Tentacle Sync is a little black box that connects to a camera and audio recorder, and generates a synced timecode for both devices without the need for them to be physically connected. It’s currently being crowd funded via an Indiegogo campaign.
For indie film production, the cost of setting up synced timecodes in every device can be beyond the scope of most budgets. The inventors of Tentacle Sync, cinematographers Max Kaiser and Ulrick Esser, say they have designed the product to be affordable for those on a budget – the DSLR crowd, film students and small production companies – but who want to work as professionally as possible.
Tentacle Sync generates LTC-Timecode according to the SMPTE-12M standard, creating master and slaves whenever you connect two (or more) via their 3.5 jack inputs. The boxes are then connected to their respective devices, also through the mini jack audio inputs. The synced timecode is sent down the audio input as an inaudible signal, which automatically re-syncs in post via the Tentacle Sync software or any other compatible software. Simple.
The makers say Tentacle Sync will stay frame-accurate for 24 hours and the built-in battery will last for up to 40 hours. The boxes are charged via USB and come with velcro on the bottom to attached to devices. They also contain a small microphone for recording reference sound (in DSLRs) in case the battery goes flat (or you forget to turn it on). If you’re using Tentacle Sync properly you won’t actually need the mic, it’s just there as insurance.
Most indie filmmakers will have already used Red Giant’s Pluraleyes or the built-in syncing function of some NLE editing programs such as FCPX. This kind of syncing relies on matching waveforms from both the in-camera sound and audio recorder. Problems occur when the in-camera sound recording is unclear, too far from the source or has too much ambient interference. At these times the files need to be synced manually, which can be tricky, especially if it’s not slated well or you’re using multi-angles. Tentacle Sync will sync seamlessly with every device, no matter its proximity to the audio source or even if it’s in the same building.
The ‘standard’ funding option is priced at EU€380 (around AU$553) and will give you two Tentacle boxes, one mini jack cable, two USB charging cables and one software licence, with extras (which add to the price) including shipping, BNC, Lemo, RED or XLR adapters.
Source: Audio Technology Magazine
Indiegogo campaign here
JWSound forum review here