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.
Table of Contents
Update July 2020 : Adobe has fixed their timecode issue from Premiere Pro version 14.3 ! All .BRAW have the right timecodes now and you shouldn't need to correct it anymore if you use the latest version of Premiere Pro and Media Encoder
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 clip : in Adobe CC it corresponds to the "Media Start" timecode, it's the timecode given for the first frame of a clip. 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 software read the header of the .braw file (which contains some information about the video file) themselves, without using importers such as BRAW Studio to do this job. When reading the timecode in this header, Adobe makes an error and applies 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 timecodes from the Blackmagic's plugin are also wrong. You need the BRAW Studio Panel to correct them.
Should I be worried about this issue ?
EDIT : You should not be worried if you are working with Premiere Pro 14.3 or more recent versions because this has been fixed by Adobe.
This issue only concerns you if you are working with 23.976 or 29.97 fps files and any of the two conditions apply :
You need to get the right timecode because you work with Timecodes, for example using a timecode overlay to match the frame timecode of the same .braw file 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 footage / 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, then the in and out points for every clip will be shifted. This can create errors in some software. For DaVinci Resolve, if the timecodes in the XML file are not correct, then it will either not import your timeline from the XML at all, or it will import the timeline and some shift will happen without being warned by Resolve.
On the other hand if you don't need a good timecode you probably shouldn't fix it, as fixing the timecode could lead to other errors later on : Shift in the timeline when relocating footage, 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 any issues or problems 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 the timecode of Merged Clips is impossible once the Merged Clip is created.
So this feature is definitely 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 XML" tab.
In this tab you will see a button to directly export your timeline (the one currently active in your project) into a corrected FCP XML (without any time shifts due to wrong timecodes)
Note that this feature needs a registered BRAW Studio license to be executed, otherwise, only 10 BRAW footages in the XML will be corrected. For free, you can automatically correct the timecodes in Premiere Pro with the Blackmagic Plugin, check the next section !
Premiere Pro Timecode correction
How do I correct the wrong timecode in Premiere Pro ?
Note : this section is for 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 this for hundreds of clips, it will be painful ... Thanks to BRAW Studio there is a workaround to get a good timecode for NTSC footage 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 timecodes in your project should be corrected automatically.
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.
Merging Clips is a Premiere Pro feature 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 being 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 !
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 !
I'm using Blackmagic RAW Premiere Pro plugins, can I still use this feature ?