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TOPIC: Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E

Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 26 Aug 2017 12:32 #90101

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I am starting out in using TC for multicam . Been reading about the up coming Tentacle Sync E which has bluetooth and of course their great Tentacle Sync Studio s/w, and also looking at Ambient NanoLockit.

I like the NanoLockit because it can sync to each other wirelessly and I has rugged metal housing, plus Ambient is kind of an industry standard, so reliability is to be expected.

I like the Tetacle Sync E, because it is likely to be less costly, and the ability to use a bluetooth tablet to monitor all Tentacles for battery and sync, and of course the T Sync Studio software.

I would like to hear recommendations on which one to splash out on (when the Tentacle Sync E becomes available in October).

Also I am confused how FCPX would use the TC from the NanoLockit on an audio channel, without having the Tentacle Sync Studio software to convert the file to "regular" TC. I certainly do NOT want to have to purchase the Tentacle Sync Studio if I choose to buy a couple of NanoLockits.
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 29 Aug 2017 12:07 #90132

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I've decided on the Tentacle Sync E, because of the Studio s/w is brilliant.
Last Edit: 29 Aug 2017 23:32 by pszilard.
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 29 Aug 2017 23:29 #90148

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So, what is your exact post-production goal here? To sync clips? Make sure everything is recording the same audio.
Last Edit: 29 Aug 2017 23:30 by FCPX.guru.
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 29 Aug 2017 23:42 #90149

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Goal is to combine 2 or 3 cameras with external sound recording into a multicam edit step and produce lip synced final edit in the most cost effective and reliable way.

My A camera records to a Shogun, which is taking TC from my Zoom F8 recorder (recording sound). I want to run 1 or 2 B cameras that do not have TC. So I need to feed TC to these via the left audio channel. Then combine all recordings with TC and feed into FCPX for editing.

Like the Lockit, and have one on loan from a friend. It can record TC to audio channel, but FCPX doesn't recognise that. I installed the evaluation version of Tentacle Sync Studio, which does a brilliant job of converting the audio channel TC to "normal" TC, and in fact can even spit out a multicam file straight into FCPX. This would save a lot of time. The Sync Studio is available for 150 Euro and then could be used with the LockitNano, but that would be approx. $1k all up, whereas the s/w is included free with purchase of the Tentacle Sync hardware, which ships a 2 pack from B&H for about $400. New version with bluetooth, called Sync E is due for ship in Oct, so even if it is $500 it would be 1/2 the price of the Nanos + Sync Studio.

Therefore my intention would be to stick with Tentacle, but I am open to suggestions - obviously, which is why I am here.

Is there a free alternative to Tentacle Sync Studio software?
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 30 Aug 2017 03:11 #90162

pszilard wrote:
Goal is to combine 2 or 3 cameras with external sound recording into a multicam edit step and produce lip synced final edit in the most cost effective and reliable way.…

… and dumping everything (shogun, cams, ext audio) into a MultiCam, and let FCPX do 'synch by audio' gave what result?
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 30 Aug 2017 03:59 #90164

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Sorry I don't quite follow what you mean.

As an example, recently I shot a rock band and I had a friend assisting on 2nd camera, Now against my instructions to just keep rolling, he kept turning his camera on/off to get grab shots for B roll. So, instead of my expectation of receiving 2 camera files of 2hrs each that required a single sync step, I got my 2hr files (audio and Camera A), and about 60 clips from camera B.

Trying to multicam that with FCPX was an absolute disaster! Hardly surprising. If camera B had TC, then this would have been a walk in the park! So my interest in how this could be better handled in the future - just by putting TC on all footage.

Hope that explains where I am coming from.
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 30 Aug 2017 04:34 #90167

pszilard wrote:
… he kept turning his camera on/off to get grab shots for B roll. So, instead of my expectation of receiving 2 camera files of 2hrs each that required a single sync step, I got my 2hr files (audio and Camera A), and about 60 clips from camera B.

apply in Inspector cam1 an angle/'main', apply all 60 clips from cam2 another/'b-roll', clip ordering 'automatically' - done.

FCPX automatically sorts the 'orphans' in position to the 'main cam'
MultiCam doesn't need continuous clips ....


doing this frequently, no ext TC in use here …
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 30 Aug 2017 14:31 #90179

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Karsten is spot on here. But you have to set up your metadata for the multicam properly.
help.apple.com/finalcutpro/mac/10.3/#/ver10e087fd

I just went through all this with "another" producer who insisted on getting a timecode sync to equipment not made for it. Part of the set up were Zaxcom audio recorders, who record to proprietary file type, and you have to use the Zaxcom conversion app to make it into AIFF or WAV files, which then lose timecode metadata. Producers who want to use fancy technical tricks rather than keep it simple make me very nervous. I hate working with them.

