Synching your sound

If you’ve ever edited videos, you know that it is important (and sometimes difficult) to ensure that your audio and video files match up. Otherwise you’ll end up with a clip not too dissimilar to the theater screening scene from Singing In The Rain. No! No! NO!!

Getting your audio in synch can be a pain when using clips from different cameras together. This is especially true if your editing program doesn’t have a multi-camera editing option (Adobe Premier does but I wanted to do a few sections as though it didn’t to demonstrate a point). This is one of the reasons productions use a slate. But perhaps you don’t have a slate or you’re recording a live event and it just isn’t feasible. Whatever the reason, here are some tips for getting it all together!

Layer Close Ups over Wide Shots

Place the close up over the farther shot because it’s easier to see small movements like lips speaking. Then mute the audio track while you adjust the video placement to match the sound from the other track . Afterwards, turn the sound back on for the close up and if it doesn’t sound like an echo with the sound on the wide shot then your in perfect synch!

Find an easy mark 

To find a good starting spot to align things, look for places in the audio tracks where it spikes (gets big all the sudden). It may be from clapping, a cough or laughter, etc. Such places are generally the easiest to spot and line up.

If you can’t find such a place, listen for words that start or end with the letters “B” “P” or “W” since those are the easiest to see on the video image. Once you find such a word slide the video track to the left (if you hear it before they say it) or right (if their lips form the word before you hear it) until it matches. It may only be 3 or 4 frames off so you may have to zoom in close on the tracks to fine tune it once it’s close. 

Line it all up before cutting

If you’ll notice here, I lined up the tracks in synch — one over the other —  and then started cutting away the pieces on the top/close up that I didn’t want. Doing it this way means you won’t have to re-synch each and every clip placed into the timeline.

P.S.

This all assumes that you are wanting to use the same audio track throughout the entire video and you aren’t mixing tracks there..

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