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What Is Timecode!?

We recently released on our social media platforms that we are now able to offer timecode drive shows to our clients on both GrandMA2 and Onyx lighting software. This is something that I have wanted to build for a long time and because of COVID-19 I have finally had the time to build out systems for this services. Making lemonade outta lemons friends. While timecode is a common concept and my understnading of it is vast I know that isn't the case for most of our clients. I want to take time in this blog to explain what timecode is, what it can be used for, and how to integrate it into your next event.

Timecode clock

So. Uh. What Is Timecode?

Timecode is a timing signal that is used to synchronize multiple aspects of a show or video production. Timecode really got its start in the film making industry as a tool to mark specific places within a film. It was used so when editors start post production they can quickly find the specific shot they are looking for. Pretty neat huh?

Since that point the use of timecode has evolved and found a home in the live entertainment industry. There are multiple types of timecode and I won't go into that much detail in this blog post but know that it is the glue that holds everything together and in perfect harmony.

What Is Timecode Used For?

Great question, thanks for asking!

Timecode has tons of uses within the live entertainment industry. Everything from syncing the lighting to the music, the video to the lighting, special fx to the video...or all of them together. Think back to the last concert you went to or watched online. You probably didn't notice but in most cases the lighting, video, and fx were matching the music perfectly.

Each time the chorus came along the lighting did the exact same thing at the exact same time. Timecode allows designers and production staff to build and design a show that in lack of a better term is perfect and reproducible night after night even though staff or the team may change.

How Can Timecode Be Added To My Next Event?

I'll start off by saying timecode is an incredible tool and just because it exists doesn't mean that it's the best fit for your event, conference, service, or concert. You need to really ask yourself what your intended goal would be with adding a timecoded element to your show. Hiring a professional production company like Stratum Productions can help you decide if and how to best implement a timecode element to your show.

Now that we've decided that timecode is a great option for our show, how do we use it?

Maybe you're hosting a conference and want the intro music for each of your guest speakers to be in sync with the lighting perfectly. Some programming and testing--boom you're done! This can add an unexpected level of professionalism to the entire conference from simple 30 second snippets of timecoded music.

Maybe you are a DJ and you want to add a professional level to your show. Timecode is an incredible option for this. In fact we have ways the we can connect your DJ controller to the network and really allow you to be in control of the show. For example, as you increase the BPM's of a track the timecoded elements mimic that change.

Don't limit timecode to just lighting, it can be used to fire cues that allow slides to show up during a song, play a specific sound effect at a certain time, and tons of other creative things.

Ready to add a high level of professionalism to your event?! Let's chat about how timecode can be the tool that takes you to the next level!

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