What Does TOS Mean in Video Editing?

Video editing involves a multitude of technical terms, and one such term that often comes up is TOS. TOS stands for Timecode Offset Setting, and it plays a significant role in the editing process. In this article, we will explore what TOS means in video editing and how it impacts the overall workflow.

Understanding Timecode

Before diving into TOS, let’s first understand the concept of timecode. Timecode is a system used to track and label specific points in a video or audio recording. It provides a unique identifier for each frame or sample, allowing editors to precisely locate and synchronize different media elements.

Timecode typically follows the format of HH:MM:SS:FF, where HH represents hours, MM represents minutes, SS represents seconds, and FF represents frames. This format allows for seamless communication between different video editing software and hardware devices.

The Importance of Timecode Offset Setting (TOS)

TOS refers to the adjustment made to synchronize timecodes when working with multiple sources or devices during post-production. When footage is captured from different cameras or audio sources simultaneously, variations in clock accuracy can lead to discrepancies in timecodes.

This misalignment can cause issues when attempting to sync multiple clips together or when working with external audio recordings. This is where TOS comes into play – it allows editors to compensate for these timing differences and ensure accurate synchronization.

How Does TOS Work?

To understand how TOS works, let’s consider an example:

  • You have recorded footage from two cameras simultaneously – Camera A and Camera B.
  • The timecodes on Camera A are slightly ahead compared to Camera B due to slight differences in clock accuracy.
  • In your video editing software, you can apply a TOS value to Camera B, which will offset its timecode by a certain number of frames.
  • By adjusting the TOS value, you can align the timecodes of both cameras accurately.

This adjustment ensures that when you synchronize the footage from both cameras, they match perfectly in terms of timing. This is particularly crucial when working on multi-camera productions or projects that involve external audio recordings.

Applying TOS in Video Editing Software

The process of applying TOS may vary slightly depending on the video editing software you are using. However, most professional editing tools offer this feature as it is an essential part of the post-production workflow.

To apply TOS in your video editing software, follow these general steps:

  1. Select the clip or media file that requires timecode adjustment.
  2. Navigate to the clip properties or settings panel.
  3. Locate the Timecode Offset Setting or TOS option.
  4. Enter the desired number of frames to offset the timecode. Positive values will delay the timecode, while negative values will advance it.
  5. Apply the changes and verify that the adjusted timecode aligns correctly with other media elements.

Note that while it’s possible to manually calculate and enter TOS values based on known differences between devices, some advanced video editing software can automatically detect and suggest appropriate TOS values for efficient synchronization.


TOS (Timecode Offset Setting) is a vital aspect of video editing that allows editors to compensate for timing differences between multiple sources or devices. By adjusting the TOS value, editors can ensure accurate synchronization of footage and audio recordings, resulting in seamless and professional-looking videos.

Understanding TOS is essential for anyone involved in video editing, as it helps maintain consistency and precision throughout the post-production process. So the next time you come across the term TOS, you’ll know exactly what it means and how to utilize it effectively.