The importance of timecode

time code
/ˈtīm ˌkōd/

noun: timecode
  1. a coded signal on videotape or film giving information about such things as frame number, time of recording, or exposure.

    Timecode is broken up into hours, minutes, seconds and frames.

    Example: 01:33:28:05 = 1 hour, 33 minutes, 28 seconds and 5 frames.

Here is the formal “wiki‘ explaination…

Where do I start on this…

Recently I have noticed a trend with several camera crews I have been working with.  Generally we work for both major networks and commercial crews that hire very apt superstars – I have been amazed at the lack of several things.   Is timecode as important as lighting or taking lens cap off…  maybe?


Timecode is important no matter what you are shooting. Why you ask? well here ya go in an effort not to sound dated this really is important to know.

  1. Timecode is even more important than a file name in most editors.
  2. Filenames can be changed – Timecode cannot (well… not unless you know what your doing). So this makes a lock between sound and audio that cannot be broken.
  3. Timecode allows you to sync cameras!!!  Well cant you just use the clapboard?  (yes but the reality of MOST camera crews that hustle is they forget when doing interviews or something happens or blah blah…  It is crucial!  just make it happen.


I know this is short and sweet – and may just be the ramblings of an old editor with to little to do today.   But please…  Make life easier on your post people and sync jam cameras, make sure you are recording TC with audio ref files that match.  If you are shooting on a RED camera… please record an audio ref file for your editor.  Timecode is not a “thing of the past”.