LTC as audio decode?

Hi everyone,

I sometimes use Nuendo to record multitrack audio from concerts at a school. The current workflow is as follows:

  1. I use a Sound Devices portable recorder to Jam 2 Tentacle Sync units. The Tentacle sync boxes connect to 2 Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Cameras.
  2. I record a live mix from the FOH console to the Sound Devices Recorder while the show is happening. This gives me a crappy stereo mix with embedded timecode.
  3. At the same time, I connect Nuendo to a Midas M32 console and record all inputs from the stage.
  4. After I mix each performance in my studio, I have to manually sync each song/performer to the audio (waveform) initially recorded on the Sound Devices unit.

This is not a horrible situation but life would be easier if I could embed the timecode into my multitrack files. The SyncStation is expensive and would be total overkill for my needs so what I would like to do is use the same setup as above but record LTC onto an audio track in Nuendo. Later I would like to have the option to have Nuendo decipher the timecode info in my LTC audio track and then be able to apply or embed that info into the music files (even if it’s a "set timecode at cursor/update origin situation).

I know many NLEs have this type of functionality, in fact, I have to do it with the timecode recorded on the pocket cinema cameras in Resolve.

Am I missing something? Do we already have a means of doing this? Is there a workaround that someone can suggest? I know this is not “proper” workflow but I can’t be the only person that’s been in this situation. Seems like a simple request for a program that is designed for post-production.

Thanks in advance for any ideas you may have.


A low-ish tech but cheap or free solution:
It looks like Tentacle has a free Windows app that can read SMPTE out of a video or audio file, and then remux it with that timecode. So if you can run the timecode out of one of your Tentacle boxes into the audio interface to record along with all the other channels, you can use that app to at minimum read the timecode back out of it and then manually use that info to align the file in your project, or export a new copy that Tentacle will attach the timecode to (as a Broadcast WAV) in which case you’ll get the origin timecode when you import that copy into Nuendo.

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Just had a play with that. While I can’t get it to export a new file, it does give me the first timecode address of the LTC file in the readout…which is all I need. The rest I can do manually. Thanks for the reminder about this app. I had tried it before for something else and forgot about it.

If anyone from Steinberg reads this, it would be a great little feature to have for situations where a person can only record LTC as an audio stream.

It seems to work for me if you have more than 1 audio channel, as if you use ‘mute audio TC’ on the export window it will remove the track it found the SMPTE code on… so if you just made a single channel timecode test file (like I did the first time :slight_smile:) it gets confused and does nothing. Once I made a 2-channel test it worked, resulting in a single channel output file with just the audio.

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So it does! Thanks, man!

In your line of work the best for you would be to have a sound card/interface that reads LTC and makes it its internal Asio time code. You could then activate the Exernal synch of Nuendo and use ASIO Audio Device as timecode source.
My old Motu Traveler does that so I feed it a tentacle ltc inside any audio line input and use it as smpte source and it clocks itself to it.
I set Nuendo time code source to Asio and then when I click « activate external synch » the time line run according to the free run TC of the tentacle, therefore every recording is in synch anytime.
I have done that for several live music recordings with video without issues.

An alternative is to have Nuendo as master TC but it is a bit tricky if you wanna go free run. You can use a dedicated audio track with the SMPTE Generator open in an insert slot. Set it to « Link to transport ». Rout that channel to a separate audio output and when you press record (or play!) you will have the time code of your timeline as LTC from that output. You can then jam your tentacle from it but it means no way to press stop and that is tricky.
I actually use that solution only when I use a smart slate that I connect to that ltc out, most of the time for things like music video. It could be a solution if you can get a smart slate and the cameras would have to frame it for a few seconds when you start rolling just before the show.

Thanks for the message, Fred. I might pick up something like a Motu express XT for these situations. That will do a SMPTE to MTC translation and will work pretty much the same way. Where I’m using the M32 as the “interface” in this situation the express XT should be able to incorporate well and play nice with the system.