Modifying Timecode in Media Files

In Final Cut Pro, you can modify media file timecode in several ways:

In general, choosing Modify > Timecode provides deeper control over your timecode modifications, but the Browser allows you to modify multiple clips at once.

Timecode modification
Using Modify > Timecode
Using Browser
Adding or deleting timecode tracks in a media file
Allowed
Not allowed
Modifying timecode (Media Start)
Allowed on any clip
Allowed only with offline clips not associated with media files
Modifying reel names (Reel, Aux 1 Reel, Aux 2 Reel)
Allowed
Allowed with alert message
Modifying timecode rate (TC Rate)
Allowed
Allowed
Choosing source time timecode track (TC)
Unavailable
Allowed. Control-click in the TC field.
Viewing different timecode display formats
Allowed
Allowed. Control-click in any timecode field.

In the Browser (or the Item Properties window), you can only adjust Media Start and Media End fields for offline clips that are not associated with media files (in other words, the clip must be completely offline, which means the file path in its Source property must be empty).

You should rarely need to adjust a media file’s source timecode track. One exception is when you are logging (before media files have been captured) and you need to adjust the start timecode of an offline clip. In this case, you can modify Media Start and End timecode in the Browser columns.

Warning: Modifying or deleting your source timecode track or reel name may make recapturing from source tapes impossible and EDLs inaccurate. Unless you have a good reason for modifying the source timecode track, it’s best not to modify the timecode captured from tape.

Using the Modify Timecode Command

Timecode tracks in your media files can be added, altered, and even removed in the Modify Timecode dialog.

Each media file can have up to three timecode tracks and corresponding reel names:

  • Source timecode track and reel name

  • Aux 1 timecode and Aux 1 reel name

  • Aux 2 timecode and Aux 2 reel name

When you select a checkbox next to a timecode track, you are adding that timecode track to your media file. Deselecting the checkbox deletes that timecode track from the media file.

Important: Be careful not to delete the source timecode track of your media file by deselecting its checkbox.

Some timecode rates may not be allowed for some media files. These limitations are based on the frame rate of the media file, since some timecode rates are unnecessary for certain video frame rates.

To modify the timecode of a clip’s media file
  1. In the Browser, select the clip or sequence with the timecode you want to change.

  2. Choose Modify > Timecode.

    Figure. Modify Timecode dialog showing the poperties associated with the selected clip or sequence.
  3. Verify that the settings are correct:

    • Frame to Set: Choose the frame you want to alter.
      • Current: Choose this to alter the timecode of the current frame in the clip or sequence.
      • Starting: Choose this to change the timecode of the starting frame of the clip or sequence.
    • Source TC: Select this checkbox to add or alter the timecode of the source clip or sequence’s media file on disk.
    • Aux TC 1 and Aux TC 2: Select these checkboxes to create or change the properties of auxiliary timecode clips or sequences.
    • Reel/Roll: The reel number is displayed here. If you need to change the reel number, enter the reel number here.

      Tip: You can also change the reel number in the Browser or the Item Properties dialog. For more information, see Changing Clip Properties in the Browser and Viewing and Changing Clip Properties in the Item Properties Window.

    • Timecode: The current timecode is displayed here. If you choose to modify the timecode, enter the new timecode value here.
    • Format: Choose Drop Frame or Non-Drop Frame from the pop-up menu.
    • Rate: Choose a timecode rate from the pop-up menu.
  4. Enter the new timecode value in the Timecode field.

  5. Click OK to permanently change the timecode.

Modifying Timecode in the Browser or Item Properties

Most timecode settings can be modified in the Browser or the Item Properties window, but some fields are restricted to prevent accidental changes to many media files at once. When you modify particular Browser columns, Final Cut Pro warns you that the media file, not just the clip, will be affected. For more information, see Viewing and Changing Clip Properties in the Item Properties Window.

The TC Rate item property (visible in both the Browser columns and the Item Properties window) always shows the rate of the source timecode track of a clip’s media file. The Aux 1 or Aux 2 timecode rates are never shown here. Use the TC Rate column in the Browser to adjust the timecode rate for many clips at once. Some timecode rates are not allowed for some video frame rates.

Note: The TC Rate property is the rate of the source timecode track in a media file. The Vid Rate property is the rate of the video track in a media file. In many instances, these are the same, but not always. For example, an NTSC media file has a video rate of 29.97 fps, but a timecode rate of 30 fps.

Modifying the Timecode of Merged Clips

If you select a merged clip and choose Modify > Timecode, each item in the clip that’s linked to a separate source media file appears in its own tab. This allows you to change the timecode of each item in a merged clip separately. For example, a merged clip with items from three sources has three tabs in the Modify Timecode dialog. For more information, see Merging Clips from Dual System Video and Audio.

Figure. Modify Timecode dialog showing that the number of tabs indicates the number of source items.