Lockit Buddy - LB-01 DSLR TC Attenuator
(Canon 7D/T2i/550D Lumix G2 ...)
The Lockit Buddy is a small device that is
aimed at the professional sound recordist, currently being confronted with
increasing amounts of footage shot on Digital SLR cameras, and to the owners of
such cameras who want to work with a professional sound recordist using double
system sound linked by time code.
Lockit Buddy takes care of the level and impedance conversions needed to record
an accurate and dependable time code signal and confidence audio track to the
Digital SLR camera. It also works on consumer video cameras with 3.5mm mic
As long as your camera has the capability to record movies, a mic input and a
standard size flash bracket you will be able to use the Lockit Buddy on your
All you need is a constantly attached
standard time code source, (Lockit box, broadcast camera TC out, hard disk
recorder TC out etc ...) a sound source with a professional line level or
standard headphone level output (IFB receiver, mixer output etc...) and a NLE
that can handle audio TC. (Avid, FCP) There are no brand new expensive lockit
boxes to be purchased that only work on your Digital SLR mini-jack connector...
just use your industry standard equipment!
It will accept standard SMPTE LTC via the in built BNC connector, and left and
right unbalanced line level audio signal via 3-pin Mini XLR connector. These
audio signals will be mixed down at an equal ratio by the Lockit Buddy to a
single mono reference audio track on the Digital SLR.
All connections to and from the Lockit Buddy are made with gold plated contacts
to ensure a trouble free long life with minimal signal loss.
Why put your reputation on the line by forcing pro line level signal (+4dB) into
powered microphone level inputs? (+/- 50dB more sensitive) It may work if you
turn the camera's input level all the way down in manual mode and you are
willing to live with horrible crosstalk between your channels and no signal
headroom, but it could cause damage to your camera's inputs over time and
compromise reliability of your signal.
So how does the Lockit Buddy solve these problems?
The Lockit Buddy provides a separate pre-set attenuation and impedance
compensation circuit for both of it's inputs (timecode and audio), so that any
equipment attached is 'seeing' the right kind of conditions to deliver it's
signal into without straining it's outputs. It also cancels out the 'plug in
power' being sent back from the camera microphone input to the attached
equipment. The Digital SLR is getting reliably signal into it's inputs at the
level it's expecting, without the crosstalk associated with sending hot signals
down unbalanced connections.
There is a difference in setup between the camera's which have the option to use
manual gain (like the Canon 5D, Nikon D3s/D7000, Lumix GH2 etc...) and camera's
with AGC mode only (Canon 7D/T2i/550D, Lumix G2 etc...)... Hence there are
Lockit Buddies available for each system. Both versions are physically
identical, but have been factory set up to attenuate signal in a different way.
Always use manual gain if possible.
If it becomes necessary your Lockit Buddy can be user modified by adjusting two
internal trim controls. Details can be found in the manual.
(Please note that if you want to use a Lockit Buddy on Lumix cameras you will
need to buy a conversion plug from 3.5mm to the 2.5mm Mic input)
(On the Canon 5D for example, this feature
can be accessed via the 2nd setup menu /
Live View - Movie Func. Set. / Sound Rec.)
In case of the auto gain cameras the Lockit
Buddy uses the constant signal of the time code input to defeat the auto gain
feature and produces an audio input free from the usual 'noise floor' artefacts.
This will open up the entire dynamic range of the audio channel so a good
quality reference audio track can be recorded on the camera.
For cameras with the option to use manual gain we strongly recommend downloading
the latest firmware update for your camera and using the manual audio settings.
This way a reference tone and time code signal can be put into allignment with
one another and can be referenced to the audio meter display available on most
Lockit Buddy sends your reference audio track to channel 1 (L) and the time code
to channel 2 (R).
This is conform to channel arrangements needed to ingest material with LTC
recorded as audio with Avid editing systems. For editing in Final Cut Pro we
recommend processing the video files using FCPauxTC by VideoToolshed to extract
your time code and turn it into an Auxiliary TC track.
In terms of mounting options, the Lockit
Buddy comes standard with a simple aircraft grade aluminium mount that slides
into the camera's flash bracket. This mount also comes with industry standard
1/4 inch thread to allow more options mounting on rigs, spigots, etc ... or it
can be taken off completely by removing two screws from the units bottom lid to
allow you to use it with Velcro or an alternative way of affixing it.
Because of the multitude of possible wiring and plug arrangements connecting the
Lockit Buddy to various third party devices, and due to the diversity in
available rig setups, we are currently not providing any cables with the unit.
The Lockit Buddy has been intensively field tested with great reviews from users
and is now available to you with a 1 year limited warranty.