How are negative timecodes handled with drop-frame:

  • Is the frame before -00:00:59:29 labelled -00:00:01:02 (symmetric), or
  • Is the frame after -00:01:00:01 labelled -00:00:59:28 (regular)?


  • 1
    Negative timecodes are not mentioned in SMPTE-12, the relevant standard, so I presume that as with timecodes > 24 hours the behaviour is implementation defined. FFMPEG's timecode flags allow for negative timecodes, you could check their implementation: ffmpeg.org/doxygen/2.7/timecode_8h_source.html
    – jsj
    Jul 21 '15 at 6:19

I know this is a very old Q, but it should be pointed out that a 'negative timecode' makes no sense. The SMPTE frame before 00:00:00:00 is 23:59:59:29. The namespace for drop frame (and non-drop) codes is already well-defined -- no need to postulate negative values. If there are systems or programs that use this notation, they should be rethought.


Taking into account that

  • frame dropping works on a 10min-regular basis
  • project offsetting by a multiple of 10min should keep frame dropping at the same positions

I guess the correct way of doing this is on a regular basis.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.