HOW TO: Use timecode sources in MovieRecorder ?

What type of timecode source?

With MovieRecorder, you can use multiple TC sources:

  • The Timecode provided by the video device (either embedded in the SDI or a separate audio LTC input on the device)
  • A Serial port (either on a video device, or using a USB to serial adapter such as Serial Commander
  • An Audio LTC Source, using any audio input on your Mac
  • Timecode Systems Products, (previously known as Timecode Buddy) a provider of timecode solutions, among which some have WiFi or Ethernet TC source.
  • The Mac Clock


Select the Timecode source

Each video input can use a different Timecode source. To select the timecode source of a video input, open the Source settings popover by any of the following means:

  • Click on the small wheel to the left of a source
  • Double-Click on a Source
  • Select a Source and use the keyboard shortcut (cmd+i)

Once opened, at the bottom of the popover you will be able to set the Timecode source to either "Application Timecode", "Video Card Timecode", or a "Serial Port" if you have one available.



Application Timecode

We recommend to use application timecode only if your video device :

  • does not have a Timecode input (usually audio LTC)
  • and/or the video inputs do not have timecode embedded in the ANC

Indeed, using Video card timecode is always the most accurate way of receiving timecode because then there are no differences between the processing time of each signal (Video and timecode)

When using "Application Timecode", the timecode signal is coming from a separate timecode source than the video device. It can be an audio input of the Mac, a Timecode buddy, the Mac clock. You select which the timecode source you want to use in the preferences of the MovieRecorder application. The same timecode source can be used by all the local sources of your MovieRecorder application.

To configure the "Application Timecode" source, go in the MovieRecorder preferences:

There are 4 types of timecode you can use:

  • "Mac clock": uses the built-in clock of the Mac
  • "Audio LTC": uses an audio input of your Mac. You will be able to use any of the audio inputs that are usually available for your Mac, the same that are available in your System Preferences > Audio > Input. You can use the built-in audio inputs, or use a simple USB audio device for example. If a valid Audio LTC timecode is provided in the audio input, we will make sure to decode it. See the following article for more recommendations and common mistakes with Audio LTC.
  • "Timecode Systems Products": (used to be called "Timecode Buddy") a provider of timecode solutions, among which some have WiFi or Ethernet TC source. For more information on how to use and confifure Timecode Systems Products, you can read this article.
  • A "Shared Timecode": use the TC coming from any of the video sources. This can be useful if only one source has a valid TC input, and you want to "distribute" that TC to all other sources. See below "Sharing Timecode of one source with others" for more info on this.


Video Card Timecode

the TC will be provided by the card itself (it can either be embedded in the SDI stream (RP188, LTC,...), or from a separate connector on the card itself)

This option is only available for the sources that support it, and is the most accurate one because the timecode is transmitted together with the video frames. 

When this option is selected, we will receive the Timecode directly from the video device. Depending on the device that you use, you will have different possible TC sources. It will either be:

  • the TC embedded in the SDI signal (RP188, LTC, VITC,...)
  • an Audio LTC Source on a separate connector if the video device has an Audio LTC input

The available TC source for the video card timecode depend on the Video card used. And thus, you should check the technical specifications page of each video device manufacturer (AJA, Blackmagic-Design, Deltacast) to see which TC source they support.

When possible, we recommend using the Video Card Timecode for the best accuracy .




A serial port is mainly used if you intend to do VTR capture for the source, but you can also use it as a TC source. You should be able to select a serial port either if :

  • you have a USB to serial adapter such as Serial Commander connected to the Mac
  • or if your video device has a Serial port

Select the one you want to use. 



Sharing Timecode of one source with others

Since MovieRecorder 3.4 it is possible to share the Timecode of a source with other sources. So for example if you use an M|80, you can have only one SDI input with embedded TC and share it with all the other 8 sources.

This reduces the requirement to have a TC embedded for each signal, but note that it may reduce the accuracy as the timecode is not provided by the video device anymore. 

It's a 3 steps process:

  • Make sure that at least one source uses "Video Card Timecode" (and not Application Timecode)

  • Then go to the MovieRecorder preferences, and you should now see the source as a possible Application Timecode Source:

  • for all the other sources, select "Application Timecode" as timecode source.


Timecode offset

Because the timing of the different "pipelines" (audio, video, timecode) can be sometimes delayed, or at lease are not identical, it may be needed to modify the timecode offset to make sure it is in sync. For example you may have your video go through a converter and this would add a few frames delay compared to the timecode. You can change that here (values are in frames):




Using Audio LTC with 59.94 or 50 frames per seconds

The Audio LTC format limits it to a maximum of 30 fps, so if you are using formats with higher frame rates (such as 720p50, 720p59.94, ...), MovieRecorder will need to convert the frame number received to match the video source, and so the timecode is both accurate and you don't have 2 times the same frame number.

The frame number will be doubled, so for example a Timecode 01:10:35:15 will be converted to either 01:10:35:30 or 01:10:35:31 (depending on the time it has been received).

You will need to configure MovieRecorder differently if you use Video Card Timecode or Application Timecode:


With Video Card Timecode

When your video source is set to use a fps higher than 30, you will see at the bottom of the source menu a checkbox "Incoming TC is [...] FPS" :


Enable that option when your timecode source is half the fps of your video source. Note that this option is available since MovieRecorder 3.5.6.


With Application Timecode

In that case you can select the frames per second of the incoming signal:


If for example your video source is 59.94 and your timecode is 29.97, make sure to select 29.97 in this preference.



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