Thread: How do you sync audio? Wher does it fit in your workflow?

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  1. #1 How do you sync audio? Where does it fit in your workflow? 
    Syncing audio causes me all kinds of problems. It's not the syncing that's the issue. That works great. It's keeping the corrected tracks in place as adjustments are made.

    I'm curious. How do you sync audio? What's your step by step workflow

    Here's mine.

    Like most of you I shoot separate sound. I also try hard to record a scratch track that's better than just the camera but it's rarely better than the hero audio track. When it's possible I run a line-out to the camera, but that's only in relatively slow moving shoots.

    Here's my workflow for a 1080p ProRes 422 deliverable:
    Once we're back from the shoot and I ingest all the media.
    Next in Resolve I establish an initial grade and output ProRes 422.
    I import these to Premiere.
    Then I import and sync the separate audio using PluralEyes.
    Still in Premiere I trim all the footage.
    Then I cut it.
    If any color needs secondary grading I just look up the file, locate it in Resolve and after renaming the initial grade as a version render the revision. The Premiere file is automatically updated.
    Audio editing is done much the same way.
    Any FX are handled normally through each piece of software.

    My problem is that rather than trimming right away prior to initial color I have to wait until much later in the process. It would be much better to move the sync up to immediately after ingest.

    How do you do this?
    Last edited by Marshall Harrington; 10-24-2016 at 01:08 PM.
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member DPStewart's Avatar
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    I sync the audio right away.
    Drives me buggy if I don't. It can become a bumpy detail later and there is more room for errors and slow-downs.
    Also, I am increasingly doing more and more work entirely within Resolve.
    I don't think Premiere is really any better an editing platform (at least not anymore). I think many of us just had a lot more experience with Premiere than we realize. Simple familiarity can make it seem better. But now that I've spent as much time as I have with Resolve - they feel very near equivalent to me.
    In fact once I can re-purchase a few favorite VFX in the OFX format I may never go back to Premiere again.
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member funwithstuff's Avatar
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    I record external audio to a DR-60D, and if I'm shooting with my BMCC I'll send a passthrough cable to record directly into the BMCC as well. The original sound is just a *little* cleaner, but for really important stuff it's worth syncing the external audio file. For that, I use FCP X and make a multicam clip. All cameras and audio recorders get their own angle in that multicam clip, which syncs automatically so long as every camera records audio. Clapping loudly a few times once everything is rolling is enough to safeguard you if the cameras are far away from the source.

    If I have time during a shoot I might ingest and sync on my laptop, otherwise it's back at my main Mac. Normally I'd make a multicam clip for each separate instance, but some people do prefer to make a single multicam clip for an entire interview, no matter how many stops and starts there have been. That's fine too.

    In the edit, I pick the audio source(s) I want, and from there I usually just cut the video angles. You can colour-correct the individual angles in the multicam clip rather than correcting each top-level clip on the timeline, much easier. Ditto for any audio filters you need.
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member DPStewart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by funwithstuff View Post
    I record external audio to a DR-60D, and if I'm shooting with my BMCC I'll send a passthrough cable to record directly into the BMCC as well. The original sound is just a *little* cleaner, but for really important stuff it's worth syncing the external audio file. For that, I use FCP X and make a multicam clip. All cameras and audio recorders get their own angle in that multicam clip, which syncs automatically so long as every camera records audio. Clapping loudly a few times once everything is rolling is enough to safeguard you if the cameras are far away from the source.

    If I have time during a shoot I might ingest and sync on my laptop, otherwise it's back at my main Mac. Normally I'd make a multicam clip for each separate instance, but some people do prefer to make a single multicam clip for an entire interview, no matter how many stops and starts there have been. That's fine too.

    In the edit, I pick the audio source(s) I want, and from there I usually just cut the video angles. You can colour-correct the individual angles in the multicam clip rather than correcting each top-level clip on the timeline, much easier. Ditto for any audio filters you need.
    Nice.

    Sounds like you also prefer to address audio sync right away.
    I think there's just no good reason NOT to do it immediately.
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  5. #5  
    Hey DP . . . Specifically how do you sync in Resolve? Are you using software or just manually? I'm pretty much shooting gear similar to what you are. BMCC's, BMPCC's and now a BMMCC. I often shoot multicam from these choices and sync almost identically to how Iain details in his post, although I use Premiere rather than FCP. The only thing wrong with this is that you end up doing a lot more work in preliminary color prior to syncing because you just don't know what you'll need. I guess I should mention that I almost always just shoot RAW. I've found it's just easier. Once you get over the bigger file sizes the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.

    I can edit Resolve for really simple stuff but there is still much I need Premiere for not to mention the added bonus of all the other integrated software in CC.

    Like Iain I also send line-out to my main camera to make it easier to sync. I primarily use a DR-680 with a DR-60D occasionally. It's still is not a usable track because the line-out on each of these is only -4db rather then the +10db like the Sound Device gear. But it's usually better then a camera mounted mic.

