Final Cut Pro 6 - About Drop Frame and Non-Drop Frame Timecode

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About Drop Frame and Non-Drop Frame Timecode

With the exception of timecode used with NTSC video, all video formats use non-drop
timecode, which simply counts at the frame rate of the video itself. For example,
PAL video runs at 25 fps, and it uses 25 fps timecode.

When working with NTSC video, you have the option to use drop frame timecode
to compensate for the fact that NTSC video has a frame rate of 29.97 fps, while the
timecode runs at 30 fps. Timecode can only be represented by whole numbers, so
drop frame timecode periodically skips numbers so that the timecode count and the
amount of actual time passed stays in sync. This way, the timecode count matches the
the number of hours, minutes, and seconds that it takes for your video footage to play.
NTSC video can use either drop frame or non-drop frame timecode.


No video frames are dropped when you use drop frame timecode. Only the

associated timecode numbers are skipped.

To determine the type of timecode used in Final Cut Pro:
 Non-drop frame timecode has a colon (:) between the seconds and frames fields, and

no numbers are dropped from the counter.

01:16:59:29, 01:17:00:00

 Drop frame timecode has a semicolon (;) between the seconds and frames fields, and

two timecode numbers are skipped from the frames counter each minute (except
every tenth minute).

01:16:59;29, 01:17:00;02

A clip’s timecode comes directly from its media files. To set sequence timecode, you can
use the Drop Frame checkbox in the Timeline Options pane of Sequence Settings. For
more information, see “

Changing Timeline Display Options

” on page 124.