When we make a video we often need to send review versions for our clients to check the content, make notes and send us details of any amendments or comments during the production process.
Timecode is used throughout video production in various ways throughout film and video production. In this FAQ we will only cover the client preview aspect.
What is timecode?
Timecode embedded within the image provides an accurate reference to each and every frame. For single productions the timecode will start at zero 00:00:00:00 and count up in hours, minutes, seconds and frames. In our videos there are usually 25 frames per second – therefore each one represents 1/25th of a second. However, if we have a series of videos for review we may start each one with a different leading number to minimise the risk of confusion.
How does timecode help?
The online previews we make let our clients see their video at different stages during post production. A timecode reference allows them to give us very specific feedback about the footage.
Often we’ll shoot much more footage than is required in the final production. It’s not uncommon for two minutes of screen time to need an hour or more of camera shots (rushes) to be filmed. Sometimes our clients leave the shot selection to our editor but there are times, especially in technical and training presentations that the shot selection and order needs to be chosen by the client or their advisers. If it’s not practical for them to sit in on a edit we can upload all the rushes with timecode for review.
During the final stages of post production we will have one or more draft versions that need to be checked and approved before the final master is made. Any changes required can be noted to use together with the relevant timecode.
Making a timecode list
Let’s say we have nine minutes of clips that needs to be reviewed and whittled down to a one minute web video. We’ll upload all the clips strung together in a single nine minute file. The timecode will start at 00:00:00:00 and end at 00:09:00:00.
The list of shots doesn’t necessarily need to make up the final running order – just list the bits we need to include in the video. We need to know the start and end or ‘in’ and ‘out’ points for the section you are describing. In generate you don’t need to worry about the number of frames unless the cut off point is critically important.
A simple shot list mike look like this:
01. In 00:00:52:00 Out 00:01:02:00 – Wide shot of reception area
02. In 00:01:40:00 Out 00:01:44:00 – Mid shot of salesman
03. In 00:02:10:00 Out 00:02:16:00 – Close up of new widget
An amendment note might say:
01. Fade music at 00:00:30:00 and bring in voiceover
02: Change Fred’s job title at 00:00:50:00 to read ‘Technical Manager’
These concise, clear notes leave no room for error or misinterpretation. Previewing online speeds up post production, it’s convenient and saves us and the client the time and expense of site visits, posting discs etc.