What is genlock? And what are the advantages over timecode alone?

 In knowledge base, NEWS, Sync
UltraSync ONE providing genlock on the Great British Bake Off
The UltraSync ONE was used to genlock sync the cameras on the Great British Bake Off

Let’s start with a few basic definitions….

What is timecode?

Timecode is an important form of production metadata. It’s an accurate clock that counts the number of frames per second. Each frame recorded is assigned a specific timecode, allowing editors to find a particular frame across multiple camera and audio sources by referencing this number. Timecode doesn’t synchronise cameras, it provides a highly accurate reference point that allows video content recorded using multiple camera sources to be synchronised in postproduction.

What is genlock?

Genlock synchronises the cameras. It uses the pulse that generates the frames within the camera as the synchronisation point. This pulse sends a signal telling each device to capture frames at exactly the same time, creating an incredibly accurate way to align multiple sources of video content.

Why use genlock?

In terms of avoiding drift and providing syncing points for postproduction, wireless timecode is a great tool, but if you want really accurate synchronisation for long takes and all day shooting, it’s important to also genlock the cameras to a common sync source.

On reality shows, where shooting sequences can often be several hours long and the volume of content recorded is huge, production and postproduction teams are now recognising the benefits of the accuracy and reliability of using genlock as well as timecode on these multicamera shoots. Our UltraSync ONE offers a cost-effective way to genlock cameras on these shows. You can read about how UltraSync ONE was used as part of the sound set-up on the Great British Bake Off here.

Our approach to genlock

We can see how crucial genlock is to today’s shooting practices, so our aim is to make it just as easy and cost-effective to genlock cameras as it is to timecode sync them. We consider genlock an essential part of our solution rather than expensive an add-on. For this reason, you can use our smallest and most cost-effective UltraSync ONE timecode generator for genlock sync, as well as a our premium :pulse and :wave products.

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