Recently, I have been working audio on shoots for some TV docudramas. In addition to the normal audio we provide, we have been asked by some production companies to provide timecode (from the camera)with a digital audio file. These files are used only for transcription.
Timecode is needed to associate the video from the interviews because they run about 60-90 minutes.
Here is the problem: I have been trying to do this with an H4 zoom and frankly,I cannot figure out how to record the timecode correctly without messing up the audio file. I would be very appreciate if some could give me some insight on how to correctly do this.
Timecode comes into the unit on a channel very hot. I did find a youtube video somewhere and the audio guy says you have to record the timecode at -40db.
2. I have tried 4 channel unsuccessfully. I have to be able to adjust channels independently and monitor and have not been able to do this.
3. I have tried 2 channel but I cannot adjust the channels independently.
If the audio is too hot, there is bleed over onto the other channel and the transcriber will report back the files are damaged or corrupt. I've a had a few shoots already and it's never been right. I really need to figure this part out right.
Hoping this is just operator error. I will admit I am not completely familiar with the H4 recorder.
Recording timecode as an audio track can be tricky, but it's your only option with a recorder like the H4N (because this recorder does not have a timecode reader or the ability to stamp timecode to the metadata of the recorded file).
Since linear timecode signal is a line-level signal (Actually it's somewhat hotter) you want to avoid sending it into a mic preamp. A mic preamp has way more gain than is needed for a timecode signal. You want to send the timecode inot a line input. I'm not absolutely certain but I believe the H4n will treat any XLR input as mic and send it though the mic preamp and it will treat any 1/4" connection as line. In other words: I think the only way on the H4N to properly connect a line level signal is with a 1/4" plug. So if you're getting timecode over an XLR, try adapting it to 1/4" and adjusting the level of the timecode input down until it isn't clipping.
If you find yourself using timecode a lot, you should consider an audio recorder with a timecode reader that can stamp your files with timecode information instead of using up an audio track.
H4N line inputs are not, they are hi-z for guitars etc. You need to get or make an attenuating cable to drop the signal and plug into the mic inputs - however your problems don't end there,timecode has been known to bleed thru onto the other tracks. If you get all your gain staging correct this shouldn't be too much of a problem. However your best option is to bite the bullet and buy a professional recorder, you'll never look back, there's a wealth of good one's out there. 2nd hand FR2 (older style with T/C I/O ) is a great place to start.