Long story short, use audio, not timecode, save yourself tons of headaches. I've been down this road many times before, trust me. FCPX is not going to read faked timecode in an audio track, I don't know any app that will, so just don't bother.

1- Set time-of-day and date in each camera as close as you can, doesn't need to be perfect.
2-Have each camera record audio. Doesn't have to be super clean usable audio, just clear enough.
3- When ingested into FCPX, give each clip an Angle Number. This determines which "track" of the multicam it sits in. All of b-roll camera that was titled "B-Roll Cam2" for example, should get an Angle Number of BRC2, or whatever you want to use to identify that clip came from that specific camera.
4- Use defaults to let FCPX sync everything by audio. It works great, it works fast, it is very accurate. But you have to give your clips Angle Numbers (I find this easier for me to mentally track then Camera Name, and you could use both).
Last Edit: 30 Aug 2017 14:32 by FCPX.guru.
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 30 Aug 2017 15:20 #90187

as an addendum to Ben's reply:
• time/date: it's less important to be exact than consecutive - have lots of MC trackss, recorded in the 1970ies (or whatever nonsense date the cam set on power-outtakes). But swapping batteries (=on many cams a reset of t/d) creates confusion. Workaround: create a new angle

• checking 'synch on audio' AND 'on first Marker' helps FCPX to find the right spot. To set such a Marker, look at any 'signal' on every angle, doesn't matter where (example: when the applause starts at the very end of a theatre recording, or, very handy, a flashlight in some stage performance, a referees whistle, wotever)

• audio quality doesn't matter (to some surprisingly low level): tested it with 'ambient noises' aside a soccer green, cams B and C 110m separated, no music, just cheers of a tiny crowd = works

• mixing frame-rates don't matter, shoestring budget here, cheap cams, crude mix of 720/60, 1080/50, 4k/25 … works.

• an assumption: audio sample-rate should be 48 (24/12) … had minor issues on very long runs in 44.1kHz …
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 30 Aug 2017 21:12 #90197

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I really appreciate the long and detailed responses.

However they seem to be answering questions that I didn't actually ask. I didn't ask whether to use TC or just use audio for sync. I asked for feedback on Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync system. It's like asking should I buy a BMW or a Mercedes, and told to use a bus instead. :)

I repeat that I DO appreciate the comments.

Cheers, people.
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 30 Aug 2017 22:15 #90198

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Check out this guy's conclusion at the end.
wavreport.com/2017/05/07/review-ambient-nano-lockit/
Last Edit: 30 Aug 2017 22:32 by FCPX.guru.
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 30 Aug 2017 22:43 #90199

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Thanks, that was a good read.
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 31 Aug 2017 05:38 #90200

pszilard wrote:
… It's like asking should I buy a BMW or a Mercedes, and told to use a bus instead. :)

More like asking which lawnmower to buy, although your apartment in the 4th floor has no green at all ;)

Those boxes fix a problem, you don't have. I'd say.

Anyhow …
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 31 Aug 2017 05:40 #90201

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Karsten Schlüter wrote:
pszilard wrote:
More like asking which lawnmower to buy, although your apartment in the 4th floor has no green at all ;)
LOL, I like that. ;)
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 31 Aug 2017 06:35 #90202

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Pushing relentless with my choice of lawnmower, and also suffering from a butt of GAS, I am thinking that buying a single Tentacle Sync will give me the Sync Studio s/w license plus the ability to sync one B-camera. I can take TC master from my Zoom F8 to jam the Tentacle, and cable connect the Shogun so that I have TC from A-camera recording on the Shogun.

Then when the Sync E ships, I can either get that, or more likely get a twin pack NanoLockit's. Or just stick with 1 Tentacle. Anyway, good choices.

I like the idea of the Nano to wirelessly resync each other, and if I bought the T Studio s/w, I might as well buy 1 Tentacle Sync h/w, as the difference is small and will give me an extra h/w TC.
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 31 Aug 2017 10:15 #90207

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FCPX.guru wrote:
....Long story short, use audio, not timecode, save yourself tons of headaches. I've been down this road many times before, trust me. FCPX is not going to read faked timecode in an audio track, I don't know any app that will, so just don't bother....1- Set time-of-day and date in each camera as close as you can, doesn't need to be perfect....

I also have investigated this for my doc team several times. IMO for field work it's usually not worth the hassle because audio sync works so well (once you know how to use it). External devices add additional complexity and failure points and require management.

That said, there are cases where external TC would help, such as when shooting material from widely separated cameras of the same subject area, e.g, wide shot of entire venue plus two roving close-up cameras. The audio can be so different that waveform sync doesn't work, yet sync by eye is difficult due to the different angles.

Unfortunately in several of these cases we can't put TC devices on the cameras, such as our drones, GoPros, gimbal cams, etc. So even if we had TC on everything else we'd still have to sync all that stuff "the hard way".

