The What: Timecode Systems, manufacturer of wireless sync technology, has introduced UltraSync BLUE. The first solution to use the company's new patented timecode sync and control protocol, UltraSync BLUE transmits timecode to a recording device over Bluetooth with sub-frame accuracy.
The What Else: UltraSync BLUE uses Bluetooth pairing to connect to a device. This enables timecode to be transmitted wirelessly from UltraSync BLUE directly into the media file of a connected device.
"The beauty of this solution is that the timecode is embedded directly into a timecode track, so there is no need for any additional conversion software; the metadata is in the right format to be automatically recognized by professional NLEs," said Paul Scurrell, CEO of Timecode Systems Limited. "This launches a whole new era for multi-camera video production in which content from prosumer and consumer audio and video has the potential to be combined, aligned, and edited together with ease and efficiency, and with the same high level of accuracy as footage from top-end, professional recording devices."
By removing the restrictions of a wired connection, crews not only benefit from the convenience of being cable free, but also from even more versatility in how they can sync content. A unique feature of UltraSync BLUE is the ability to use a single unit to sync up to four recording devices shooting in close range over Bluetooth—a great option for small shoots and interviews, and also for content captured for vlogs and social media.
However, as filming is not always this simple, especially in the professional world, UltraSync BLUE is also designed to work with the rest of the Timecode Systems product range. For more complicated shoots, UltraSync BLUE can be connected to devices over Bluetooth and then synced over robust, long-range RF to other camera and audio recorders using Timecode Systems units. This also includes any equipment containing a Timecode Systems OEM sync module, such as the AtomX Sync module that was recently launched by Atomos for the new Ninja V.
"With more and more prosumer and consumer cameras and sound recorders coming with built-in Bluetooth technology, we saw an opportunity to use this wireless connectivity to exchange timecode metadata," Scurrell added. "By integrating a robust Bluetooth Low Energy chip into UltraSync BLUE, we've been able to create a simple, low-cost timecode sync product that has the potential to work with any camera or sound recording device with Bluetooth connectivity."
Timecode Systems is now working with manufacturers and app developers to adopt its new timing protocol into their Bluetooth-enabled products. At launch, both the MAVIS professional camera app and Apogee MetaRecorder app (both for iPhone) are already fully compatible, allowing sound and video recorded on iPhone devices to be synchronized over the Timecode Systems network.
"It's been an exciting time for sync technology,” Scurrell said. “In the past couple of years, we've seen some massive advancements not only in terms of reducing the size and cost of timecode solutions, but also with solutions becoming more widely compatible with more consumer-level devices such as GoPro and DSLR cameras. But there was still no way to embed frame-accurate timecode into sound and video recordings captured on an iPhone; this was the biggest thing missing from the market. UltraSync BLUE, in combination with the MAVIS and MetaRecorder apps, fills this gap."
The Bottom Line: The device itself measures 55mm by 43mm by 17mm, weighs 36g, and costs $179, making it small enough to fit neatly into a pocket during filming and affordable enough to be used on nearly any type of production—from documentaries, news gathering, and reality shows to wedding videos and independent films.