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Christian Spaeth

TC sync too much work?

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Here's a bit of a dumb question regarding post sync. The editor for an upcoming shoot refuses to sync audio in post by TC, saying it's "too much work", instead he asks for audio to be cabled or sent by wireless direct to cam. I've never sat in post when they synced but always thought it's like one click to sync audio and video files by TC. Have I been wrong on this? Do they have to sync audio and video for each take or can it be done for batches of files? 

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I had a similar request from an editor once. This was a newscutter, who just didn't really know about double-system audio. In my case, it was after the shoot when he phoned me up and complained about the extra work. We were shooting tons of footage on a semi-real doco with two cameras, both synced by TC. I explained to him that I had actually saved him time, because he had camera 1, camera 2 and audio all in perfect sync. I sent him a Youtube video which explained how to do it. It really is just a few clicks and it is a batch process.


The show didn't get picked up, by the way, and I never heard from him again.

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29 minutes ago, Constantin said:

I had a similar request from an editor once. This was a newscutter, who just didn't really know about double-system audio. In my case, it was after the shoot when he phoned me up and complained about the extra work. We were shooting tons of footage on a semi-real doco with two cameras, both synced by TC. I explained to him that I had actually saved him time, because he had camera 1, camera 2 and audio all in perfect sync. I sent him a Youtube video which explained how to do it. It really is just a few clicks and it is a batch process.


The show didn't get picked up, by the way, and I never heard from him again.

Do you happen to have that video link still and could share it? I am amazed how somebody works on Avid and obviously doesn't know how to do this...

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1 hour ago, Constantin said:

Yes, I was gonna say, finding the video is almost as easy ;)

Hah! :-)

 

2 hours ago, Christian Spaeth said:

Do you happen to have that video link still and could share it? I am amazed how somebody works on Avid and obviously doesn't know how to do this...

Huh. I was expecting you to say he was a new editor working on Premiere or FCP. 

Good luck with this Christian.

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1 hour ago, Jim Feeley said:

...

Good luck with this Christian.

Jim,

What makes you think the editor was a Christian, and why do you have an issue with that?

<g>  ...or was my friend, the published writer, fresh out of commas? 

 

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4 hours ago, John Blankenship said:

Jim,

What makes you think the editor was a Christian, and why do you have an issue with that?

<g>  ...or was my friend, the published writer, fresh out of commas? 

 

Good syntax catch John!

 

I meant, John!

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3 hours ago, Christian Spaeth said:

Good syntax catch John!

I meant, John!

Hey Babe, I can't go giving away punctuation. If you want commas, you gotta pay for them.

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I have an older doco client who still thinks it's weird that I'm not sending audio to DSLRs, even when we are doing 4-DSLR shoots.
I don't bother with the audio quality argument anymore, and focus more on the failure-prone non-locking connectors, lack of monitoring and the paucity of tracks.  Editors who don't want to sync will find their employment opportunities very limited.

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The other thing these editors have to get is: this is their job. They also have to consider that there are plenty of projects -- particularly on reality and documentary shows -- where there are going to be more iso tracks than there are available channels on cameras. If you have (say) six tracks and two cameras with 2 tracks each, how are they going to do deal with getting those extra audio channels when they're needed? God help you on a show the size of Survivor where there's upwards of 24 tracks per day. Heck, there's all kinds of scripted shows that have 10+ tracks every day.

If the camera timecode and sound timecode and slate timecode are identical -- which they should be -- this is a piece of cake that takes less than a second to do. Heck, even if camera timecode does not match, it's possible to locate the correct file and sync it up in under a minute. If you had (god forbid) 200 shots in a day, that's 200 minutes or maybe 3.5 hours to sync it all up purely by eye. To me, that's what assistant editors are for: have them come in at 5AM, backup the production drives, copy everything over, start syncing, organize the bins, then at 8:30AM, put on the coffee and wait for the editor to walk in the door. If they don't have an assistant editor, my first inclination is to say "F the producers," but the second would be "bite the bullet, shrug, sit down, and get it done yourself." 

They also desperately need to understand that the sound quality of double-system audio is going to be better and more reliable than anything going on in the camera. Plus they have to consider the need for wild tracks, room tone, and alt tracks. 

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I told the editor (I think he usually does doc work, which here usually is paid badly, which again may be why he has little experience with TC?) that we don't want to run cables to the camera and would prefer not putting a receiver on the cam, as they use a gimbal and of course are interested in keeping the weight low. His response: "They'll just have to live with that." Alright, I thought, then I sent the producer (who was aware of the ongoing discussion) the link to the Avid sync video tutorial (I don't have the editor's email), saying that if you're very slow auto sync will take a minute for all the files of the day. I'm now planning to use an ERX on the shoot (instead of the cam op's Sony UWP system!), sending boom and TC, then it's up to him how he chooses to handle it all. Still shaking my head (even though I should probably just shrug).

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That editor probably made a bad deal for him/herself, and is having a little buyer's remorse about it now that the full scope of the work has been revealed.  Here's a small truth: you (as location soundie) are farther "upstream" than the editor, so ultimately they have to deal with what you do and how you do it in any case.  The editor needs to stay out of your rice bowl on how you solve your production sound issues, and sound>camera cablage is a biggie.  In truth, since this is a doco, the editor is lucky to have any voice in prod. methodology at all: in my work as a doco re-recording mixer I find that those decisions have usually been taken long before I'm on the project.

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1 hour ago, Philip Perkins said:

That editor probably made a bad deal for him/herself

I think that's very likely, I assume they negotiated a low rate with him (as they unsuccessfully tried with me) and he probably told them that for that price he won't do any syncing.

1 hour ago, John Blankenship said:

You might want to mix a tad of time code in with the ERX production track as this guy sounds like someone who would use the camera audio if he could possibly get away with it.  

I'm pretty sure that's exactly what he'll do, and I'm fine with that, since the ERX audio quality should be way better than his usual Sony wireless feed. Beyond that it's really up to him, I provide all audio he may need, if he doesn't use it, his decision...

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