Timecode Input, hit OK, and then hit OK again. And as soon as I do that, the timecode will be read from this device. Now, at this point, the GH5S is actually going to start keeping its own timecode.
[00:07:34.08] And it doesn't have a quartz crystal in it, so it is not going to be quite as accurate as this is. Which means, you are going to want a jam sync probably a couple times throughout your shooting day. But this also means that now, I can take this off and use it somewhere else. I am going to go ahead and put it over here on the Shogun 7.
[00:07:48.03] The Shogun makes it really easy. The Shogun has good old fashioned timecode input on the back. So, all I need to do, is plug the included B&C cable into the UltraSync ONE and that is it. Next, let's get the G9 on the network. Now, the G9 poses a particular challenge because, it, like pretty much every consumer camera, doesn't have direct timecode support.
[00:08:07.20] Sure, you might find a Timecode menu in the camera but that doesn't mean that it can actually read timecodeexternally which is what we need here. So, while we can't make the camera read the timecode from any device, what we can do is put the timecode on the audio track.
[00:08:20.24] And then using software on the computer, we will be able to pull that timecode out of the audio track and embed it as proper timecode. And we are going to embed it with this, another UltraSync ONE. All I have to do is take this special cable that goes from the UltraSync ONE into the audio port and plug it in.
[00:08:36.29] As soon as I do, we will see on the audio level meters that it is receiving something and we know that that is the timecode. Now, with this particular cable, we are actually feeding the timecode to both the left and the right channel. Which means that this camera can no longer record regular audio. There is another cable you can get that will actually feed the timecode to one channel and then open up the other channel for another microphone input. So, you can still have audio and timecode on the same channel.
[00:09:00.11] Next, let's go to the GoPro. The GoPro has a dedicated back called the SyncBac. This is a tiny little timecodedevice that simply nestles in the back of your GoPro using a specialized little case that comes with it. You simply drop this into place, close the door, latch it tight, and then connect the two using an included USB cable.
[00:09:23.21] It's just a tiny little USB-C to USB-C cable. Plug those in, and now they can talk to each other. I will fire up the camera and immediately it is going to find and sync up with the network. Now, this camera is ready to go. And remember, when I start recording on the Ninja, that is actually going to start recording on the GoPro as well.
[00:09:42.04] Now, let's go to our audio recorder. Using the Zoom F6, I can record 32-Bit float audio with perfect timecodesync. And that timecode sync actually happens because of a Bluetooth module. This is an add-on to the Zoom F6 that allows the Zoom to connect to various Bluetooth devices. In our case, of course, we are going to use it to connect to the timecodenetwork.
[00:10:01.21] Now, remember, I mentioned Bluetooth earlier. This right now is going to be connected to the master Ninja here. But it could also be connected to this little guy here, the BLUE. We'll come back to this. But now, let's just take a quick look in the menus.
[00:10:13.12] I will go into the menu system and navigate to SYSTEM, Bluetooth, Timecode, and then Connect. If you have never paired them before, then you will need to go on to the master and start Bluetooth pairing. The two devices will find each other and you will go ahead and accept that. But in this case, I have already paired them. So, now that I have told it to connect, within a few moments it has actually found the master network. And up here, we can see, if I go to the Sync Network, I can see the Bluetooth F6 listed there for me.
[00:10:43.06] Next, let's talk about our iOS devices… I have here an iPhone running Apogee's MetaRecorder app along with a special cable from Sennheiser that is a Lightning microphone. This app connects directly to the Bluetooth network. You will see there is an option in here to enable Bluetooth timecode and it tells you what device is currently connected to. In this case, it's connected to the BLUE 80, which happens to be this little guy right here.
[00:11:06.23] Now, what this does is connects to the network like any other timecode device but its purpose in life is to be a Bluetooth broadcaster. This means that you can connect other Bluetooth devices to this instead of to the master over there.
[00:11:18.11] Now, why would you want to do that? Why not just connect to that master? Well, remember, Bluetooth doesn't have very good range. So, if you wanted to be able to get your Bluetooth device farther away from the master, you wouldn't be able to do it without dropping that Bluetooth connection. This, however, has much better range. And it has that quartz crystal in it so it keeps perfect timecode even if it does go out of range of the master device.
[00:11:37.19] Then to here, you can connect your Bluetooth devices to make sure that they are all in sync. And that is what I have done with this phone here. Imagine the scenario where you are walking around a location with an iPhone and a microphone with this in your pocket making sure that you keep perfect sync with everything else going on around you.
