A Question on Timecode

Posted on by Larry

[This article was first published in the November, 2010, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe.]

Sebastian asks:

I’m delivering an 88min feature, for which we have a number of deliverables – 23.98NDF, and 59.94DF. The project has been posted at 23.98NDF, when we play the feature out to tape at 59.94DF, the out point on the tape’s TC is ~5sec later. This poses the question – will our feature (at 88mins on NDF) cause issues with a station if we give them a DF tape that clicks out at 88m and 5s? How do things usually work when there are multiple deliverable types and one pre-specified duration?

Larry replies: The reason that drop frame timecode was invented was because non-drop did not properly indicate running time.

As you have discovered, there is a difference in running time between DF and NDF material. The DF is correct, the NDF is not.

So, if you need to deliver something for broadcast, you will need to use drop-frame timecode. If your movie needs to have an exact running time of 88 minutes, then you will need to switch to drop-frame timecode AND cut five more seconds.

The CONTENT is identical between DF and NDF. The TIMING is not.


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