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tonymuricy

Post Sincronization Problems

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Hi Guys!

I know that maybe this is a silly question after so many years of time code shoots around the world, but I've just had two doc shoots where I run my 788T in free run and I had my external TC generator attached to a video HD camera, which had it's own TC generator in free run, sending TC either to the camera's TC input or to one audio track of the camera.

But the guys in post of these two docs are having really big problems sincing the sound and image now.

My question is: are AVID and Final Cut able to sinc sound and image of a group of takes by TC, like all takes of a day folder, or this still has to be made take by take, one by one?

Which is the exact procedure to "batch sinc" sound and image in these NLE?

Thanks a lot

Tony Muricy

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" external TC generator attached to a video HD camera, which had it's own TC generator in free run, sending TC either to the camera's TC input or to one audio track of the camera.  "

???

and what exactly is the problem?? does the picture drift from sound?? constantly drifting (worse each take) or take by take (each take starts in sync and drifts out) ???

" after so many years of time code shoots around the world, "

As Johnny One Note says: it is still a good idea to always do a workflow test

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Hi Guys!

I know that maybe this is a silly question after so many years of time code shoots around the world, but I've just had two doc shoots where I run my 788T in free run and I had my external TC generator attached to a video HD camera, which had it's own TC generator in free run, sending TC either to the camera's TC input or to one audio track of the camera.

But the guys in post of these two docs are having really big problems sincing the sound and image now.

My question is: are AVID and Final Cut able to sinc sound and image of a group of takes by TC, like all takes of a day folder, or this still has to be made take by take, one by one?

Which is the exact procedure to "batch sinc" sound and image in these NLE?

Thanks a lot

Tony Muricy

The only way to configure a "group sync" that I know of would be to have the edit system drop all the audio files on their original time stamps, which hopefully is the same as those of the correct picture clips.

Since there is often a small discrepancy between the audio and TC code which has to be manually adjusted to a sync mark, some editors just go ahead and do the sync a clip at a time.  There is also "PluralEyes" for FCP which, after analyzing the audio and scratch tracks, aligned the two correctly a decent percentage of the time.  But they still have to check every clip to make sure the sync worked....

Philip Perkins

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Philip:

I don't know exactly what is happening because I live in Rio de Janeiro and post is beeing done in Australia.

Usually I would run my recorder non stop for 30 minutes or more, and the DP would cut camera a lot during this time.

I got an email today from the director saying: "We have just spent 3 long days in an edit suite working on this in an intense effort to finally sync the footage- We used a combination of nearly a 1000 dollars of software - 2 of the 3 programs we bought for the job worked- Sync and Link did the A reels (where the camera had it's image tc generated by an external tc generator) but would not work with the Audio TC on channel 2 on the B reels, so we purchased Plural Eyes- this was very buggy and crashed repeatedly- we eventually found a program put out by video tool box in the netherlands- this was able to read the TC on track two and shift it to the main TC track for reading and converting the B roll footage in Sync and Link- The problem with the program was that it would change all TC even the stuff shot in slow mo (it would start this TC at 000000 every time- So we ended up manually selecting the clips.

Quite an effort for something they should have programmed in FCP to do in a click or two!"

As I'm not a post specialist, I'd like to know more about syncronizing this stuff, even because I've been asked other times on how this work. I looked at FCP, but I couldn't find a way to do it.

Thanks

Tony

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I also had no time to make a workflow test before the shoot as there was another soundman going to do the job, and he couldn't come in the last time, then I joined in.

Thanks

Tony

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" change all TC even the stuff shot in slow mo  "

TC for Slo=mo?? getting into murky waters!!

" Quite an effort for something "they" should have programmed in FCP to do in a click or two!" "

no argument there, but that needs to be taken up with "them", as you and I have nothing to do with that, we are all the same: victims. That is why I refer to it as FCsP...

" no time to make a workflow test before the shoot "

crap happens... but if the production, (or, say, the originally hired PSM) had done some tests, they could have resolved the issues before the shoot, instead of after...

these days there are way to many variables, especially with so many camcorder flavors to choose from, and editing options to select from, and plug-ins, and...

I frequently have students who get all excited about using TC and smart slates, but then find their workflow does not support them well, if at all...

Happy Holidays!

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Sync and Link did the A reels (where the camera had it's image tc generated by an external tc generator) but would not work with the Audio TC on channel 2 on the B reels...

What your editor needs is VideoToolshed's "FCP Aux TC Reader" plug-in -- info <b>at this link</b>.

This will automatically check for timecode on one of the audio channels, then batch import the sound files with a bunch of clips. I've never personally used it, but the guys over on the LA Final Cut Pro User Group swear by it. I think it's about $200 or so, which isn't much, given the time it could save in manual syncing.

My recommendation for future shows would be to have the A&B cameras each driven by slaved external TC generators like a Denecke SB-T or a Ambient Lockit box. Jam your slate and audio TC from one of these boxes, and now everybody has identical matching code -- as long as the batteries last, and pending on the stability of the crystals. You should be good for at least 5-6 hours between jams.

