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Will Montgomery

Aaton Code Sync

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I understand that Aaton cameras like the A-Minima and XTR record Aaton code to the film itself. My question is on the audio side. How is that code output to an audio recorder? Does the camera have an audio out that will send a pulse signal to the recorder or does the audio recorder have to have a special Aaton Code compatibility? I used to work with SMPTE code on multitrack audio recorders years ago and I'd always loose an audio track to the SMPTE signal/pulse.

 

Basically I would like to use something inexpensive like a Zoom H4n that is a digital recorder that can record up to 4 channels of audio (2 built-in mic and two line/mic inputs) with an A-Minima and have the transfer house sync up the audio.

 

I'm sure I'm missing something basic so thanks for your patience.

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Suitable audio recorders need to have a suitable timecode generator and separate timecode track. A master clock is used to set the time-of-day and date. The camera and audiorecorder are then jamsynced to the master clock and the precision of the timecode generator in the camera and recorder is such that they will drift less than a frame in an 8-hour period.

The Aatoncode on film is read by the Aaton Keylink reader during the telecine transfer and the corresponding database can be exported as a .FLX, .ALE file to be imported into an edit system. Aaton's own Indaw audio workstation can also be used to do real-time syncing.

Aatoncode really shines for multi-camera shooting. I have done opera shoots with 7 cameras with public that was not to be disturbed by clapperboards etc.

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Thanks, that clears it up.

 

So my hurdle would be finding a digital audio recorder that could be jam synced by the Aaton Origin C master clock. While there are plenty of quality digital audio recorders available, the only one I can find right now that will work with this system is Aaton's Cantar which didn't seem to catch on very much and I'm sure would be prohibitively expensive.

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Over here, the Cantar is very widely used in fiction work. You can use the external Origin C+ as both a master clock and an external TC generator attached to any suitable audio recorder.

 

Before you proceed any further, you have to check with your lab or postproduction facility if they have the means to handle Aatoncode (picture and sound). I think most major production centers have this capability.

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Will,

 

with the Zoom H4n, you will not be able to jam the camera or the camera jam the recorder (I think). It looks like you will be relying upon a clapper to get sync. Like what has been said already on this thread, with another recorder, the camera could jam it. I sync by hand for all my smaller personal stuff. Not a pain at all, but with a lot of material, it can get tedious.

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