Timecode (positional references)

The position of any device is most often described using timecode. Timecode represents time using hours, minutes, seconds, and frames to provide a location for each device. Each frame represents a visual film or video frame.

Timecode can be communicated in several ways:

  • LTC (Longitudinal Timecode) is an analog signal that can be recorded on tape. It should be used for positional information primarily. It can also be used for speed and phase information as a last resort if no other clock source is available.

  • VITC (Vertical Interval Timecode) is contained within a composite video signal. It is recorded onto video tape and is physically tied to each video frame.

  • MTC (MIDI Timecode) is identical to LTC except that it is a digital signal transmitted via MIDI.

  • Sony P2 (9-Pin, RS-422) Machine Control also has a timecode protocol that is mainly used for locating and is not nearly accurate enough for speed and phase. It can be used in certain situations where there is no alternative.


The Steinberg SyncStation is capable of using 9-Pin timecode in a very accurate manner.