On Location DVD Recording with Timecode Window Burn

Interview showing timecode window burn Quick turnaround on a project? No more waiting for VHS window dubs! Imagine being able to leave a shoot with a DVD that contains the interview footage and sound, with a window-burn of the matching time code. You could then screen and log the interview on your laptop in your hotel, at your office, or on the plane home. With an in-the-field DVD recording system this is all possible.

We originally got this idea from ESPN producers who began requesting it for their shoots after working with other crews that had it. Here’s how it works:

First I recommend choosing a DVD recorder that will give you “confidence” - that is the ability to monitor the video and audio as it goes down onto DVD with outputs. Our original system didn’t have this, so we bought a much simpler basic consumer-level Sony DVD recorder that you would hook up to your home TV. Then it’s simply a matter of getting video, time code, and sound into the recorder.

For video, the BNC output from your professional camera needs to be converted to the consumer RCA input on the recorder. The best way is to run a BNC cable from the camera, and then add a BNC to RCA converter on the recorder end. If you are using a Mini DV or HDV sized camera, there may be an RCA output already. Then it’s a straight RCA cable.

The time code path depends on the camera you are using. Our Panasonic HDX 900 HD camera has a down converter that places a window of the time code on the video output of the camera. It’s a simple matter of setting the camera for this output, and then connecting the camera directly to the deck as described above.

Our Sony D600 betacam cameras require that a Horita Timecode Reader be placed in the path. A cable from the time code output of the camera, and a cable from the video output, both go to the time code reader. Here the time code is placed in a window on the video, and that output then goes to the DVD Recorder.

For sound, like most consumer-level equipment the DVD recorders like a “hot” signal. You can either take the monitor out from the camera, or a tape or monitor out from the mixer. Then it’s a matter of converting that cable to RCA to go into the DVD Recorder.

To check your work, be sure to hook up an SD monitor with speakers to the output of the deck. This gives you the what-you-see-is-what-you-get “confidence” I mentioned above that the signals are making it through.

When you are finished, be sure to “Finalize” the DVD before you hand it to the client. Check the recorder’s instructions for how to do this. Otherwise it will only be playable inside your recorder - sort of useless to the client!

Another tip - use the white printable blank DVDs. That way you can write a label directly onto the disc, throw it in a jewel case, and hand it off to your happy client along with the master tapes!

Please note - DVD with timecode window burns is available upon request with any of our packages. We take care of all the details mentioned above, and just hand you DVDs to view. Please click HERE for details.


This Article first appeared in the May 2008 issue of Big Pictures News.

Written by Tom Miller, Copyright 2008, Big Pictures Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.