Timecode and Frame Numbering

SyncSketch default frame numbering in videos and animations is a simple frame number starting at 1.  If this is not ideal for your workflow, SyncSketch provides tools to change how frame numbers are displayed.

Most of these settings are set as Project settings, affecting all items in Reviews in that Project.  

To access the settings:

From the Project Overview, open the Project Settings, accessible from the Manage button.

Select the Media Settings tab at the left.

Global Time Display

This sets the default frame numbering style for all Reviews in the project.  Selecting “Timecode” will display frame numbers as SMPTE timecode (HH:MM:SS:FF) by default.  

(This can be overridden directly within the Player using the gear icon at the lower right; see Switching Timecode Display Between Frames and SMPTE for details.)

Also, this setting is used to determine the behavior of other features as well. In particular:

  • The format of the frame number overlay when using the Download Video with Sketches feature.
  • The format of the frame numbers in the filenames when using the Download Sketches as Zip feature

Default start Frame

This selects a starting frame number for items in the Reviews in the project. More precisely, it specifies an offset from zero in absolute frames.  For example, if displaying a 24fps movie’s frame numbering as timecode, a default start frame of 101 would show the first frame as 00:00:04:05.

It is used when a file does not have embedded timecode, or when Use Embedded Timecode is unchecked.

You cannot use this setting to offset values in embedded timecode.

Use Embedded Timecode

Some content creation tools embed metadata in the file that describes the numbering scheme and the frame numbering value for the first frame of a video or animation file. 

Checking Use Embedded Timecode will cause SyncSketch to observe embedded timecode, if present, ensuring that frame timecode values match back to the timeline in the original content creation tool that created the movie or animation file. 

This works regardless of how the frame numbering is displayed.  For example, if the starting timecode from a 24fps file’s metadata is 00:00:04:05, the first frame would be displayed as frame 101 if not set to display as SMPTE timecode.

You cannot currently offset the starting values of embedded timecode.


My frame numbering is wrong.

  • If it’s displayed as a frame number when it should be SMPTE timecode (or vice versa), you can change it at the Review level using the gear icon at the lower right of the Player.  You can change the default for all Reviews using the Global Time Display project setting as described above.
  • If it’s offset from where you expect it to be, examine the Project Settings described above.  For example, your file may have embedded timecode that you neither knew about nor needed.  Turning off Use Embedded Timecode may be the solution.
  • If you prefer to start your movies at something other than frame 1, uncheck Use Embedded Timecode and set the Default Start Frame.
  • If you’re seeing incorrect values in downloads, please contact us at support@syncsketch.com
  • SyncSketch does not currently support SMPTE “Nondrop” timecode frame numbering for 29.97fps or 59.94fps video.  It will treat all such videos as if they were using Drop-Frame timecode numbering, which will introduce a gradually increasing offset from the correct values.  Please Upvote if Nondrop support is important to you.

I’d like to make SyncSketch timecode support work better for my team’s workflow.

Please participate in the timecode discussion on our feedback site.

How can I tell if my file has embedded timecode, and what the starting value is?

Currently, you cannot tell from within SyncSketch if your file has embedded timecode and what its numbering scheme and starting value is.  However, there’s a useful and free utility called MediaInfo that will display all kinds of file metadata, including timecode atoms or stream types.  See How to use MediaInfo to Troubleshoot Videos for details.