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Drop-frame Time Code

(Redirected From DFTC)

From Chace Audio

When NTSC color video was invented, the designers wanted to retain compatibility with existing monochrome TVs. However, broadcasting color took 0.03 seconds every second to transmit the color information in the signal. This caused an hour of time code to be longer than an hour of wall-clock time by 3.59 seconds, leading to an error of almost a minute and a half per day. Precious advertising dollars could be lost, so as a result, SMPTE drop-frame time code was born.

No video frames are actually dropped; what are dropped are time code labels, or addresses. Drop-frame time code drops two frames every minute, with the exception of every tenth minute. It runs at the same rate as non-drop frame time code (NDFTC) but when one is lined up against the other, the time codes will drift apart due to the dropping of frames in DFTC. DFTC is generally represented with a semi-colon (;) between the seconds and frames and is typically only attached to material that is meant to be broadcast.