In some conditions you can obtain a "poor man's timecode" functionality by jam-syncing camera timecode before recording. This allows those cameras to use stop/start recording and doesn't require audio for sync. Unfortunately this only works for some cameras which can be simultaneously jam-sync'd by IR command. Dave Dugdale describes the process here:


Ironically many cameras already have GPS built in for geotagging. Consider my Sony A7RII -- it has GPS, it has various TC functions including rec run, free run, initialize TC to user-entered preset, etc. However it does not have jam sync input. If it and all similar cameras simply accepted GPS to jam sync TC to a user-entered preset value at a given time of day, that would automatically sync them all. It's a simple firmware update for already existing hardware. Many cameras will record OK for several hours in free run without needing to re-sync. So there is a potential solution which would cover many use cases if the camera manufacturers would only implement it.

Re "FCPX is not going to read faked timecode in an audio track", With Tentacle this is achieved by post processing the data with their utility before FCPX import. It converts their single-channel audio TC to something FCPX can interpret. But it adds another post-processing step.

It's great these lower-cost devices like Tentacle and NanoLockit now exist but I think in most cases the same functionality can be achieved at lower complexity just by using audio. Where FCPX audio sync doesn't work there is always Plural Eyes.
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 31 Aug 2017 12:38 #90213

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To chime in with a few notes:

To say "You don't need TC"is wrong.
It depends on situation. When I was working in production we had had enough situations where TC (either audio LTC or std TC) was "vital". Synching by audio would have been a useless approach. Joema's example shows one of the situations.

As Joema said a "jam sync" is one way. The using TOD TC works flawless for at least a few hours. How you can do depends on the camera type, manufacturer etc.
One option could be using an external device like the lockit.
I don't have any experience with the Tentacle.
Some cams do have the option to feed them by external timecode.

In case nothing works the audio LTC is the best option.
For the Ambient device you can say that LTC is only recorded for 2 seconds before it will be replaced by normal audio.
Bad thing is that many NLE can't read LTC and you have to convert it to standard TC.
BUT here comes the question whether you need it or not.
In case one cam has an continuous LTC you can use FCPX or Plural Eyes to sync by audio. This worked fine a few ago when I was still working in production.

And yes: it's a shame that modern cams can't be synched by GPS data and that this stupid iPhone doesn't record a TOD TC - especially since Apple claims that there phones have "super good" quartz.
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 01 Sep 2017 03:58 #90227

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GPS time reference is great as long as you have GPS reception!

I don't have a NanoLockit, but I have a loan TnyLockit, and when I tried it in the audio lane it was feeding TC continuously not just for a few seconds.

The Tentacle Sync Studio can be downloaded for a free evaluation and is a great way to convert audio TC to normal. Yes it is 1 extra step, but it is extremely quick and can run in batch mode, so just drop all your dailies on and in a second it has converted all to TC mode which is recognised by FCPS and any other NLE.
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 02 Sep 2017 08:55 #90269

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We used two Tentacle sync units to videocameras via XLR-inputs, a Zoom F8 for sound recording and an iPad Movie Slate with time code for shooting seven shorts this spring.

The biggest benefit of using timecode and electronic slate was to speed up sync and meta-data processes in post, as we had 100 scenes, 350 shots and > 1000 clips to manage.

Previously we used multicam to sync separate audio when doing interviews, but for scripted work is it much more efficient to use timecode and Sync-n-link, as it preserves metadata and simplifies edit process.

After the films have been published are we now trying to document our workflows.

Import cards from video - www.artmann.co.uk/quality/production/imp...ds-from-video-camera
Update metadata and sync media - www.artmann.co.uk/quality/production/upd...sync-media-with-fcpx

Kudos to fcp.co for providing knowledge how to create our workflow with FCP/X.
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Ambient NanoLockit vs Tentacle Sync E 02 Sep 2017 09:56 #90272

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casimir_artmann wrote:
We used two Tentacle sync units to videocameras via XLR-inputs, a Zoom F8 for sound recording and an iPad Movie Slate with time code for shooting seven shorts this spring.

The biggest benefit of using timecode and electronic slate was to speed up sync and meta-data processes in post, as we had 100 scenes, 350 shots and > 1000 clips to manage.

Previously we used multicam to sync separate audio when doing interviews, but for scripted work is it much more efficient to use timecode and Sync-n-link, as it preserves metadata and simplifies edit process.

After the films have been published are we now trying to document our workflows.

Import cards from video - www.artmann.co.uk/quality/production/imp...ds-from-video-camera
Update metadata and sync media - www.artmann.co.uk/quality/production/upd...sync-media-with-fcpx

Kudos to fcp.co for providing knowledge how to create our workflow with FCP/X.
Good to hear!

What is the Hedge application you refer to?
sync-n-link is US$495 - not a trivial cost!
How do you jam sync the iPad to your TC?
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