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SMPTE Time Code Manipulation Library

Project description

Python Module for manipulating SMPTE timecode. Supports 23.976, 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 frame rates and milliseconds (1000 fps).

This library is a fork of the original PyTimeCode python library. You should not use the two library together (PyTimeCode is not maintained and has known bugs).

The math behind the drop frame calculation is based on the blog post of David Heidelberger .

Simple math operations like, addition, subtraction, multiplication or division with an integer value or with a timecode is possible. Math operations between timecodes with different frame rates are supported. So:

from timecode import Timecode

tc1 = Timecode('29.97', '00:00:00:00')
tc2 = Timecode('24', '00:00:00:10')
tc3 = tc1 + tc2
assert tc3.framerate == '29.97'
assert tc3.frames == 12
assert tc3 == '00:00:00:11'

Creating a Timecode instance with a start timecode of ‘00:00:00:00’ will result a timecode object where the total number of frames is 1. So:

tc4 = Timecode('24', '00:00:00:00')
assert tc4.frames == 1

Use the frame_number attribute if you want to get a 0 based frame number:

assert tc4.frame_number == 0

Frame rates 29.97 and 59.94 are always drop frame, and all the others are non drop frame.

The timecode library supports rational frame rates passed as a either a string

or tuple:

tc5 = Timecode('30000/1001', '00:00:00;00')
assert tc5.framerate == '29.97'

tc6 = Timecode((30000, 1001), '00:00:00;00')
assert tc6.framerate == '29.97'

You may also pass a big “Binary Coded Decimal” integer as start timecode:

tc7 = Timecode('24', 421729315)
assert repr(tc7) == '19:23:14:23'

This is useful for parsing timecodes stored in OpenEXR’s and extracted through OpenImageIO for instance.

Timecode also supports passing start timecodes formatted like HH:MM:SS.sss where SS.sss is seconds and fractions of seconds:

tc8 = Timecode(25, '00:00:00.040')
assert tc8.frame_number == 1

You may set any timecode to be represented as fractions of seconds:

tc9 = Timecode(24, '19:23:14:23')
assert repr(tc9) == '19:23:14:23'

assert repr(tc9) == '19:23:14.958'

Fraction of seconds is useful when working with tools like FFmpeg.

The SMPTE standard limits the timecode with 24 hours. Even though, Timecode instance will show the current timecode inline with the SMPTE standard, it will keep counting the total frames without clipping it.

Please report any bugs to the GitHub page.

Copyright 2014 Joshua Banton and PyTimeCode developers.



  • Fix: Fixed an edge case when two Timecodes are subtracted the resultant Timecode will always have the correct amount of frames. But it is not possible to have a Timecode with negative or zero frames as this is changed in 1.2.3.

  • Fix: Fixed Timecode.float property for drop frames.


  • Update: It is now possible to supply a Fraction instances for the framerate argument.


  • Update: Passing frames=0 will now raise a ValueError. This hopefully will clarify the usage of the TimeCode as a duration. If there is no duration, hence the frames=0, meaning that the number of frames of the duration that this TimeCode represents is 0, which is meaningless.

  • Update: Also added some validation for the frames property (oh yes it is a property now).

  • Fix: Fixed the CHANGELOG.rst and to be able to properly package and upload to PyPI.


  • Fix: Fixed Timecode.parse_timecode for int inputs.

  • Update: Timecode now accepts a fractional bool argument that forces the timecode to be fractional.

  • Update: Timecode now accepts a `force_non_drop_frame argument that forces the timecode to be non-drop frame.


  • Update: Added support for 23.976 fps which is a common variation of 23.98.


  • NEW: Support for passing a tuple with numerator and denominator when passing rational framerate.

  • NEW: set_fractional method for setting whether or not to represent a timecode as fractional seconds.

  • Update: Updated README’s with info on new features

  • FIX: Some merge issues.


