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Old October 27th, 2009, 06:31 PM   #1
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two camera live music shoot

I've done a few shoots with a 5DMII and separate audio recorder (Microtrack II) and have the sync issues figured out pretty much. I'd like to shoot some live music with two 5DMII's and separate audio. In the past for sync I've used a slate/clapboard, hand claps, or shooting the timecode from a camcorder for reference. With two cameras it will make things a bit more complicated, so I'm looking for advice on streamlining things.

It would be great if both cameras (as well as audio) could shoot continually for the duration of the performances, but obviously that's not possible with the 5D, unless I record video out. It looks like this is possible with the ML firmware, but that's not really ready for primetime, right? Same with timecode using ML--possible but buggy?

I won't be able to use handclaps or slate during the performance, so I'm thinking of just winging it, or another idea is to shoot the audio recorder's timecode (from its LCD screen) at the beginning of each shot. If anyone has any suggestions I'd appreciate hearing them.

ETA: I just noticed there's a 20% discount available for the PluralEyes FCP plugin which automatically syncs audio with video (as long as the video has reference audio)...maybe this is all I need...I tried the demo a little while back and it seemed to work well, but I didn't spend that much time with it.

Last edited by Jim Newberry; October 27th, 2009 at 07:27 PM.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 09:29 PM   #2
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Highly recommend pluraleyes, no need to slate or clap shots to sync stuff - as long as the camera mics (or camera and sound recorder) both pick up the sound. The only time I've had it fail to sync was where my sound guy was a good ways away from the camera so the camera mic didn't pick up enough sound to match the two. For something like a concert I'd think that wouldn't be a concern.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 11:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Newberry View Post
In the past for sync I've used a slate/clapboard, hand claps, or shooting the timecode from a camcorder for reference.
Another simple/crude trick is popping balloons.

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Old October 31st, 2009, 07:42 AM   #4
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I have always used the drummer (percussion) to sync multi-angle cameras (assuming percussion is always in frame). Drum hits are easier to sync than most other types of performances, I have found.
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Old October 31st, 2009, 09:46 AM   #5
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another vote for PluralEyes, a great bit of software. Also, make sure you start the cameras at different times, the 5D will stop and need to be started up again during long recordings, you don't want both off at the same time.
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Old October 31st, 2009, 10:17 AM   #6
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I'd second the drummer as the sync source - downbeats on the snare are a very effective clapper board!
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Old October 31st, 2009, 04:03 PM   #7
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I wonder if the drum beat would hit the cameras at slightly different times, depending on the distance from the sound and the distance from each other?
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Old October 31st, 2009, 05:14 PM   #8
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when i had to sync a two camera wedding shoot, I found the flashes from the photographer very helpful..
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Old October 31st, 2009, 05:28 PM   #9
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The drum beats certainly would arrive at different times, but the in camera audio on a conventional camera is always out of sync at a distance anyway, so the old foot = 1 millisecond guide is useful to remember. With the sync process, you just make the drums and the video match and that's really it. If you were in the audience, the sound would be late, but we fix that for the video.
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Old November 1st, 2009, 08:21 PM   #10
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Thanks for the suggestions. So far Plural Eyes seems to be the best bet. Since this is a public live performance, I can't pop a balloon or fire a flash or use a clapboard slate. I was wondering about something a bit more sophisticated, like using time code, since I'll have two cameras stopping and starting as well as separate audio. I think it would be difficult to use drum hits for sync since I may have to stop and start in the middle of a song, plus I may not always be able to get a CU on the drums.
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 10:49 AM   #11
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I do this kind of thing manually all the time. I agree, drums are great, but any spike in the waveform can help get close, then use your ears and eyes to nail it!

BUT remember, depending on your double-system audio source's location and your camera location, Plural Eyes may or may not get you all the way there. If your microcrapper is taking a SBD feed then it's getting it's audio at the split second it is occurring on stage, but if your cameras are say way at the back of the room, then they are getting the same sound many millisecs later. So, even if you sync the two audio sources, the video may not be perfectly synced. Personally, I usually try to sync the audio first, drums are a good tip but any old spike in the waveforms will work to get close (and Plural Eyes would do this too), and then you've got to fiddle with the video (slip it a frame or two) to get perfect visual sync.
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