    I've been looking at the new Zoom F4 or F8 with the idea that someday I'll be upgrading to a different camera that will have timecode. The output is still only -4db but I think with timecode I'll be able to sync easily using Resolve. That would save me a lot of work. But that's if I get the camera with Timecode which I don't have right now.

    Which is why I'm writing this in the first place. Is there an easier way?
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member DPStewart's Avatar
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    An easier way? I don't know. Multi-cam/Multi-audio is what it is...complex.

    I'm old-school.
    I'll use software when it actually proves itself to work and to work reliably, but I ALWAYS start with brute-force methods that might take more time but are simpler or more certain to work right the first time.

    I spent a Looooong time working in audio so I do not find manual sync to be at all difficult.
    Sure, "fully manual" is always the slowest method, but I've seen so many people spend so dang much time DICKERING with software and other methods that after all was said and done they either LOST time or gained so little that it's not worth the risk of "gittin' all fancy like".

    I'm also pretty disciplined with workflow because I learned long ago that to NOT be is to risk shooting yourself in the foot.
    Whenever I have separate audio tracks - which is at least half the time - the very first thing I ask myself is: "Is there any real and compelling reason that I don't just go through and sync-and-link every single clip right away before anything else starts"? Most of the time I'll do it. Sure, it's a few more minutes added to the TOTAL production time...."MAYBE". But it's like an insurance policy. And it helps prevent a lot of potential problems from ever happening later. As I'm sure you've observed - once you get a sync problem happening, it can take a LOT of time to get it corrected and get everything back on track. So there goes your time advantage out the window - but WORSE than that, it has now interrupted your creative flow.

    I run two DR-70Ds and one DR-60D and I'll line them into the cameras whenever possible.
    I even use this camera recorded audio more than most folks would believe - but I'm an evil bastard with audio. Like I said, I've spent a looong time in it. You ever see a really great colorist pull something great looking out of footage you were sure looked like ass? Well, I can do that with audio so it's fairly often that I'll just use the camera track. The DR-70D and DR-60D output quality is so much better than what I grew up working with that yeah, sure, a Sound Devices box is a tad better, but at this level we're really splitting hairs. And once I'm done beating up on the audio tracks that difference is even harder to detect.

    My only advice - learn various audio sync techniques, and then stick with the one that gives you the least amount of headaches and DISTRACTION. There's going to be PLENTY of other stuff barking at you later down the line already.
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member Carter's Avatar
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    This is a small piece in the larger puzzle being discussed, but I read about this technique and used it on a long form project where I was recording separate sound along with an in-camera scratch track and syncing in post...

    Once both units were rolling, before each take, I would have the sound person (or you could do this yourself), call out loud the audio track number from the recorder readout. "Rolling... track A eleven". Whenever there was confusion in the syncing process, having that audio track number on the corresponding video track proved extremely helpful.
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  8. #8  
    Senior Member FUEGO's Avatar
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    A simple, old school clapper is all you really need.

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...ch_Marker.html

    Just write the audio track number on the slate for each take. Done.
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  9. #9  
    Senior Member Asyndeton's Avatar
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    I do the same thing as DP. Syncing audio is always first on my list, but I still work much faster in Premiere than Resolve, I find it's really too easy to accidentally move clips around in Resolve's timeline, but maybe I just need to get more used to it. Everytime I've tried to use Resolve's or Premiere's auto sync feature something would be off and I'd spend more time trying to fix it. I've seen reviews that PluralEyes 4 is much improved but I'm not sure I want to spend the money on it and stick with manual syncing as I know it'll be right and I can organize how I want on the go. I'm also really good at repetitive tasks so I don't mind it.

    I also have a tascam dr-60 and happy with what it can do, I wish that it offered better control over naming files but it gets the job done.

    Proper slating is VERY important too, no matter the project! Roll audio, call your slate information, roll camera, call out marker and clap the slate. I recently AE'd a project from a big ad agency that had no slate, no scratch track, no naming structure in the audio files AND only a handful of takes had a person clap to the camera. It absolutely baffled me and I had spend 7 hours straight after the shoot (receiving the hard drive at midnight) syncing audio to get dailies to them the next morning. It would've taken me less than 30 minutes if they did it properly! But at least I got a good rate for it.
    Last edited by Asyndeton; 10-25-2016 at 12:54 PM.
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  10. #10  
    I should have pointed out that we always or almost always slate each take with a different number calling out that number. Generally if the people are in a fixed sort of spot and it's a small team, we just roll the audio for each setup. That could have anywhere from 3-4 and up to a dozen takes. The audio files end up kind of long but the file size is so small it doesn't really matter. Once we get them back into the timeline we duplicate then trim it to what we want to work with. It would be much better to do that in Resolve, followed by primary color, then off to Premiere for edit. Personally I found XLR Roundtripping to be an effort in futility. We just output Deliverable ProRes. Then as we move into secondary color we create a new file and re-link. Actually we rename the old file save the new one with the original name and it re-links itself.
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