by Nicolas on October 23rd, 2019
In this article we will talk about the timecode issue and its consequences on your workflow : unable to export XML timeline for DaVinci Resolve and timeline Shifts.
A timecode is a sequence of numeric codes which represents a specific time in the video representation. It is written with HH:MM:SS:FF (or HH;MM;SS;FF for non drop frames display) with :
HH : hours
MM : minutes
SS : seconds
FF : number of frames, depends on your framerate
The common framerates in the video world are 8, 12, 15, 23.976, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 48, 50, 59.94, 60 and 120. What we call "NTSC Framerates" are the 23.976 and 29.97 framerates (they are 24 and 30 divided by 1.001).
In this article, we will often speak about the "Timecode" of a video footage : in Adobe CC it corresponds to the "Media Start" timecode, it's the timecode given for the first frame of the footage. In Premiere Pro, this timecode is displayed in the project panel (with "List View" activated, and not "Icon View").
Adobe CC softwares read themselves the header of the braw file which contains some informations about the video file. When reading the timecode in this header, Adobe makes an error and apply a round framerate (24, 30) for the internal computation of the timecode. And because of this, the timecode is shifted in time (it's not good anymore).
Sadly, Adobe does not let us correct this timecode in our importer, we can't correct it. That's why we correct the timecode through our BRAW Studio Panel. See below how to correct the timecode in Premiere Pro.
You are concerned with this issue only if :
You are working with 23.976 or 29.97 fps files
You need to get a good timecode : for example if you need to export your timeline in XML (for example to grade your footages with another NLE like DaVinci Resolve), then the timecode will be stored inside the XML and loaded by your other NLE. For some software, there could be errors, or time shift happening. For DaVinci Resolve, if the timecodes in the XML file are not good, then it will not import your timeline from the XML at all, or a shift will happen without being warned by Resolve.
On the other hand if you don't need a good timecode you probably shouldn't fix the timecode, as fixing the timecode could lead to other errors later on : Shift in the timeline, when relocating footages, please read our article about this.
You can do it manually by right-clicking on your source item and selecting "Modify" -> "Timecode".
But if you need to do it for hundreds of footages, it will be painful ... Thanks to BRAW Studio there is a workaround to get a good timecode for the NTSC footages automatically (almost). For this, you need to use the BRAW Studio Panel and just click on a button !
To open the panel, go to the top menu in Premiere Pro and click on Window -> Extensions -> BRAW Studio Panel.
After this, just click on the first button "set for every item of current project" and all the NTSC BRAW footage timecode of your project should be corrected automatically.
Note : BRAW Studio Panel can take a lot of time to process each .braw footage (it also imports metadata, see our article here), it can freeze a bit. Just wait for it to finish, or only load footages in small batches.
Et voilà ! Normally, after this if you export for example your timeline in XML and load it in Resolve, it will work !
Note that once the timecode is corrected, if you open the project and need to relink the braw files, you could get the Shift Issue : please read carefully our article about this
Note : If no image have been generated for the imported clip before you click on the correction button, then it will not work (because Premiere Pro call our initialization function just for the first frame it wants to render). So if you see that the timecode is not corrected by clicking on the panel button, to be sure that every NTSC files of your projects had at least one image already generated, you can display your files with the "Icon View" in your project panel, and scroll your files to be able to see every files with their miniature. After this, clicking on the panel's button should work. (See image below)
There are 2 ways to be sure your footage has a good timecode :
Right-click on your footage and select "Properties...". At the bottom, the good timecode will be displayed
The special metadata we add to your file which is called : "BR Timecode" is the good timecode. Please read our dedicated article about the BRAW Metadata for more information
We will send you a popup warning you that the timecode is wrong
Sadly, yes. If the clip is getting offlined, the timecode will be wrong again. (And after relinking also). So you will need to click on the panel's button again.
Even when you correct the timecode before creating the proxy, the timecode of the proxy file will be wrong.
But if you have your proxy file linked with the original braw file, then you will be able to correct the timecode of the source like any normal BRAW source without proxy attached.
Merging Clip is a feature of Premiere Pro which is often used to link Video with Audio. The best thing to do is to correct the timecode before to merge the clips (note : even by beeing offlined, the timecode will stay good !). Be careful, once the clips are merged, it's impossible to set their timecode in Premiere Pro !
For now, it's impossible to correct the timecode in After Effects automatically. You will need to do manually by right-clicking in your source footage in the project panel and select "Interpret Footage" -> "Main...".
If it is painful for your workflow, please explain why and send us feedback about this on our Contact page !