Sync With HD Cameras

written by David Missall
Service Manager, Location Sound Corp.

Everyday, my phone rings and the first words I hear are, “What’s with this 23-frame time code?” followed by “I am about to start a job that is using a 24P HD camera (usually the Sony HDW-F900). How do I stay in sync?” Just as we were getting used to having to contend with pull-ups and downs when dealing with a 24-frame film shoot, we get another wrinkle. The actual time code rate is 23.976 fps. It is also referred to as 23.98 fps when rounded up. Since there is no 23.976 frame rate selection on most available time code audio recorders in the market used for production, including all DAT recorders, Nagras and digital multi-tracks, you can see why there is major concern.

The situation is not as bleak as you would think; and, in fact, may simplify things. The following will mainly deal with interfacing with the Sony HDW-F900 camera since that is the one I have tested with at Panavision in Woodland Hills, CA. Whenever I write 29.97 fps, I am always referring to “non-drop frame”.



Panavision, Woodland Hills, CA (818) 316-1000
Nolan Murdock, Product Specialist

Evertz Microsystems Ltd., Ontario, Canada
Alan Lambhead, Vice President of Engineering

Ambient Recording, Germany
Chris Price, Sales Manager

Denecke, Inc., North Hollywood, CA
Charlie Parra, Engineering

Reprinted with permission from Location Sound