  • New: Support for passing “binary coded decimal” (BCD) integer to timecode argument as it’s stored in certain formats like OpenEXR and DPX. Useful for parsing timecode from metadata through OpenImageIO for instance. Example: Timecode(24, 421729315) -> 19:23:14:23


  • Update: To prevent confusion, passing 0 for start_seconds argument will raise a ValueError now in Timecode.__init__ method.


  • New: Added support for passing rational frame rate. 24000/1001 for 23.97 etc.

  • New: Added tests for new functionality. Fractional seconds and rational frame rates.

  • New: added __ge__ and __le__ methods for better comparison between two timecodes.

  • New: Added support for fractional seconds in the frame field as used in ffmpeg’s duration for instance.

  • Important: When passing fractional second style timecode, the Timecode.frs will return a float representing the fraction of a second. This is a major change for people expecting int values


  • Update: Version bump for PyPI.


  • Fix: Fixed a test that was testing overloaded operators.


  • New: Frame delimiter is now set to “:” for Non Drop Frame, “;” for Drop Frame and “.” for millisecond based time codes. If Timecode.__init__() start_timecode is passed a string with the wrong delimiter it will be converted automatically.

  • Update: All tests involving Drop Frame and millisecond time codes are now set to use the new delimiter.

  • New: Timecode.tc_to_string() method added to present the correctly formatted time code.

  • New: Timecode.ms_frame boolean attribute added.

  • New: Timecode.__init__() now supports strings, ints and floats for the framerate argument.


  • New: Renamed the library to timecode.


  • New: Rewritten the whole library from scratch.

  • New: Most important change is the licencing. There was now license defined in the previous implementation. The library is now licensed under MIT license.

  • Update: Timecode.__init__() arguments has been changed, removed the unnecessary drop_frame, iter_returns arguments.

    Drop frame can be interpreted from the framerate argument and iter_returns is unnecessary cause any iteration on the object will return another Timecode instance.

    If you want to get a string representation use Timecode.__str__() or str(Timecode) or Timecode.__repr__() or \`Timecode\` or '%s' % Timecode any other thing that will convert it to a string.

    If you want to get an integer use Timecode.frames or Timecode.frame_count depending on what you want to get out of it.

    So setting the iter_returns to something and nailing the output was unnecessary.

  • Update: Updated the drop frame calculation to a much better one, which is based on to the blog post of David Heidelberger at

  • New: Added Timecode.__eq__() so it is now possible to check the equality of two timecode instances or a timecode and a string or a timecode and an integer (which will check the total frame count).

  • Update: Timecode.tc_to_frames() now needs a timecode as a string and will return an integer value which is the number of frames in that timecode.

  • Update: Timecode.frames_to_tc() now needs an integer frame count and returns 4 integers for hours, minutes, seconds and frames.

  • Update: Timecode.hrs, Timecode.mins, Timecode.secs and Timecode.frs attributes are now properties. Because it was so rare to check the individual hours, minutes, seconds or frame values, their values are calculated with Timecode.frames_to_tc() method. But in future they can still be converted to attributes and their value will be updated each time the Timecode.frames attribute is changed (so add a _frames attribute and make frames a property with a getter and setter, and update the hrs, mins, secs and frs in setter etc.).

  • Update: Removed Timecode.calc_drop_frame() method. The drop frame calculation is neatly done inside Timecode.frames_to_tc() and Timecode.tc_to_frames() methods.

  • Update: Updated Timecode.parse_timecode() method to a much simpler algorithm.

  • Update: Removed Timecode.__return_item__() method. It is not necessary to return an item in that way anymore.

  • Update: Removed Timecode.make_timecode() method. It was another unnecessary method, so it is removed. Now using simple python string templates for string representations.

  • New: Added timecode.__version__ string, and set the value to “0.2.0”.

  • Update: Removed Timecode.set_int_framerate() method. Setting the framerate will automatically set the Timecode.int_framerate attribute.

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