Thread: Syncing clips to certain elements in the music

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  1. #1 Syncing clips to certain elements in the music 
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    Hey,

    I'm very, very new to the world of video/film and I, just like many others, jumped on the BMPCC train because of the summer sale. Anyway, I noticed that I have big problems with getting a good flow in the videos without syncing the clips to beats in the music. For example on the kickdrum or on a chord or something similar. I get a bit tired of myself when I look back at my videos, but at the same time I don't know any other way to do it. It's just like I can't understand when to change clip if I don't have a marker in form of music. Maybe it's because I come from music production/working with music on a daily basis, but still. I've watched a lot of other people who just seem to cut wherever and it still looks fluent. I can't figure it out, I need those beats, lol.

    Advice? How do you do it? Are there any general guidelines?

    In case I wasn't clear, you can watch one of my vids here where you'll notice I only change clip on the kickdrum, lol. I feel stupid now.

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  3. #3  
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    Hmm, maybe you misunderstood what I ment? I already try to cut to the music, sync it with beats or chords, but I've seen many movies where they don't do it. When I try, it feels off sync in a weird way I can't get used to.
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  4. #4  
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    OK, can you name one of the films so we have a point of reference?
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    I think it might have something to do with just the overall pacing of the film. The song sort of repeatedly builds itself up, then the kick, and then it does it all over again. By placing the next shot at the kick it feels like the shot is a big reveal (something that would work awesome with like a Sports Highlight reel), rather than just being the next shot.

    Since you come from a music background I also think that you might have purposefully thought in terms of beats, where to put your cuts. Since these beats are obviously universal throughout the song, it starts to make the cuts seem expected, humdrum. By even shifting your cut by a couple frames on either side of the kick I think it could and would totally change the feel of the film. Granted I also have a music background and like to try to match up my beats with my cuts based on the beats, but look deeper into that drum line and see if you could maybe place it on that HH in between the big kicks.

    But keep in mind that the way you feel is the same way a lot of people feel about seeing themselves on camera, or hearing their own voices - we're always going to be the most critical to ourselves
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  6. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkyHighFG View Post
    I think it might have something to do with just the overall pacing of the film. The song sort of repeatedly builds itself up, then the kick, and then it does it all over again. By placing the next shot at the kick it feels like the shot is a big reveal (something that would work awesome with like a Sports Highlight reel), rather than just being the next shot.

    Since you come from a music background I also think that you might have purposefully thought in terms of beats, where to put your cuts. Since these beats are obviously universal throughout the song, it starts to make the cuts seem expected, humdrum. By even shifting your cut by a couple frames on either side of the kick I think it could and would totally change the feel of the film. Granted I also have a music background and like to try to match up my beats with my cuts based on the beats, but look deeper into that drum line and see if you could maybe place it on that HH in between the big kicks.

    But keep in mind that the way you feel is the same way a lot of people feel about seeing themselves on camera, or hearing their own voices - we're always going to be the most critical to ourselves
    I run a record label where I focus on releasing electronic dance music and I've decided to use music from the label in all my stuff because it feels more fun that way, kind of combining my two hobbies. Problem with it though is that most of the tracks are bound to beats of this nature, but most are of the classic "four on the floor" nature, which I guess will get problematic in terms of cutting. That kind of music is very systematic, repetitive. It would feel so off sync to not put a new clip on a beat, you know?

    Maybe it's not even a problem. It just got a bit frustrating when it it felt like I didn't have a choice, heh.

    Anyway, thanks for the reply. Wanted to get some input but also vent a bit, hehe.
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  7. #7  
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    I'm a musician too.
    I've had similar issues, but you just have to force yourself to do it.
    I try to limit cuts to the beat. I used to write music for television and I spent ages watching film editors cut to my music. Most of the time they try to cut to the pace of the footage - how long does a shot need to breathe. Often they cut to a beat or chord change if the edit is visually significant or significant to the story being told.
    There are no rules. I'm a novice filmmaker, and I'm just trying to force myself to cut away from obvious beats and music transitions.
    Try it and see if you can live with your cuts.
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  8. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by bscenefilms View Post
    OK, can you name one of the films so we have a point of reference?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ_1HMAGb4k

    Only about 20% of the cuts happen on a beat.
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  9. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kristofferl View Post
    Hmm, maybe you misunderstood what I ment? I already try to cut to the music, sync it with beats or chords, but I've seen many movies where they don't do it. When I try, it feels off sync in a weird way I can't get used to.
    I agree, when I see it in music it just seems like lazy directing or editing.

    Quote Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJ_1HMAGb4k

    Only about 20% of the cuts happen on a beat.
    I'd say it's more than that. 20% of the cuts happen on the 1, most of the other cuts are motivated by the lyrics rather than the kick drum but still occur on beat. There are definitely a few odd ones in there though, mostly where they cut on 4 and the video hangs for an extra beat before the 1.
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  10. #10  
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    As a drummer I'd say a lot of the cuts are not on beat, but as you say, on vocal. A decent amount are on 'the one', or the 'downbeat', or whichever musical term you choose to describe the first beat of a bar.
    In the OP's video, every cut is 'on the one'.
    A music video is often more motivated by the music. Documentary and narrative might be even more divorced (or off sync) from the 'beat'.
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