Final Cut Pro: How To Capture Footage with Timecode Breaks

In Final Code Pro, timecode breaks are one of the most common problems when capturing video footage from a DV camcorder. The primary reason for timecode breaks is the camcorder having been switched on and off between shoots, or perhaps the user watches playback on the camcorder between takes.

If you do not stop the tape before the end of the timecode mark on the tape, the timecode counter will usually be reset to zero, which results in a timecode break. The best way to work with timecode breaks is simply to avoid them at all costs. However, this guide will teach you how to work with timecode breaks and the best ways to avoid them.

What You'll Need

  • A computer that has Final Cut Pro installed
  • A DV camcorder

Step 1: Understand How Final Cut Deals with Timecode Breaks

Whenever Final Cut Pro encounters a timecode break, it will usually either abort the capture process or attempt to locate the exact location of the break in the sequence. However, in most cases, Final Cut Pro will prohibit you from capturing the footage at all. Therefore, timecode breaks are usually best avoided when shooting, rather when you're trying to edit the footage.

Step 2: Dealing with Timecode Breaks When Capturing in Final Cut Pro

If you must edit footage with timecode breaks in it, you will need to log and capture each section between the breaks separately. Final Cut Pro captures video based on the timecode, and when you have a timecode break, that number is reset to zero. This can often result in two clips at two different parts of the tape that have the exact same timecode because of the break.

So, in order to capture footage with time code breaks, you'll need to go to your log and capture window and capture the clips individually. First, capture the clip closest to the beginning of the tape, and then fast-forward past the timecode break and capture another clip. You'll need to repeat this process for as many timecode breaks as you have in your footage.

Step 3: Avoiding Timecode Breaks Altogether

As mentioned above, the best way to work with timecode breaks is to avoid them whenever possible. This means you'll need to learn a few basic shooting tips to help you avoid timecode breaks. Whenever you shoot a piece of footage, add padding length to the end of the clip of about 5 seconds. This will always leave a little extra room before and after each clip.

This method is also very useful when you're using Final Cut Pro to edit your footage as it can help with transitions and other effects. When using this method for shooting, get in the habit of rewinding your tape 2 or 3 seconds before you start your next shoot. This will result in ensuring that you have timecode markers available when you start your next shoot.

Many of today's modern camcorders come equipped with an End Search feature. This feature allows your camera to automatically find the end of the timecode marker. With this feature, you can switch your camera on and off, watch playback between takes and not have to worry about your timecode counter being reset to zero.

Popular P&S Cameras for High Quality Photos: