How To Sync Your Video And Audio The EASY Way

As a photographer getting into DSLR video, I love it when a reader of ours emails us with a question we can answer or better yet a question we have not thought of before. Well FS reader Christian emailed us about how we sync our DSLR audio with audio we may have recorded in a separate unit (zoom, iphone, computer, etc). Until recently we used to just do it manually by lining up our wavefiles from both sources in Adobe Premiere. But there is a much much easier way now thanks to Plural Eyes by Singular Software. Plural Eyes simply analyzes each waveform and automatically aligns each and every camera angle and audio clip right there in your timeline. It's brilliant software and extremely inexpensive for what it does. Check out this little demo from the 2010 WEVA Expo and click the full post to see a well made tutorial on how to sync your files step by step.

WEVA News: Singular Software PluralEyes demo from WEVA on Vimeo.

Multicam edits in Premiere Pro CS5 using PluralEyes from Paul Joy on Vimeo.

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I might sound like a geek, but I think its funny how he is running windows and premiere on his Macbook.
Awesome software though.

Don't worry, Dave, that was the first thing I noticed too. This looks like a really neat trick, though I'm happing saving my 150 bucks and using cues instead.

Patrick Hall's picture

Premiere and PC +1, Macbook, -1 :)

How can I make this working with version 1.1.8 or 1.2.12? Looks like i need to have that sequence really opened in FCP, is there a way how to manually choose the file?

I think Pluraleyes is a waste of time & money. If you do it "old school" and are conscientious with proper slating techniques, you won't have a problem syncing up your audio & picture.

Patrick Hall's picture

I dunno Dave, we have tried to keep our clips very organized and something always goes wrong to throw you off. If I have 1 interview with 3 cameras and each have say 10 takes (our Nikons only take 5 mins clips) things get tricky when trying to sync that many cameras. I don't see how PE could be a waste of time and at $150 it's hardly an investment in money if you do this often.

And what if you are shooting live events where proper technique isn't an option? When you start having multiple camera operators, someone is bound to make your life difficult.

I agree with both of you:
PluralEyes is pretty damn essential in certain workflows (especially those with multiple cameras).
However, I also agree with Dave in that it is a waste of money because it's so damn expensive! ($200)

There's another competitor coming out next month called DreamSync, which is supposed to rival PluralEyes. It doesn't have multicam functionality just yet, but it looks promising. and SO MUCH cheaper! Only $39 at the moment.

Patrick Hall's picture

what is 1.1.8? FCP or PE or what?

@ Patrick Hall Admin, I tend to agree with Dave Wowchuk. They have been making movies for a long time with just a slate for sync. Many multi-camera concert film were made without PluralEyes.

Both 16mm and 35mm have a running time of about 10 minuets. So nothing new here.

With real video cameras you can "jam sync" the SMPTE time code. For film cameras you can use a master clock to sync all the cameras.

Problems arise when people, without any film/video experience, try to use amateur VDSLRs to replace professional cameras. None of this is hard, but you do have to have a clue about SOPs in the real world. For these people PluralEyes is a good investment.

BTW my Flip Ultra HD can record about 1:30 before the battery dies :-D, and looks fine on a 27" screen :-D

It all comes down to procedures & process. Once it has been ingrained into you, you don't forget it. Embrey said it right ... professionals know how to do it properly without any problems.

Live events? I'd never shoot one multi-camera with HD-DSLRs. It would be traditional video cameras, jam-synced or using a master clock to the cameras (we've done this with four cameras, all wirelessly TC synced using Sennheiser Evolution wireless systems.)

Patrick Hall's picture

Oh I totally agree, if you are a professional then this isn't anything new or useful. But for those just getting into DSLR video it's a really useful tool.

Lee and I were on set for this video:

and I'll let you guess what camera it was shot on :) If you watch carefully you can see our very own Iphone Fashion Shoot girl in the video too :) I'm not sure how they synced everything but it was a pretty complicated shoot....all done with one camera!

Patrick: No idea, but I'll throw out a wild guess ... 7D, or an EX3.

Check out one of the videos I did with a 5DM2 and 2 x T2i (all camera's shooting simultaneously.) All video was synced up manually to a a guide track. All the shots were manually slated.Then the video was played on a 40' x 18' wall directly behind them as they played the exact song LIVE with a group of dancers in front of them.

@Patrick That was supposed to mean the Pluraleyes version number, it wants me to have opened Final cut pro and then i can choose the sequence from list

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DreamSync allows you to drag and drop your standalone audio clips and video clips into a ridiculously simple interface, and output a brand new synchronized video clip. Perfectly sync your footage before opening your post-production software, so you can focus on what really matters… editing.