Blackmagic RAW (BRAW) Wrong Timecode Issue in Adobe CC

by Nicolas on February 28th, 2020

(Originally published on October 23rd, 2019)

In this article we will talk about the timecode issue and its consequences on your workflow : unable to export XML timeline for DaVinci Resolve and timeline Shifts.

What is the Media Start Timecode Issue ?

What is a timecode ?

A timecode is a sequence of numeric codes which represents a specific time in the video representation. It is written with HH:MM:SS:FF (or HH;MM;SS;FF for non drop frames display) with :

  • HH : hours
  • MM : minutes
  • SS : seconds
  • FF : number of frames, depends on your framerate

The common framerates in the video world are 8, 12, 15, 23.976, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 48, 50, 59.94, 60 and 120. What we call "NTSC Framerates" are the 23.976 and 29.97 framerates (they are 24 and 30 divided by 1.001).

In this article, we will often speak about the "Timecode" of a video footage : in Adobe CC it corresponds to the "Media Start" timecode, it's the timecode given for the first frame of the footage. In Premiere Pro, this timecode is displayed in the project panel (with "List View" activated, and not "Icon View").

What is the issue with BRAW Timecode ?

Adobe CC softwares read themselves the header of the .braw file which contains some informations about the video file, instead of asking the importers such as BRAW Studio to do this job. When reading the timecode in this header, Adobe makes an error and apply a round framerate (24, 30) for the internal computation of the timecode. And because of this, the timecode is shifted in time (it's not valid anymore and it will be different from others NLE).

BRAW files with 59.94 fps are not affected by this problem, so only BRAW files with 23.976 and 29.97 fps are concerned.

Sadly, Adobe does not let us correct this timecode in our importer, we can't correct it automatically at import. That's why we correct the timecode through our BRAW Studio Panel. See below how to correct the timecode in Premiere Pro.

Note that since it's an Adobe bug the timecode from Blackmagic's plugin are also wrong and can't be corrected automatically, you need to use our plugin BRAW Studio.

Should I be worried about this issue ?

You are concerned with this issue only if you are working with 23.976 or 29.97 fps files and any of the two conditions apply :

  • You need to get a good timecode because you work with Timecodes, for example with an Overlay showing current frame timecode and you'll use this frame timecode to match the frame in this .braw footage in another NLE where it is also imported
  • You need to export your timelines into a FCP .XML to be reimported in another NLE software, for example to grade your footages / sequences with DaVinci Resolve. The "Media Start" timecodes from Premiere Pro will be stored in the generated .XML and change the meaning of your clips "in" and "out" points on your timelines. If the timecode is wrong, the in and out points will be shifted. For some software, there could be errors. For DaVinci Resolve, if the timecodes in the XML file are not good, then it will either not import your timeline from the XML at all, or it will import the timeline and some shift will happen and you won't be warned by Resolve.

On the other hand if you don't need a good timecode you probably shouldn't fix the timecode, as fixing the timecode could lead to other errors later on : Shift in the timeline, when relocating footages, please read our article about this : How do I avoid the Shift Issue in BRAW Studio ?

If you don't work with timecodes and only need a corrected XML then please follow our next section :

How can I get a correct FCP XML with BRAW Studio ?

The BEST way to do this without getting issue or problem in your project is to use our FCP XML Export feature in our Panel.

You can also correct the timecode inside Premiere Pro, but then you could get the Shift Issue.

Also, correcting timecode of Merged Clips is impossible once the Merged Clip is created.

So this feature fore sure is the best option for you, and you just need to click on one button !

To open the panel, go to the top menu in Premiere Pro and click on Window -> Extensions -> BRAW Studio Panel. Then click on the "Export FCP XML" tab.

In this tab you will see a button to export directly your timeline (the one currently active in your project) into a corrected FCP XML (without any time shifts due to wrong timecodes)

Premiere Pro Timecode correction

How do I correct the wrong timecode in Premiere Pro ?

Note : this section is for the users who want to get a good timecode inside Premiere Pro because they work with Timecodes in their workflow. We strongly advise against fixing "Media Start" timecodes if you don't have a good reason to do so !

You can do it manually by right-clicking on your source item and selecting "Modify" -> "Timecode".

But if you need to do it for hundreds of footages, it will be painful ... Thanks to BRAW Studio there is a workaround to get a good timecode for the NTSC footages automatically. For this, you need to use the BRAW Studio Panel and just click on a button !

To open the panel, go to the top menu in Premiere Pro and click on Window -> Extensions -> BRAW Studio Panel. Then click on the "Timecode Correction" tab.

After this, just click on the button "Correct All Timecodes" and all the NTSC BRAW footage timecode of your project should be corrected automatically.

Et voilĂ  !

Note that once the timecode is corrected, if you open the project and need to relink the braw files, you could get the Shift Issue : please read carefully our article about this

How can I check if I have the good timecode ?

There are 2 ways to be sure your footage has a good timecode :

Could the timecode return back to its wrong value after a correction ?

Sadly, yes. If the clip is getting offlined, the timecode will be wrong again. (And after relinking also). So you will need to click on the panel's button again.

Also, there could be a shift issue when relinking your clip if you have the "Align Timecode" checkbox ticked. Please read our article about this issue for more precisions : How do I avoid the Shift Issue in BRAW Studio ?

Special cases

Proxies

Even when you correct the timecode before creating the proxy, the timecode of the proxy file will be wrong.

But if you have your proxy file linked with the original braw file, then you will be able to correct the timecode of the source like any normal BRAW source without proxy attached.


Merged clips

Merging Clip is a feature of Premiere Pro which is often used to link Video with Audio. The best thing to do is to correct the timecode before merging the clips (note : even by beeing offlined, the timecode will stay good !). Be careful, once the clips are merged, it's impossible to set their timecode in Premiere Pro !

Note that exporting FCP XML with our panel will correct the timecodes of Merged Clips !

After Effects

For now, it's impossible to correct the timecode in After Effects automatically. You will need to do manually by right-clicking in your source footage in the project panel and select "Interpret Footage" -> "Main...".

If it is painful for your workflow, please explain why and send us feedback about this on our Contact page !