Never skip a beat
At the start of the Timecode Buddy journey back in 2012, we promised a timecode revolution. It was an ambitious aim to take timecode from the sidelines and elevate its role in the production process. It was a mission we were committed to and believed in so strongly that we invested everything (quite literally) into developing cutting edge products to achieve this. But looking back, we were completely naïve to the scale of change we could achieve. The revolution has turned out to be far bigger and even more far-reaching than we could ever have imagined.
We’ve come a long way. For decades productions relied entirely on the soundie to keep in check the timecode on a shoot. No-one else really wanted to get involved. But in the last few years, there’s been a change in attitude. The broadcast world is waking up to the power of sharing accurate, real time and impeccably synced data across the whole production team. We like to think we’ve had a role to play in this revolution.
When we initially developed the idea for the Timecode Buddy: system, we developed products that first and foremost would meet the needs of a soundie on a shoot. We created an extremely long range RF link that was immune to normal analogue interference. We imbed a temperature controlled crystal oscillator at the heart of our products to create a robust master clock, with zero drift. And we banished all the fiddly controls allowing users to change settings from a simple on-screen menu. But with revolutionary thoughts always bubbling in the back of our minds, we didn’t stop there.
After a lightening bolt strike of inspiration, we made the bold decision to add a WiFi chip to the :wifi master and created the basic Timecode Buddy: app. For the first time ever, streaming of sample accurate timecode over WiFi to multiple iPhones and iPads was possible. This would give everyone from camera assistants to script supervisors and directors, access to the same perfectly synced timecode on a digislate on their personal iOS device. We were pretty chuffed with this achievement, but would anyone else be interested? We packed our fully functioning prototypes in our suitcases and headed to our first NAB in Las Vegas in April 2012, hoping it would catch the attention of some interested buyers. It did. And a whole lot more. In fact the enthusiasm for what we had achieved was overwhelming; a few months later we even won an IABM award for design and innovation.
It turned out it wasn’t just the audio crowd that were interested in the capabilities of our Timecode Buddy products. Camera manufacturers, productions themselves, edit software developers and a whole range of other broadcast professionals started asking us questions too. If we could do this with timecode, what other workflow hassles could we help them resolve? They all wanted us to take our revolution further. Suddenly it was no longer just about timecode – metadata, workflows and logging were quickly getting added to our development to do list.
Over the last couple of years, by collaborating with MovieSlate, Adobe, Teradek, Denecke and many other world leading broadcast technology innovators, we’ve pushed many boundaries and made great strides forward. But we are about to make one of our biggest steps yet.
At IBC 2014, in a few weeks time, we’re launching our latest piece of Timecode Buddy innovation. It’s our first product that’s designed specifically to be a camera and production accessory. It’s our most advanced, feature-packed and future-proof piece of metadata technology yet, and of course still contains our signature brand of rock solid timecode.
But for now, that’s all we can say. Yes, our lips are sealed for just a little longer.
Watch out for the email announcement next week (you can sign up for our free newsletter on our homepage) and follow #neverskipabeat on social media for updates.