What Is Timecode?

Timecode is a signal recorded with your video that uniquely identifies every frame of your tape using a time stamp in hours, minutes, seconds, and frames. Timecode uses the following format:

Figure. Diagram showing the hours, minutes, seconds, and frames elements of SMPTE timecode.

Timecode was invented in the late 1960s so that computer video editing systems could automatically find specific frames on tape and record editing decisions that could then be performed over and over again. The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) standardized several electronic timecode formats for video in 1967.

Note: Other types of address code, such as keycode and ink numbers, are used for editing film. For more information, see the documentation that came with Cinema Tools.