Why you need Timecode and Reel Numbers

Hopefully this post is just for a few newer editors, fresh into the world of digital editing who need a bit of a brush up on how to edit their Canon 5D footage in a professionally organised fashion.

Jeff Harrell has posted a lengthy but clear description of why, since the dawn of cinema, having correct timecode and reel numbers is vital for any editor worth this salt. Here is the link to the full post. Below is a quote about the problem, why you need QTChange is a good enough reason to read the whole post…

Understanding Timecode & Reel Numbers

“Some cameras, the 7D being chief among them, do not record either reel numbers nor timecode while they’re running. In that example above, the first event in the EDL refers to reel 8, timecode 08:21:19:00. That identifies a unique frame; no other frame in the whole project has those identifiers on it. But those identifiers are only there because I put them there by hand. When that frame came out of the camera, it was reel 0, timecode 00:00:00:00. And since there are about 400 shots in this show, I had 400 different frames on my computer that were all called reel 0, timecode 00:00:00:00. They were all in different QuickTime movies — MVI_2237 or whatever — but they all had the same timecode and reel numbers. So if you said to me “reel 0, timecode 00:00:00:00,” I’d have to go “Which one?” Cause I had hundreds of those exact frame.

Remember: Being an editor is about communicating. And communicating is about being unambiguous. Two frames called “0 00:00:00:00” is bad enough; four hundred of them is absolutely intolerable.”

About Jonny

Jonny Elwyn - A freelance film editor, living and working in London.
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