Sometimes you just need a small, specialist tool to debug a problem. If you work with timecode, Factory Optic’s QuickTC may be that tool.
The QuickTC plugs into your BNC timecode cable and gives you an immediate readout of the timecode (if there is timecode; otherwise it’ll show “no signal”). With taps on the display, you can:
- Freeze the timecode,
- Display user bits,
- Check the frame rate,
- See the signal amplitude and check SMPTE validity,
- Show the built-in battery level and firmware version.
There’s an LED on the end opposite the BNC that flashes on the :00 frame, so if you have two or more QuickTCs connected to multiple TC sources, you can quickly see if they’re in sync.
QuickTC runs off an internal Li-Ion battery, rechargeable via USB. The battery is said to last all day, and will retain the charge for a year when unused. And yes: Factory Optic can replace the battery if it dies — all batteries die, sooner or later — so you’re not left with worthless hardware.
The box is 23mm x 24mm x 83mm (that’s roughly 1″ x 1″ x 3.3″ in old money) and it’s set up to dangle from a lanyard for easy access.
Factory Optic has an amusing blog post on why you might need one of these things.
Where, When, and How Much?
QuickTC is available now, directly from Factory Optic for $123.98.
Factory Optic is a bunch of characters (self-described) who design and build custom film & video gear. I know about them because I talked with them last year about productizing a prototype optical analyzer I designed for a client, and in doing so I apparently wound up on their mailing list… which they used to inform me about the QuickTC.
Disclosure / Disclaimer
Those talks aside, there’s no material relationship between me and Factory Optic. They sent me the press release about the QuickTC but didn’t suggest (or expect) that I’d write about it.
Also, all I’ve seen is the press release and the website: I haven’t had a QuickTC in my hot, sweaty hands to see how well it performs.
Even so, this is the sort of thing that, if you need it, you need it bad, so I thought it was worth talking about.
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