So after a lot of complaining there’s finally a few timecode calculators available in the iTunes app store for the iPhone. I monitor this feed for recently added iPhone apps and hadn’t seen these guys come online so thanks to the readers who sent a message. Sometimes when I check the feed there might be 100+ new apps that have been added. God knows there’s no shortage of tip calculators, flashlights and other useless crapola so it’s nice to finally see timecode calculators! Unfortunately they are just okay:
The first is called TC Calculator (iTunes direct link). On the surface it looks cool but it’s functionality isn’t good. It seems to always default to 25 fps which is okay if using PAL but there should be an option to always have it default to NTSC rates as well. Plus, it doesn’t add right!! I chose 30 fps as my frame rate and added 15 frames + 15 frames and the answer comes out to be 1:05. It comes out that way as the answer is in 25 fps mode. I could tap the 30 fps button and get the correct answer but who wants to do that at the end of each calculation. Then I tried to add 1:00:00:00 + 1:00 and got the answer 1:00:00:25. That’s just wrong. This thing needs work. It is free but if a free app doesn’t work right then it’s not worth it.
TCCalc (iTunes direct link) is better but it isn’t cheap at $4.99. While $4.99 really isn’t all that expensive, when you consider that most iPhone apps seem to be between 99Â¢ and $1.99 that does put TCCalc at the higher end of the iPhone app price spectrum. It’s much better than the other application mentioned above as it provides support for drop frame timecode, custom frame rates, better input methods and a nice help page. It doesn’t look all that sleek and iPhone like but it works pretty well. The developer’s web site is in French but you can send suggestions to the developer via email so support should be available.
Time:calc is a basic time calculator that recently added support for timecode. (iTunes direct link). They get a plus as they have all the basic frame rates that must be available. But it’s far from perfect as you have to always hit the colon : button when entering values. A timecode calculator should not require that as you have to be able to enter values fast. Close, but no cigar.
What do all these (and pretty much any timecode calculator) calcs need to make a fully functioning and very useful application? First, you have to have support for all of the high definiton frame rates to make a timecode calculator really useful. I don’t want to be guessing as to what I am importing so a button with 23.98 fps, 59.94 fps, 29.97 fps are buttons that make me feel better about my calculations. And drop frame is essential. Plus memory function and a way to review your last few calculations would be nice too. And you have to understand that when I type 1000000 I am typing one hour: 1:00:00:00. And a double 00 button is icing on the cake since you so often type two zeros together. I hope that TCCalc gets better but I’m also hoping a good United States based developer will still build the best dedicated timecode calculator for the iPhone that looks sleek, is easy to use quickly and supports all the frame rates we have to deal with today.