What is the difference between VITC and LTC Timecode and which one would you advise using?
Actually, if you can get away with it I would use both. There are
advantages and disadvantages to either one.
LTC (Longitudinal Time Code) is a continuous signal recorded either on
the tape's address track or on an audio track. The higher end formats
like D2, Beta SP and 3/4 " have an address track devoted exclusively to
Time Code onto which LTC is recorded. On 1/2" tape formats such as
VHS and SVHS, there is no separate address track so LTC is recorded onto
Channel 1 and appears as a consistent, pulsing tone on a VU meter. An
advantage to LTC is that it can be laid down after the fact and changed
without damaging the original dub. However, on 1/2" tapes you lose one
of your audio tracks which is fine if you only have one mono track of dialogue.
Most tape decks have difficulty reading LTC at slow speeds
and not at all in freeze frame.
VITC (Vertically Integrated Time Code) is recording on the horizontal
position bar between video frames. This means that VITC can only be
inserted when the dub or transfer is in progress. One of VITC's faults
is that it at times becomes unreadable when searching at high speeds.
I was told once that VITC can also bleed into the video frame but I have
never heard or seen it happen.
Although I don't know what tape format you are transferring to, if you
are creating transfer masters from tape or film I would use matching
VITC and LTC assuming that your masters have address tracks. Most labs
will do this automatically. I'm assuming that your window burns will
be for viewing on a regular VCR. If this is the case, there shouldn't be
any TC on your dubs. That is the reason for having the window burn, so
that you have the visual matching TC reference numbers without being
forced to use a deck that reads TC.
Berry started his career as an editor and post production supervisor, having worked on documentaries for PBS and The Discovery Channel.
Berry’s award-winning short fiction, documentary and experimental films have screened at festivals around the world. His first feature film secured a rare worldwide distribution deal and received a limited theatrical release.
The publisher of Film Underground and founder of Northwest Film School, Berry has taught production at Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College. Berry was awarded a Master of Arts in Production and Direction from the National University of Ireland and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Theatre Arts from Montana State University.
Berry’s academic work has been published in scholarly journals as well as trade publications such as MovieMaker Magazine, CyberFilmSchool.com and FilmFestivals.com as well as The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Filmmaking. He is the publisher of Film Underground and has served as an expert source for international newspaper and radio media outlets. Berry twice served as the Director of the Northwest Projections Film Festival and as a panel judge on numerous festivals and competitions.
Glen Berry is the Director of the Northwest Film School where he teaches directing, producing and editing. He has specialized in creative editing and post production techniques with independent film. His interests include the cognitive functions of the mind as it applies to motion picture editing as well as new forms of communications in the visual arts.
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