Get free run time code from 7d footage with QtChange!

Yesterday I reviewed Magic Bullet’s Grinder and I got all excited about finally getting free run time code in my 7d footage. It turns out that app didn’t deliver what I was looking for, so I went out in search of something that did. In the end I found a great app called QtChange that is all about changing metadata on quicktime files. This would probably work for any of the canon 5d / 7d / 1d / t2i dslrs, and the nikon ones too.

What “free run” means is that it matches up the time code with the time of day. Regardless of if you are recording or not, the time code is advancing. This is great for multi cam shoots because all of the footage shot at the same time will have the same tc.

One caveat with this app is that it is destructive, meaning that it modifies the original files you point it at. To be safe it is always a good idea to work on a duplicate copy of your footage and never work directly off of the memory card.

This is the main window. It has a lot of options, with each of the “columns” at the top representing a different operation you can perform on your footage. You can extract audio and convert sample rate, change playback speed, add / change time code, change display settings, and delete tracks. I am most interested in the add/ change time code column.

Select your input folder in the left hand column. You should always work on a copy. Click on the “add/change TC track” button at the top of the column to enable this action. Now you can enter in a starting time code if you wish. I chose to leave it as-is and use the on camera clock to set it. Now hit the “Alter all clips!” button in the bottom of the right hand column. It is as easy as that!

Now would be a good time to mention that this app is donationware, meaning you technically can use it without paying, but you really should pay. Let your conscience be your guide, but I think this app is easily worth a couple Jacksons.

The one thing this app doesn’t do is convert the files out of that horrible h.264 format. That can be easily done in mpeg streamclip, compressor, or even Grinder. It is recommended by the author to convert the files before adding timecode.

It’s sad that canon can’t just create the time code in-camera. That seems like a simple thing to do. In the absence of that it is great to have such a versatile donationware option. You can download QtChange here, and don’t forget to send in your donation!

~ by ross on June 2, 2010.

4 Responses to “Get free run time code from 7d footage with QtChange!”

  1. Well, thanks for the nice words.
    (i’m the maker of QTchange)
    Two things:
    Check out the ‘offloader’ app. from my site.
    It offloads cards to harddisk.
    I intend to add conversion to any codec you like to that app.
    This mean, plug your card in your laptop, by the time you get home your clips are ready to edit.
    (It runs already in the lab here, but there is a huge difference between running here and running everywhere…)
    And yes, a Mac version will be available.


  2. Does this have the same problem as EOS E1, where it isn’t frame accurate, because the metadata is only accurate down to seconds?

    I found this to be very troublesome on a project I recently worked on, because I forgot/dropped the clapper.

    And somehow, the Canon 7D we used wasn’t consistent with the offset (compared to Sounddevice 744t), sometimes it was as much as 2-3 seconds or more. I guess the clock wasn’t made for video production.

    But, together with a clapper, it is a great way to easly find and sync the recordings.

  3. I do post production for broadcast factual programs that use nano flash recorders and the GoPro Hero HD a lot. I find them a pain to work with, will QTchange work for the GoPro footage or high bitrate quicktimes from devices like the nano flash.

  4. Hi RSW, I really don’t know. I would expect it to work. QTchange is free, so it’ll only cost you time to try it out. Good luck!

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