Monday, 14 March 2011

Training Course Notes: Synchronising Timecode

Timecode socket on the
Canon XF305
One of the advantages of buying a Canon XF305 or XF105 is the ability to sync timecode between cameras. Synchronised timecode can make editing multi camera shoots a lot easier.

However, someone asked me a few weeks ago if it was possible to sync a Sony with a Canon. In theory there is no reason why you can't, because all the manufacturers use SMPTE timecode. But, I wanted to check...and the answer is yes you can.

I've put together a video to show you how to sync a Canon XF305 with a Sony EX3. But, it would work between any two cameras that generate or recognise SMPTE timecode.

Of course if you want to sync two Canons together here's how it is done...

First of all make sure all the cameras you are going to sync together are set to the same bit rate and frame rate. Press the MENU button and scroll down to the OTHER FUNCTIONS MENU and press SET to select. Now scroll down to BIT RATE/RESOLUTION and FRAME RATE. If the cameras do not match up - change them now.

Next -  designate one camera as the main master camera - it will be generating the timecode.


On the main camera set the following in the TC/UB SETUP MENU

· MODE          >>> PRESET
· RUN             >>> FREE RUN

Plug a BNC cable into the MAIN camera’s TIME CODE socket. Plug the other end into the receiving camera's TIME CODE socket.


On the RECEIVING camera set the following in the TC/UB SET MENU

· MODE          >>> PRESET
· RUN             >>> FREE RUN
· TC IN/OUT >>> IN

As soon as you select IN you should see the timecode change and synchronise to the master camera. It is usually a good idea to leave the cameras connected for a minute or so to be sure they are synced

Once you are sure everything is working alright  you can remove the cable.

Be aware that....

Synchronisation may not be precise:

· If you power down one or both of the cameras
· If you select MEDIA mode
· If you change the video format
· If you change the frame rate
· Over a long period of time.