[00:11:54.14] We also have the MAVIS app; an advanced video recorder for iOS with timecode support. I will go to Settings, scroll down to Timecode, and you will see that the Timecode is set to the UltraSync BLUE. So, it too, is connected to the same BLUE device.
[00:12:07.26] Now, one of the other features that this has is it can actually pull the exact frame rate from the master. So, if I had this camera set to say, 24P but I had the master set to 2997, this will communicate that and reset this camera to make sure it's shooting at the right timecode.
[00:12:22.06] And finally, we have our slate. I will grab the iPad, and on the timecode screen, tap the Timecode, and tap SYNC. This is going to ask, what I want to connect to… the Atomos Bluetooth device and I will connect to it. It's going to search for it. And just as before, if we hadn't paired it already, I would start pairing on the master, but I have, so it finds it. And we will see up here, where it says CAM 1, that is the master, that it is now sync to it.
[00:12:47.28] So, that is all the devices. Everything is currently in sync. Let's go ahead and record some video and then take those shots into the editing suite and see what happens. We are going to start with the master Ninja. I will tap “Record” on the master and that immediately starts the master and the slave Ninja V. And you may have heard that the GoPro started recording as well.
[00:13:07.03] Now, let's go ahead and fire up the GH5S and the G9. And then, let's get the audio recorders going. We will start with the iOS one. Let's not forget the Shogun over here. And then I will take the camera on the iPhone. And then, let's not forget about the Zoom F6 itself. So, I think we are ready to go. Let's go ahead and turn everything off and take it into the editing suite.
[00:13:27.21] I have already copied all the clips into Final Cut Pro and name them so we can see where each one came from. Let's have a look. The first shot is the Ninja V master followed by the Ninja V slave and then there is the GoPro after it. The GH5S with the embedded timecode. The G9 with the audio timecode which I have already converted to normal timecodeusing a third-party app.
[00:13:46.17] Unfortunately, Final Cut Pro doesn't do this natively, neither does Premiere. Actually, Resolve does. But in this case, I used an app called LTC Convert. Let me show it to you real quick.
[00:13:57.18] This is LTC Convert, and basically all I have to do is drag my clips in here, click on Scan for LTC, it will find the timecode in there, and then I click on Render New to create a new version of the clip.
[00:14:08.18] At this point, I could transcode the media as well. I have already rendered this out and brought it back into Final Cut Pro, so let's get back to that. Next up is the MetaRecorderaudio app, the Shogun 7, the MAVIS recording, and the Zoom F6.
[00:14:22.24] You may have noticed that I have sorted these by timecode and they are in the order that they were created. There's the first two shots started at the exact same time. The GoPro starting just four frames later, again triggered automatically by the Ninja V master, followed by the GH5S, the G9 and so on. I will go ahead and select all of these, right click, and choose New Multicam Clip.
[00:14:42.09] And the only thing you really have to change in here is to make sure that you disabled “Use Audio For Synchronization”. If you leave that on, then even though there is timecode, Final Cut is going to scan the audio of all the clips which will take a really long time to line things up. We don't need that. So, I will go ahead and make sure that is disabled.
[00:14:58.00] And from here, I could actually just use automatic settings. But if I want to be super sure that it is using the timecode, under Angle Synchronization, I can set that to Timecode. I have also already named the camera angles in the order that I want them to assemble in. This a good way to ensure that the cameras that you want, only camera 1, 2, 3, and so on, are in that order. I will go ahead and click “OK”. And there is the Multicam Clip.
[00:15:19.15] Let's open that up and you can see the entire assembly here on the timeline. If we go to the very beginning of this and you look at the Multicam View, you will see the first two cameras that started at the same time. And then I will just advance forward 1, 2, 3, 4, frames and there is that third angle coming online.
[00:15:34.07] And then, I will just start scrubbing through and we will see the rest of them appear. So, there's camera 4, 5, 6 of course, is audio, there is 7 and eventually 8 is on there. Now, let's look at the Source Timecode viewer to make sure that everything is lined up. And sure enough, there is all the clips with all their timecodes in perfect alignment.
[00:15:53.08] I don't know about you, but I find that syncing by timecode is so much more reliable and so much easier than doing it with audio. As you saw, it synchronizes instantly; there is no waiting and there is no errors. If the timecode is there, then it is going to line up to it. It is really a great way to do a production.
[00:16:08.04] Obviously, on a really big set, it's critical, but even on a smaller production like for YouTube videos like I am doing here, this can be invaluable. So, thanks for watching. I hope you found this interesting and educational and we'll see you in the next video.