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Fixing bad timecode on DV tape

1084 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  RalphWonderLama
As I understand, the first thing I should do when buying a DV tape is to record from start to end to establish a serial timecode. I tend to buy tapes "just in time" :) and find myself needing to record before I have had a chance to establish the timecode. Thi results in my DVD recorder getting pretty darned confused over what it sees on the tape.

My question is whether there is anyway way to correct this? As I recall, the timecode is laid down on the tape just once and from then on there is no way to correct it if it's not from start to finish.

Is this correct? Is there any way to fix an "interrupted" timecode?


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you can transfer your DV video to PC via FireWire, edit in your NLE progam, and record back to tape.

That's how I do: I transfer my D8 tape to PC via FireWire using Vegas 4, then edit that DV AVI in Vegas, rearranging video segments, even putting titles and FX if I want, then copy back to tape via FireWire from Vegas.

This process has no quality loss at all, plus, you can set your camcorder to any date and time when copying back to tape, so your edited video will have the same date and time as original. This way you can get an "uninterrupted" timecode.
Yeah..I tried laying a timecode on my DV tapes once....just once...

I continually forgot to do this with new tapes, and also figured it was placing undue stress on my Mini DV camcorder, so I quit, and use a routine similar to kabanero's:

Transfer the DV avi files using a small, free program:

Since my wife tells me I have used up all the funds in my software budget, I am using Microsoft's Moviemaker2 to add/edit clips on the timeline , add transitions, titles, etc.

I then save to HD in DV format, again using Moviemaker 2 (which comes with the Win XP operating system). Moviemaker 2 can save an AVI file to tape, but its not reliable for that purpose.

I then save back to tape using WinDV, and I then have a tape with a continuous timecode.

You could also skip the Moviemaker step, if all you wanted to do was to rearrange your clips and/or re timeencode your finished product. You could just output your clip(s) back to tape using only WinDV, for the same result timecode wise... Great little program, that WinDV.

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Sorry if this is a stupid question, but could someone enlighten me on what this timecode is and why you'd want to establish it on a blank tape before using it ?
Timecode is a hour, minute, second, and frame identifier that assigns a numerical number to each frame of video on your tape. This enables your edit software to make frame accurate edits when you edit your program. Looks like this: 11:31:20:02 (eleven hours, thirtyone minutes, twenty seconds and two frames). Can be set for time of day, or any other preset value (i.e. starts at 01:00:00:00
Thanks, that explains what it is. But why do you have to establish it on a blank tape before using it ?

I've never done it and I've been capturing and editting my DV footage without any problems.

You don't have to establish time code on a blank tape. You just put tape inside your camcorder and shoot. The problem happens when you leave blank tape between your episodes. In that case time code starts again from 00:00:00:00.

For example. You shot something for 20 minutes. When you pause on your last video frame, time code will show 00:20:00:00. Then you shot something else for another 20 minutes starting on that last frame. When you pause on the last video frame of your second episode, your time code will show 00:40:00:00. BUT, if you FF your tape little bit after your first episode and start shooting from the blank space, time code on your last video frame of your second episode will show 00:20:00:00, instead of 00:40:00:00.

I hope this helps.
If you record something that has a time code, then say review the tape and Fast Forward just a bit to be sure you don't record over the end of what you have, the new section will(might?) start at 00:00:00.

When you dump your tape via Firewire, it can cause problems since you want a full hour in/out points of 00:00:00.00 but you don't have a continuous. You have several sections that start at 00:00:00 and go for some period of time.

A bit wordy, but having the same time stamp on different sections of the tape make edit difficult. If your tape starts and ends with a continuous time code, then you can create a cut list that is unique for that tape.

Think of it as a dictionary. Each time you go to a different letter, you start with page 1 again. And you are looking up a word someone said... newmatic... or was that pneumatic... You find one on page 71.... Is it under n or p? If it is contiguous, it does not matter about the additional information. The page in unique.

Cheers. Sorry if I confused you more.
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