About Timecode in Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro works with SMPTE standard timecode, which is displayed in the following format:

hours:minutes:seconds:frames or HH:MM:SS:FF

Each frame on a videotape has a unique timecode number, which helps you keep track of video frames. The frame counter (FF) changes depending on the frame rate. For example, with 30 fps (frames per second) timecode, the frame counter counts from :00 to :29, and then back to :00 again. The frame counter in 25 fps timecode counts from :00 to :24.

Note: Some videotapes that are recorded improperly may have the same timecode numbers in more than one location (for example, multiple occurrences of 00:00:00:00), which makes it hard to identify where on a tape a particular shot is located. For more information about handling these tapes, see Capturing Video from Tape.

Frame Rate Versus Timecode

The frame rate of film, videotape, or media files determines how quickly frames are recorded or played back. Timecode (or edge code in the case of film) is a unique address for each frame, providing easy navigation, logging, recapturing, and final Edit Decision Lists (EDLs) that accurately refer back to original camera reels. In most cases, the frame rate and the timecode rate are the same, but film-to-video and 24p workflows often use media files with differing video and timecode rates.

For more information about frame rate and timecode, see Frame Rate and Timecode.