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Constellation and Timecode

PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:00 am
by kaerfull1
I'm not seeing accommodations for timecode embedding on the back of the Constellation mainframe like other ATEMs have. I'm assuming timecode embedding has been dropped for this model?

Re: Constellation and Timecode

PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:59 am
by David Baxter
Correct. You can't jam sync timecode to it, which is a bit unfortunate.

It generates its own internal timecode and embeds that on all of the SDI outputs. Cameras like the Ursa Mini Pro (and soon the Ursa Broadcast — once the new firmware update comes out) can pick that timecode up and sync to it from their SDI inputs.

This is pretty slick overall when you've got all Ursas, as you were likely already running a second SDI (or fiber) to the camera for paint and tally. Now you've also got synced timecode for your switcher and cameras with zero extra effort.

When dealing with non-Ursas (or audio recorders, etc.), the Teranex Mini SDI to Audio (or SDI to HDMI, or SDI to Analog) has a feature to output the SDI timecode as LTC via XLR. And from there you can jam sync Tentacles or audio recorders or whatever.

I've tested this and it works reasonably well for my situation — it just requires a bit of a paradigm shift to consider the ATEM to be the timecode master for your production. Obviously this won't work for larger facilities or multiple switchers.

You can set the timecode in the GUI (to the second... which is close enough for roughly time-of-day, but not really close enough to be considered a jam sync). Also, there's no option to specify drop or non-drop, so it does drop for the 29.97-ish timecodes and non-drop for everything else.

Re: Constellation and Timecode

PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:16 am
by Xtreemtec
With this tool ( Windows only) from Ian Morrish you can set the PC time as timecode source without you need it to punch it in. ... o-pc-time/

But yes i would like to see that BMD would allow for the Analog input to be set as TimeCode input.
This would be very usefull for all those broadcast setups were we have to deal with external timecode/Tri-level sync generators as often in broadcast you need to sync to an external source.

Ans since you can have all audio by Madi now. It makes sense you can choose to set the Audio in as TC source. ;)

Re: Constellation and Timecode

PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:09 am
by Dave Del Vecchio
While you can set the timecode of the ATEM using the ATEM SDK the ATEM Software Control Panel (on ATEM firmware version 8.0 or higher), setting the timecode this way is not as accurate as a true jam sync. The generated timecode tends to be off by as much as a second from the start time entered. So it isn't anywhere near accurate enough to do frame level matching of different sources.

I was hoping that even if the ATEM Constellation couldn't read continuous timecode, it would be possible to do a software jam sync of the ATEM via the SDK. So you could use an audio input of the computer to read LTC timecode and use it to do a onetime sync of the ATEM's internal timecode generator. And then depending on the accuracy of the internal timecode generator it could easily be several hours before there is a frame of drift.

Unfortunately setting the ATEM timecode via the SDK doesn't seem to be quick enough to make this work, as the initial sync right after setting the timecode is off by a variable amount, for reasons that are unclear. More on that here:

I really wish they would allow using one of the audio inputs as a timecode source. This would be useful on all of the ATEM models that lack dedicated timecode inputs, not just the Constellation.

Re: Constellation and Timecode

PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:00 am
by Xtreemtec
Yes i wish it would do TC in by audio input.

I dont see it happen unfortunately that all atems will get that option in the future :( Something to do with processing time and not sure how much they will go back on the atems to implement.
And if so. What to do with the 2ME and 4ME? Because they have TC IN and OUT. Which is very usefull in our production. So i dont understand WHY a beast like the Constelation, Which is our next Go to mixer for our OBV does not have it. 1 of the biggest main mixers in the lineup, the mixer that is MOST likely to be used in big OBV's studio's and bigger live broadcast gigs.. :roll:

But yes it would be cool.