--Marc W.

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Avid can sync common timecode recorded on a camera audio track & an audio recorder.

There's a function in the Avid "Special" Menu: "Read Audio Timecode". If the camera material has been digitised, the Avid batch samples the timecode of each take in about 3 - 4 x real time to calculate the beginning and end of timecode. For a days rushes, this might take an hour or so but the Avid does this unattended. I understand that that this process can be done as camera tapes are digitised into the Avid which speeds things up but if the vision is on non linear media, the timecode on the audio track has to be batch processed.

When that's done, the TC from the audio track will be in the "aux-TC" field of the vision file bin. The trick here is to understand that the AVID can only autosync identical fields of different bins. Import the BWAV audio from the 788T into a bin and duplicate with [Apple] [D]) the ‘SndTC’ column into the ‘AuxTC’ column. You can then perform a Group Sync of all the camera and audio files. A days rushes can then be synced in less than 5".

Seriously - I have had to show editors how to do this.

David M

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Philip:

I don't know exactly what is happening because I live in Rio de Janeiro and post is beeing done in Australia.

Usually I would run my recorder non stop for 30 minutes or more, and the DP would cut camera a lot during this time.

I got an email today from the director saying: "We have just spent 3 long days in an edit suite working on this in an intense effort to finally sync the footage- We used a combination of nearly a 1000 dollars of software - 2 of the 3 programs we bought for the job worked- Sync and Link did the A reels (where the camera had it's image tc generated by an external tc generator) but would not work with the Audio TC on channel 2 on the B reels, so we purchased Plural Eyes- this was very buggy and crashed repeatedly- we eventually found a program put out by video tool box in the netherlands- this was able to read the TC on track two and shift it to the main TC track for reading and converting the B roll footage in Sync and Link- The problem with the program was that it would change all TC even the stuff shot in slow mo (it would start this TC at 000000 every time- So we ended up manually selecting the clips.

Quite an effort for something they should have programmed in FCP to do in a click or two!"

As I'm not a post specialist, I'd like to know more about syncronizing this stuff, even because I've been asked other times on how this work. I looked at FCP, but I couldn't find a way to do it.

Thanks

Tony

Part of the issue here is that these folks weren't adequately informed about how their production methods would impact post.  Anything other than traditional slates with common TC on the slate, camera and sound  involves an extra workaround of some sort--we put up them because we want the freedom to shoot in certain ways.  I have found that with an FCP edit having some kind of a sync mark AND identical audio on the camera files and the audio files is the only way to avoid difficult syncs--Sync 'n Link and PluralEyes processes all have to be carefully checked to make sure you got everything and that the new clips really are in sync and they work much better when they can compare identical audio tracks.  The Avid way of using audio TC is very helpful, but almost all of my clients use FCP so that doesn't do me any good. 

Philip Perkins

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I have found that with an FCP edit having some kind of a sync mark AND identical audio on the camera files and the audio files is the only way to avoid difficult syncs--Sync 'n Link and PluralEyes processes all have to be carefully checked to make sure you got everything and that the new clips really are in sync...

I just did a shoot not too long ago with a Panasonic P2 camera (none of which can do external TC, as far as I know).

I suggested to the editor that I give them sound TC on channel 2, so they could sync 'n link it later... but then found out they were using some ancient version of FCP from about 6 years ago. Very doubtful that will work. Apparently, they're just going to sync it by hand and go with that.

BTW, thanks to DavidM for the news on the built-in Avid sync mode -- that's something I didn't know about, and it also tells me Avid is pushing ahead trying to offer more features than FCP, which is terrific. Avid has been trying very hard to compete over the last year, and I think that can only help users, pushing Apple to keep up.

--Marc W.

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I just did a shoot not too long ago with a Panasonic P2 camera (none of which can do external TC, as far as I know)...

Most of the P2 cameras can do external time code.  Out of something like nine different P2 models, only a couple of the lower end ones don't have time code in.

John B.

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I know the Panasonic HPX-170 and HPX-200 won't do external timecode; only the big guys, the Varicams ($30,000+) have this feature. I'm not sure why Panasonic omits this feature on their under-$10,000 camcorders, but Sony also omits it on the EX1. My guess is that it's a deliberate marketing move to differentiate their low-end camcorders from the high-end.

--Marc W.

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I know the Panasonic HPX-170 and HPX-200 won't do external timecode; only the big guys, the Varicams ($30,000+) have this feature. I'm not sure why Panasonic omits this feature on their under-$10,000 camcorders, but Sony also omits it on the EX1. My guess is that it's a deliberate marketing move to differentiate their low-end camcorders from the high-end.

In reference to sound gear, people here often recite, "You get what you pay for."  It applies to cameras, too.

Nevertheless, the HPX300 with a street price of under $8500 has TC in and out.  Along with that it includes two SDI outputs, down-converted SD, IEEE 1394, USB 2.0 (host mode), and genlock.  So, no, it's not just their top of the line Varicams -- seven out of their nine P2 camcorders have TC I/O.

