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#1 David Owen James

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 04:56 PM

I'm studying 16mm film production and have come to the subject of sound syncing.
I will be recording sound with an analog tape recorder. I imagine an audio recorder with crystal sync and timecode (no pilot channel) is best, but if I choose to shoot with an older camera will there be an issue of compatibility? The options for audio recorder seem to be either crystal sync with pilot channel or crystal sync with timecode, but not both. How common is timecode in 16mm cameras and how does it work?

Many thanks for your knowledge,

David
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 01:41 AM

Some 16mm cameras have built in time code, such as some Aatons fitted with Aatoncode, but many don't. As long as the camera has a crystal controlled motor you can can manually sync up with audio time code using a time code slate or even just the traditional clap slate. The important part is that the audio has a crystal generated reference that it can lock onto during playback either in the form of pilotone or time code. The editor will need to sync up each shot, however, editors tended to check the sync anyway because the time code between camera and audio didn't always lock during the automatic syncing process.

With the camera generated time code, you'll need to use a telecine that can read the time code on the edge of the film.
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#3 Tom Jensen

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 02:47 AM

David, don't over think this. If a camera and a sound recorder both run at 24fps, you should be able to synch them up with a hard clap of the camera slate and the film and audio should remain in synch for the duration of the tape. This was invented when editors edited on film using Kems or Moviolas. The same system works today using computerized editing systems. The editor looks at the picture for the slate and then listens for the clap and locks them together. Timecode was invented to make editing on computerized systems more efficient. You can use an older camera without time code simply by using a time code slate and timecode recording deck. The camera records the numbers on the timecode slate so when you go to synch it together, the editor looks for the number on the film, he then types that number into his computer and the computer locates that number on the sound roll and locates that exact spot on the tape. A camera with timecode imprints the timecode on the film so when you go to edit, you just synch up the numbers from the picture and the sound. As long as the the sound recorder and the camera are jammed synched, the film should remained synced for the duration of the take. You should have no problem using an older camera as long as it is crystal controlled.
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#4 David Owen James

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 03:12 PM

Ok, thanks gentlemen. The audio unit I plan to purchase will have crystal sync, so at the very least I just have to make sure that the 16mm camera also has crystal sync. I don't mind using a clapper just as a visual-audio cue and then syncing it in post manually. I think timecode is too fancy for my humble production anyways.

David
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