Questions about Sync, SDI, and Genlock

Viewing 6 reply threads
  • Author
    • #66017

      I'm trying to wrap my head around some sync issues.


      In audio, if you have two digital recorders running for any length of time, if their clocks are not locked to a single source there will be a certain amount of drift that occurs between them.


      So I wonder: if you have multiple digital video cameras running, but they are not locked up somehow, will there be a similar "drift" over time?


      Which leads me to another round of questions: 

      Say you have a camera with an SDI out, but no Genlock in (e.g. the Sony EX-1).  Let's say you wanted to record two of these cameras to a central source (like a Pix 240).


      Can you record the two independent SDI streams to this single box without worrying about the fact that the cameras are not referencing a central sync source?  Or do they both have to be receiving Genlock for this to work?


      Different, but related scenario:

      Let's say you are using one camera with SDI out, but no Genlock in, and another camera that has both SDI out and Genlock in (say a Sony EX-1 and a Canon XF-105).


      Is it possible to somehow derive Genlock from the SDI signal coming from the EX-1, so that the XF-105 could be in sync?  


      By extension, if this is possible, is there a box that could get Genlock from this SDI signal and turn it into word clock for a double-system audio rig?


      I'm new to the whole video thing, so forgive my ignorance if this is not remotely possible.  In the audio world, there actually is a way to do this sort of thing, so I am hoping that there is a similar workaround in video.

    • #207721
      Mike WilhelmMike Wilhelm

      Hi Anderson-

      If you're not shooting video for broadcast, you generally souldn't have to worry about this. All you'll need to do is make sure your video is the same frame rate. Secondly, make sure the timecode for both is set to either "drop frame" or "non drop frame," and make sure all video sources are the same. If they're different, you'll get that drift. Here's a video talking about the difference between the two:


    • #207722

      Thanks Mike.


      So drift between cameras is not an issue so long as the frame rates are set correctly.


      What of clock drift from the double-system audio?  Since that's referencing samples per second and not frames per second, I imagine there would be some loss of sync over the course of an hour.


      Is there a way to derive sync from an SDI signal?  Methinks if I could get genlock from this and turn it around to word clock, I'd be able to have my audio be sample-accurate with the video.



    • #207724
      Mike WilhelmMike Wilhelm

      I've never had a problem with drift as long as the audio is captured along with the video in camera. If you are using external audio recorders, that's a different story.

    • #207741

      Browse They have a whole lotta little boxes . . .

    • #207752

      I guess the Ambient Lockit is sort-of the device I am looking for:


      Looks like it creates some sort of wireless network and can output genlock or word. 

    • #207753

      For all the mention of " double system " audio ( running a separate audio recorder ) in these forums, I'm surprised that there is so little discussion of lip-sync drift. In general, I suspect that the higher the quality of the devices used ( and supposedly the more stabile internal clocks ), the less drift . . . . . but my history includes film cameras and Nagra tape recorders which HAD to be referenced to a common source, or at least to very accurate crystal oscillators in order to maintain sync.   As a test some time ago I shot a small concert with my HVX-200A and a Korg MR-1000 digital audio recorder. In Post I was impressed that the drift was so small over an hour of running time. I recall that I had to make two 1-frame adjustments .  I don't have any experience with the Zoom recorders and their ilk, but I'm skeptical that they have any provision for external word clock reference, so what ya get is what ya get for sync.

    • #207726

      That's exactly the story I'm talking about πŸ™‚


      Camera is getting scratch audio, but multi-track capture is happening on an independent audio rig, to be sync'ed to picture later.


      If I can figure out a way to rig up a poor-man's Genlock to Work Clock signal using an SDI from the A camera, there should not be any drift.


      The real question is: is this possible?  Are there any boxes that can take SDI and generate black burst from it? 


      and then I need to find a small box that can take black burst in and generate word clock out.


      I have some big old rackmount boxes that would do the latter, but I want something a little more compact (if it exists).

    • #207734
      Mike WilhelmMike Wilhelm

      Hm… I can't say that I've heard of such a device.


      Actually, you might want to check out the Atomos Samurai.

    • #207740

      If you haven;t already done so, browse the forums on as this is a site dedicated to pro audio people who do what you're doing for a living. I've seen questions like yours come up a lot and there are numerous ways of dealing with it so check it out.



Viewing 6 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Best Products

The best new video tech at CES 2019

Every year, we head to CES to check out the latest innovations in consumer technology and look for the next big thing in video production. CES 2019 was no exception.