Case Study

SyncBac PRO: Keeping sync steady on an Arctic expedition

‘Expedition With Steve Backshall’ is a series of episodes which follows the award-winning naturalist and his team of adventurist experts around several wonders of the world. These include river rafting around the Arctic, desert climbing in the Middle East, and exploring the jungles of South America.

To capture the essence of Greenland, the crew needed a system robust enough to withstand not only the sub-zero temperatures, but to repel the splash back of water from the ocean. The footage then needed to be captured and easily aligned ready for editing.

John Livesey, of Floating Focus Facilities, was on board the expedition. He said: “Having already owned SyncBac PROs for GoPro HERO4, I knew that Timecode Systems’ solution would be ideal for the programme. However, the production team also required timecoded footage using GoPro HERO6 cameras, particularly because the motion stabilisation feature works well on the sea.”

Sailing with SyncBac PRO

SyncBac PRO is a custom-made timecode solution for GoPro cameras. It embeds frame-accurate timecode in to the camera and produces an MP4 file at source. This means when the footage arrives with the post production team, it’s already aligned. When combined with the waterproof housing, the SyncBac PRO for HERO4 is also a fully waterproof solution. However, to combat the waters using the SyncBac PRO for HERO6, a unique approach was required.

Paul Scurrell, CEO of Timecode Systems, said: “We were aware that John needed a timecode solution for the GoPro HERO6 camera, however as the SyncBac PRO for HERO6 isn’t waterproof we were keen to help him find a workaround so that he could use the system in the Arctic. We therefore supplied him with USB-C cables, which enabled John to form a waterproof solution.”

SyncBac PRO accompanies the crew in Greenland. Photo credit: John Livesey

SyncBac PRO on board kayaks filming 'Expedition With Steve Backshall' courtesy of Floating Focus Facilities

John, in addition to the team of explorers and film crew, travelled through the rapid waters of Greenland using four kayaks. They mounted a SyncBac PRO for GoPro HERO4 unit to the front and a SyncBac PRO for GoPro HERO6 on the reverse, which enabled each kayak to gain a complete view of the atmospheric surroundings.

John added: “The biggest challenge was to guarantee stability of the timecode and power of the GoPro HERO6 while ensuring the whole system remained waterproof. Thanks to Timecode Systems providing us with USB-C cables, I was able to provide the cameras with a workaround by extending the cables through a water-resistant case. The whole system was rendered waterproof and worked great. We captured hours of continuous timecoded recording on all cameras, triggered by the kayakers using a custom control panel with just the click of a button.”

SyncBac PRO for GoPro HERO6 is also compatible with the new HERO7 Black camera. So, when you’re out capturing your next adventure, you’ll be confident knowing that the timecode is taken care of and the sync is plain sailing. Expedition With Steve Backshall is scheduled to air this year.

"The whole system worked great. We captured hours of continuous timecoded recording on all cameras triggered by the kayakers."

John Livesey, Floating Focus Facilities