John B.

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Makes you wonder why they go out of their way to eliminate external TC on the $7000 models...

--Marc W.

Perhaps it's "if you want tc you must be a professional so you should pay more"

Eric

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any news on FCP 7 audio track TC possibility's?

(for when i use canon D5 or other cam with no tc in)

i read in the sync n link manual on page 5 this :

detailpage5-Sync-NLink.png

i had some contact with the maker and he told me this :

"FCP 7 supports Sound TC from the Cinema Tools database, if one is being used.  We had a customer in Germany trying to work with audio that had Sound TC displayed in FCP but only on the machine that was used to generate the Cinema Tools database. Change location on the machine or change machines and the data was lost. We put in a feature request in Feb 09 to have that information exported into the FCP XML file so we could process it in Sync-N-Link as another source of possible audio Timecode.

"

i would like to know if fcp7 would allow me to merge a audio and video clip, when the video clip has an adio channel with tc on in recorded from my green lockit.

cheers

martijn

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Guest BobD

It is, and has always been amusing to me, that the harder the producers try to make filming "easier" or for some reason unknown to most of us "better for them", the more they shoot themselves in the foot.

  Using actual time code slates when doing Video, Which I always suggest, Denecke or Ambiant TC lock boxes, and covering your ass is all you can do....  The slates give some editor info on scene and take if nothing else...

  Leave these items off your work flow list at your own peril...  When they choose to use the little cheaper cameras, with no ext. input of time code, they are choosing a route which MAY lead to some difficulties down the road. As has been mentioned, some time and tests to suss things out ahead of time given these kind of unorthodox shoots is mandatory. It will help make other workable options actually workable...  You just need the time to set it up before commencing the shoot.

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It is amazing to me how useful the humble old-school non-electronic clap slate still is in the digital world.  In my post work we are definitely in the "post-TC era"--files are exchanged with simple 2-pop start marks for sync: the post equivalent of a "dumb" clap slate.

Philip Perkins

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Is there any reason why Plural Eyes would not work with 5D footage?

I was the recordist for a gig last weekend where I was teamed up with a crew of Photographers and producers who knew nothing about shooting video or the importances of a post workflow plan. We were shooting with two 5D and I was sending each camera a scratch track via Senn G2 and I planned on slating everything myself. I got a slate in on the first take after the director/operator sneered at me. After that the director/operator would just start rolling without telling me and ignore my verbal require to swing the cameras over to me for a slate. I voiced my concern with the producers but as we all know it didn't go far.

I received a call from the editor who says the DSLR footage and my files are not syncing with Plural Eyes in her FCP. When she hits sync in Plural Eyes the DSLRs video and sound line up at the tail of my .wav file. She said can see where the scratch track and my .wav files should match up in the timeline. She tried a few clips from another project with a different camera and different recordist, and Plural Eyes synced everything. I am not an editor and I've never heard of this problem before. Has anyone ever experienced this problem and was there a solution?

Keenan

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Wash your hands of it.

The slate not only provides a sync point and a way to ID the video clip, but it also creates a waveform spike which can help PluralEyes. You tried, and told them it would create problem.

There are reasons things are done a certain way, and now they'll know for next time. PluralEyes is a tool and a workaround to traditional methods, but it's not foolproof.

In narrative work, similar waveforms (similar performances) can confuse PluralEyes. Announcing scene and take number will also help.

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so all your audio synced for the A cam with the lockit but not for the B cam with the audio track timecode?

If you didn't send audio to B cam and just sent TC, Pluraleyez wont work.

Usually If production has a workflow that doesn't include slating, I try to get a TC reader put somewhere close by so the camera can just grab a few frames here and there. Then at least if the TC on camera doesn't work they still have a place to look for sync.

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She said can see where the scratch track and my .wav files should match up in the timeline. She tried a few clips from another project with a different camera and different recordist, and Plural Eyes synced everything. I am not an editor and I've never heard of this problem before. Has anyone ever experienced this problem and was there a solution?

I suspect the cameras were starting and stopping too frequently, and Plural Eyes is getting confused. There are limits to how far it can go, especially if you have ten 2-minute camera takes and one 20-minute sound take. To me, multi-camera shoots have to be very aware of starting and stopping at the same time, and keeping it rolling rather than doing lots of short takes. (The only possible exception would be battle conditions or other high-risk scenarios.)

At least they have the scratch track so they have something they can use for reference. My advice would be to make some kind of loose transcript of the entire soundtrack, notated by minutes, so they can find key phrases during the footage. That way, they'll be able to narrow down which part of the track they're going to need.

Not long ago, I read a piece about the editing of the 1970 Woodstock documentary, which said that it took editors Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoomacher more than three months just to sync up all the footage. And that was just 3 days of material. Syncing is hard, especially when there's no slates, bad communication, and a lack of organization.

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Their "expert" DP on this job might have also ignored your feed and used the camera mic instead. Even if the camera had a good mic, acoustic delay and noises would hobble Plural Eyes.

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