recording of time information optically on the film in the form of 16 binary-coded decimal digits per second. In accordance with this proposal, a number of European equipment manufacturers designed and offered for sale equipment incorporating the ability to record or read the EBU time code. This approach did not have much success in the marketplace, however, as the only function it served was to permit the automatic syncing of dailies. Accomplishing this single task did not prove to be cost-effective.
Starting in the late '70s, SMPTE in the United States began exploring the possibility of recording the SMPTE time code that had already been established for use with videotape, on both picture and soundtrack. By using the same code that was already a standard for videotape (uniquely identifying every frame), it was felt that a further and more important function could be served than just syncing up dailies. By transferring the picture and also the SMPTE time code from film to tape, one could realize the tremendous efficiencies of videotape editing and then use the SMPTE time code as the means of conforming the edit decisions from the tape to film.
From the first experiments by EBU through the early efforts by SMPTE, the proposed method for recording time code in the camera was optical. This approach has the advantage of being permanent and easily duplicated in the printing process. This technology is changing rapidly and the most up-to-date information can be obtained from manufacturers' representatives.
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