Is that a SMPTE timecode generator in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me? Let's face it: This isn't a question that you find yourself asking very often, if ever, but eventually, you will.
For those of us living in the lighting and video realm, SMPTE timecode is a necessary part of the process at various points in our lives, and it inevitably has its challenges, if it's not something you deal with on a regular basis. One of the more common issues is the actual availability of SMPTE timecode, or lack thereof, when you need it at the console. It usually needs to be generated by the guys in video village or the Pro Tools rack. Once it's up and running, things are usually good to go, but it's always embarrassing to have groups of production personnel standing by while the console operator now troubleshoots the system settings of the desk to get things just right. This would usually be solved by having access to some sort of timecode generation conveniently located at the console.
Well our prayers are answered! Enter JumpStart LTC, a longitudinal timecode generator application for iPhone and iPod Touch.
JumpStart LTC was formally created for video shoots as a convenient tool for setting timecode recorder slates and cameras, but I've found it extremely useful for combatting the day-to-day SMPTE challenges in live production. Not only is it a great way to generate timecode in a variety of frame formats, but it's extremely useful for the creation of specific timecode audio files. Simply connect the output of JumpStart LTC into your favorite recording device, set your desired start time, and let the SMPTE flow.
My only caveat is that it is definitely not meant to be used a a master clock. It has some innate limitations with its precision, which is something that the developer makes clear, so those of you who are dealing with more advanced SMPTE timecode projects might want to clearly understand its limits. Then again, at that level of production, you would hopefully not be relying on an iPod to be the device producing your master clock or any timecode, for that matter.
All in all, this is an extremely handy tool to have sitting on your phone for those few occasions where localized time code generation would come in handy.