Modifying timecode in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5

While combing through Help on a recent pass, I found that there was little information about how to modify (change) timecode in Adobe Premiere Pro. It’s definitely a feature that you may find some use for. While I plan to include more information about modifying timecode in Help in the very near future, I thought that in the mean time it would be helpful to share with you just how to do this.

Before I tell you how to modify timecode, you are probably wondering why you would modify timecode in the first place. In most cases, you really don’t want to mess with the sanctity of embedded timecode in your clips. There are a few compelling reasons, including:

  • After shooting dual system sound, you can modify either the audio or video for synching via timecode.
  • To fix timecode errors or anomalies during production.
  • The camera original timecode doesn’t work for your post workflow.
  • To match timecode of a smart slate.
  • In offline/online workflow, you want the timecode  of your low-res footage to match your master tapes for accurate match back and recapture.

Before you change timecode, be aware that you cannot access AUX timecode tracks in Adobe Premiere Pro so you must modify your source timecode. Fortunately, Adobe Premiere Pro has a Revert button if you need to restore a clip’s original timecode.

To modify timecode for a single clip:

  1. In the Project panel, select the clip.
  2. Choose Clip > Modify > Timecode.
  3. In the Modify Clip dialog, choose a new timecode for your clip. You can choose to modify timecode for the beginning of a clip, or at the current frame.

Note: If you are already parked on the first frame, this option is disabled.

To modify timecode for multiple clips:

  1. Select the clips
  2. Choose Clip > Modify > Timecode
  3. In the Modify Clip dialog, click in the timecode field. Enter in the common timecode for your selected clips. Again, you can choose to modify timecode for the beginning of the clips, or at the current frame.

Sometimes, you’ll want to modify the timecode of a clip in the timeline. For example, you find that the clap on the smart slate does not match your clips timecode at that point in time.

To modify timecode of a clip in the timeline.

  1. Select the clip.
  2. Press M, to perform a match frame.
  3. Choose Clip > Modify > Timecode.
  4. In the Modify Clip dialog, click in the timecode field. Enter in the timecode for your selected clip. You will usually want to modify timecode at the current frame.

I hope this help you understand the hows and whys of modifying timecode. Be sure to leave a comment if you have more to add regarding modifying timecode.

12 Responses to Modifying timecode in Adobe Premiere Pro CS5

  1. Why is the timecode menu grayed out when I’m using DSLR footage. How can I set timecode?

  2. Michael Tavares says:

    I did this and then used the tc effect to overlay the clock from that modified TC. But it doesn’t match the real time on the clip. so I had a producer, using the time code burns spend a million hours on a completely useless EDL.

  3. kmonahan says:

    Hi Michael,
    That doesn’t sound right. Could you file a bug about your situation?

  4. Kevin, I recorded free run clock timecode on two cameras to sync them in editing and PPro 5.5 is REFUSING to display the original timecode even though I selected “Use device control t/C” when capturing and “Use Media Source” under Preferences>Media>Timecode. When I check under Clip>Modify>Timecode, I’m only given the option, already selected, Set At Beginning and 00:00:00.0.
    Yesterday I saw all the imported clips had the original timecode in the project window when capture ended (I was capturing HDV stuff) but now all I get is a 00:00:00:00 Media Start t/c.


  5. All sorted out Kevin, it’s just my impatience… as soon as I got a clip into Source Monitor PPro indexed the clips and I got my original timecode.
    Cheers, happy festive season

  6. seb says:

    Hi, I’m currently trying to restore some old DV tapes and I happen the original premiere pro project (resaved as CS3 then CS5 project) to work with, but when capturing DV tapes I never manage to have them start right where they are supposed to (e.g. the original clip started @ timecode 00:00:00:09 but when capturing again the tape, it only starts @ 00:00:01:15 or sthg like that). I think I used my camera to capture them in the first place, while I’m now using a Sony DSR11 which apprently fails to capture the very first frames of a tape.

    Anyway, so when I go to the timeline, everything is messed up by a few frame, with some ’empty’ frames at the end. What I’d like to do is to have these ’empty’ frames at the beginning of my media so that the rest of editing matches, and I figured I could use timecode modification for that, but I’m really not sure how ?

    I tried settting 00:00:01:06 as the timecode for 1st frame but it didn’t work.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated, I got more old tapes to restore, and being able to fix their timecodes once and for all after capturing would be a lot better than having to fix each and every clip manually in the timeline 🙂

    Thanx in advance.

  7. Tom Ciciura says:

    I am attampting to modify the timecode from an original video clip. I am syncronizing with dual system sound with timecode. The timecode from my video source is off and I want to modify it so it matches the smart slate in the picture.

    When I select the “timecode” tab is unselectable.
    Why is it unsellectable? How do I adjust the video timecode?

    I am selecting a .MTS AVCHD clip created with a Panasonic AF-100 that was jammed with timecode as slave. The Audio and smart slate timecode are dead on.