# TTML/changeProposal004

# Clarifications for Time Expression Semantics

- The following is a Change Proposal for Issue 199
- Editor: Glenn Adams.
- Date: January 28, 2013.

## Summary

TTML does not adequately define how to relate a time expression to media time when the effective frame rate is not an integer.

## Details

TTML defines the `media`

time base as follows [1]:

If the time base is designated as media, then a time expression denotes a coordinate in some media object's time line, where the media object may be an external media object with which the content of a document instance is to be synchronized, or it may be the content of a document instance itself in a case where the timed text content is intended to establish an independent time line.

The media time base is related to local real time in accordance to the related media play rate and the related media real start time (i.e., the real time when the related media playback started), parameters not modeled by TTML itself. The relationship between media time (M) and local real time (R) is as follows:

R = playRate * M + realStartTime

where

M ∈ ℜ | 0 ≤ M < ∞ | M in seconds

playRate ∈ ℜ | −∞ < playRate < ∞ | playRate is unit-less

realStartTime ∈ ℜ | 0 ≤ realStartTime < ∞ | realStartTime in seconds, with 0 being start of epoch

Without loss of generality, we will assume playRate is 1 (one) and realStartTime is 0 for the remainder of this document, which simplifies this relationship to R = M.

### Problem Example

A number of common non-integral frame rates occurs in common use in the U.S., originally deriving from NTSC video formats. An example of this is a frame rate of 30 * 1000/1001 = 29.970029970029… frames per second, or 41.708333... milliseconds per frame. In TTML, this frame rate would be denoted as follows:

<tt ttp:frameRate='30' ttp:frameRateMulitiplier='1000 1001' ttp:timeBase='media' ...>

TTML time expressions allow specifying time using either a *offset-time* or *clock-time* format [2]. In the case of offset time expressions, one can use a variety of representations, such as a fractional number of seconds, a fractional number of frames, etc. In the case of clock time expressions, one can use a COLON (`:`

) separated expression that includes hours, minutes, seconds, and, optionally, fraction of seconds or frames and optional sub-frames.

Valid time expressions include:

30f 1s 1.25125s 00:00:01 00:00:01.25125 00:00:01:01

In general, it should be possible to convert between the different time expression formats without loss of information; for example, it should be possible to unambiguously convert all valid expressions to a fractional seconds offest or a fractional frames offset expression. However, because TTML does not clearly define this conversion, some ambiguity has appeared among readers as to how to interpret these expressions in the context of non-integral frame rates. In the following sections, this expression is interpreted according to two techniques.

### Interpretation #1

According to this interpretation, the time components of time expressions refer directly to media time coordinates, while frames refer to time intervals computed from the effective (possibly non-integral) frame rate. Therefore, `00:00:01:01`

is interpreted using the following formula:

M = 60^2 * hours + 60^1 * minutes + 60^0 * seconds + ( frames / effectiveFrameRate )

consequently, to compute media time as fractional seconds, we have

M = 60^2 * 0 + 60^1 * 0 + 60^0 * 1 + ( 1 / 29.97002997002997 ) = 1.033367s

then, to further convert this to a fractional frames, we have

M = 1.033367s * 29.97002997002997 (frames per second) = 30.97002997003007f

finally, to convert this to an integral frame number, where the first frame is frame 1, we have

frame number = floor(30.97002997003007) + 1 = frame 31

### Interpretation #2

According to this interpretation, the time components of time expressions denote their equivalent in integral frames, i.e., without making use of the frame rate multiplier. As such, time expressions in this interpretations operate like a frame counter, or, by analogy, like an odometer which counts off frames. Only when converting from this frame count to media time is the frame rate multiplier used (to compute the effective frame rate). Therefore, `00:00:01:01`

is interpreted using the following formula:

M = ( ( ( 60^2 * hours + 60^1 * minutes + 60^0 * seconds ) * frameRate ) + frames ) * effectiveFrameDuration

consequently, to compute media time as fractional seconds, we have

M = ( ( ( 60^2 * 0 + 60^1 * 0 + 60^0 * 1 ) * 30 ) + 1 ) * 0.03336666666667 seconds/frame = 1.03436666666677s

then, to further convert this to a fractional frames, we have

M = 1.03436666666677s * 29.97002997002997 (effective frames per second) = 31.0000000000031f

finally, to convert this to an integral frame number, where the first frame is frame 1, we have

frame number = floor(31.0000000000031) + 1 = frame 32

Let us compute for one more value, `02:00:00:00`

, which yields:

M = ( ( ( 60^2 * 2 + 60^1 * 0 + 60^0 * 0 ) * 30 ) + 0 ) * 0.03336666666667 seconds/frame = 7207.20000000072s = 7207.20000000072s * 29.97002997002997 (effective frames per second) = 216000f frame number = floor(216000) + 1 = frame 216001