What is a Timecode Break?

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Timecode Issues

In the world of digital video you are going to find problems with timecode almost inevitable. The reason is that this digital time marker, which began with measuring film, will start and stop according to your digital video camera decisions. Your decisions, however, may be much more spastic than you ever realized. Every time you press record, turn it off, and then set it to begin again you are sending your timecode through a major loop. These changes can cause what are known as timecode breaks.

Getting Into a Timecode Break

A timecode break is where your timecode on your digital video tape breaks from its direct line. Timecode acts as an address for events on a tape, so it is important to keep it in tact for editing. Timecode breaks can end up occurring for a number of different reasons. If you start and stop the tape quite a bit you will usually not break the timecode, though you may get some dropped frames. Usually you break the timecode if you record something, then rewind to watch it, then go back to the estimated location you were at.

The likelihood is that you will not go back to the exact frame where the video last left off, hence breaking the flow of the timecode. You can also break the timecode on your digital video tape if you have set your timecode to the time of day. This will actually break the timecode every time you turn the record off because when you return it will not be in exact sync.

Capture Now and Dropped Frames

Broken timecodes can cause problems at times when capturing video. Instead of using a batch capture you may just want to use capture now on the entire tape, unless you are experiencing dropped frames. Once you have used capture now you can just delete the extra footage that you do not need as to not waste space on your hard drive. Timecode is also very important for recapturing and reconnecting footage that may have been deleted for whatever reason. This is really just a precautionary measure, but can be disturbed or made difficult by broken timecodes. It can still work on the tape, but only as long as everything ends up matching.

Digital Video Tape

There are a few ways to fix the timecode problem before you even capture your video. One of the most common ways is to transfer the video from one digital video tape to another, and let the second record continuously. This will require the second tape to keep a continuous timecode. There may be some video quality lost during this process.