Virtual Production at FMX 2012

This year at the FMX ( was a focus on Virtual Production. All I can say is … what a blast! I have been several times to the FMX and I always enjoyed the presentations about previs but this year was by far the best.

I truly enjoyed the presentations by Chris Edwards. He shared his presentation with Kevin Jenkins, Art Director at Framestore and Set Designer William Cheng. This combination of Previs, art direction and set design was what made the presentations so unique for me.

An other highlight for me were the two presentations by Glenn Derry from Technoprops. He talked about the whole techniques behind Virtual Production and showed a lot of details and insights. Glenn’s presentations were about the development of the Virtual Productions systems he has worked on with his team. Just to see the behind the scenes pictures was worth it to see his presentations.

Also the presentation by Ron Frankel was really great. Just to see which challenges they had to tackle at their project was absolutely interesting.

Christopher Evans had some news about Cinema Sandbox (Cinebox) from Crytek. I am really excited about this product and I can not wait to get my hands on it. He also talked a lot about the convergence between film and games, the differences and which obstacles they had and still have to overcome to make a previs tool based on a game engine.

I had the time of my life …

Time codes in Excel

I was looking for quite some time to find a practical solution to handle time codes in Excel. There are some solutions out there, but for some reason I just could not find what I needed. I went ahead and programmed my own Visual Basic script. It is nothing fancy, but it does exactly what I need. Here a short list of the functionality:

  • Support for all frame rates
  • Support for drop frame time code (29,97 and 59,94 fps)
  • Converting time code in frame number and vice versa
  • Calculating frame duration from two time code values

This is what I have done so far to get from a time code to a duration in frames:

Time code

Time code

Number of frames

Number of frames

Duration in






I used this formula to convert a time code to a frame number in Excel:

This is the formula to calculate the duration in frames:

The time codes were exported from Avid as an EDL (formatted as CMX_3600). This is the reason why I have to subtract one frame from the duration in frames (the “out” time code of a clip is the same as the “in” time code of the following clip).

This works for me most of the time but it is a little bit a roundabout way. I need two extra columns, which is not really a problem. It is just not the perfect solution if you like everything nice and tidy, like me. Plus these formulas do not work with drop frame time codes.

Now, with the Time Code Tools for Excel, it is just one formula.

Time Code Formulas

Here is a short overview. For more information take a look at the help document provided in the ZIP file.


This function converts a time code into a frame number.

=TC2F(A1) or =TC2F(A1;25) or =TC2F(A1;29.97;TRUE)


With this formula you can convert a frame number into a time code.

=F2TC(A1) or =F2TC(A1;25) or =F2TC(A1;29.97;1)


You can use this function to calculate the duration in frames from two time codes.

=FDur(A1;B1) or =FDur(A1;B1;25) or =FDur(A1;B1;59.94;0)


The ZIP file includes an Excel spreadsheet, a help file and the source code.

RV and Python

This is probably nothing new for most people using RV. Python is now officially supported with the new release (3.12.13).

Take a look at the release notes: RV Release 3.12.13

I am very excited about this. I will definitely try out some ideas that would make some things much more easier in RV.