Top 5 Shooting Tips When You Plan to Sync Audio and Video in Post

We know when you’re planning to sync audio and video on a DSLR and a separate audio device, it can be tricky to put those files together in post production.

QUICK PRO TIP:

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE NOT AND ARE NEVER SHOOTING AT A VARIABLE FRAME RATE!
This will save you HOURS of frustration while editing.

If your footage is currently not synchronizing, you may have accidentally already made this mistake. No worries, here’s a quick video we created that explains how to fix it:


(video source: Woowave DreamSync’s Official YouTube Channel)
Handbrake Free Download: http://handbrake.fr/

 

 

Moving on to Syncing Audio and Video in Post…

Follow the 5 tips below when shooting separate audio from video and you’ll be guaranteed to have great success with syncing the two forms of content for editing:

1) Press record on audio and video device at the same time

Before yelling action, get your production devices close to each other and press record on both of them around the same exact time.

This helps audio video sync software like DreamSync to better understand where each clip needs to meet in order to find a sync point.


 

2) Clap your hands or make a loud noise while recording

Before yelling ACTION!, most independent video creators use their hands to clap in front of the camera and in close proximity to the audio device so the loud noise will be captured by BOTH devices at the same exact time.

 




 

BONUS TIP: Try doing the “clap method” at the start of the recording so your sync software won’t have to search through minutes or hours of footage for a sync point.


 

3) Let audio stay rolling and only pause the camera

A general practice that we like to use is to keep the ZOOM H4n rolling while on set and hit record and stop on the camera when needed.

Why?

HD video can become VERY LARGE files super quick.

The space it takes to house those files can make for a very expensive production.Audio, on the other hand, is SIGNIFICANTLY smaller than video.

So, to save digital space, keep the audio rolling, and only hit “record” on the camera when it’s time to start shooting the subject.


4) Use a clip guide spreadsheet to record segments & sync audio and video later

Whenever possible, ALWAYS have someone keeping track of when the “record” and “stop” buttons are pressed on your camera and audio devices.

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Doing so will allow you to chart out exactly which audio clips go with the video files in post production.

Here we’ve illustrated an example of how we keep track of our interviewees using “color coded” blocks and rows to keep track of each camera (2 in this case) and our audio device.

If you want to get a copy of this spreadsheet to use on your productions, you can download it by clicking right here.


5) Start each video clip by reciting info about the shot

Whenever you hit “record” on your camera, get in the good practice of stating exactly what you are about to shoot.

Then, clap your hands loudly to make sure both devices (camera and audio recorder) capture the spike in noise.

Example: Shooting an interview on the first take, you would say:
“This is Fred’s interview. Take 1. “CLAP LOUDLY”And then begin the interview.


Doing this will give you an audio (and video if you stand in front of the camera) reference for what video clip belongs to what audio file.

That REALLY comes in handy if you ever happen to lose your “clip guide spreadsheet”.

Following these 5 simple steps will help programs like PluralEyes or Woowave DreamSync to nail the sync job every time.

 

PS: If you’re new to video editing and looking to get more cliental to make more money, check out our article on 3 of the best freelance resources for landing clients.

You can thank us by leaving a comment below.

 

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