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Old January 14th, 2011, 11:31 AM   #1
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Best in-the-field documentary shoot practices for easier/efficient Plural Eyes syncin

Doing a very traditional (odd to say it) HDSLR-audio workflow. So double system - Rode mic on the camera (typically Canon 5D or 7D) to record better than internal mic reference and then "master" recording on Zoom H4n (typically a lav and shotgun/boom inputs, 48 kHZ 24 bit WAV files.) Then mass sync.ing with Plural Eyes in FCP. But unfortunately I'm getting VERY mixed results. Probably only successfully sync.ing up about a 1/3 of the clips for any given shoot after the first PE pass (lining up all audio & video clips chronologically, and checking of the sequential/chronological and try really hard functions.)

Here's the important thing to know about my production. Were straight up doc shooting, ie shooting A LOT of footage thru out course of the day. Averaging 200-300 individual video files, 20-30 individual Zoom WAV files per shoot day, without any kind of scripting.

So I understand there's some inherent complications in this, that I'm going to have to do a certain amount of more targeted PE sync.ing, as well as straight up old school manual syncing in FCP.

But anyone have any suggestions on what I can do in the field to make sync.ing life a little easier in the edit room? Right now Im slating in the field as much as possible, and that's difficult given the unscripted nature of what we're doing as well as very carefully saving the WAV files in separate individual Zoom folders per the CF cards. So all CF card 1 associated audio is in Zoom Folder 1, CF2 audio in Folder 2, etc. (I know they generate duplicate names, so I rename later.)

Should I do more than slate - maybe an audible countdown? Should I record more individual Zoom WAV files? Is there some way I can "game" Plural Eyes, ie produce in the field that audio characteristic that best helps PE to sync?

Any suggestions would be really helpful. Or even just pointing me to pre-existing online resources that deal with this. The footage is really staring to pile up.

Thanks, Nick.
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Old January 14th, 2011, 01:02 PM   #2
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I had a similar problem with the setting 'clips in chronological order' in Pluraleyes shooting short video clips but recording longer audio clips (audio covering several video clips in each case), but when I took that setting off, it worked properly.

So maybe one audio clip per video clip might help, or don't tell Pluraleyes it's chronological.
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Old January 14th, 2011, 04:08 PM   #3
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I've had better results in general syncing smaller batches of clips, rather than doing hundreds of shots all at once. I'll also second Wayne's comment, when I've had troublesome clips the chronological order option seems to make it worse, although it also takes a little longer to sync without it. The 'try really hard' option makes a big difference as well - but at the expense of much longer processing times.

Also - on the zoom you can switch from the default file naming convention to date/time, which helps to eliminate the problem with duplicate file names.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 08:42 AM   #4
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Thanks Evan. Starting to think a 2 step PE process might be in order - maybe a more mass batch syncing, just to get a general sense of which vid clips are associated with which files, and then a more targeted smaller batch sync.ing. All w/o "chrono order" but with "try real hard" - and for those really resistant files, old school manual sync.ing. Nick.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 11:27 AM   #5
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I had the same issues... I recorded audio with the 5D mk II's internal mic, and with a Fostex FR2LE, and had a terrible time syncing clips. I tried using an external mic (a Sennheiser wireless mic) on the camera, and the Fostex, and still had a terrible time! It would sync one out of every 4 or 5 times. I asked for help on the PluralEyes forum, but got no responses. I think my trial period has expired, so I'd be interested in hearing if switching off the chronological order option helps, though in my case, I don't think it will, since I was frequently trying to sync single clips, not batches.
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Old January 19th, 2011, 12:32 AM   #6
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Editing

. . . and then there is the joy of trying to get a smooth, fast and easy workflow so you can multicam edit this.

Does anyone have good workflow they use in Avid Media Composer 5 that enables themt to use the Multicam function?

Also re: above - does the new Level Audio button help with this problem? That would be my hunch.
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 10:35 PM   #7
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In the situation you describe, you may want to experiment with just rolling audio nonstop. Later you sync lots of individual video clips with one long audio clip, etc. Not for everyone, but a few channels of multi-hour 24/48 or 16/48 wavs aren't really that big, and you might find it easier to get good consistent sync with chrono and try hard selected.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 06:13 PM   #8
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I do like to roll audio across multiple clips when possible, but be careful about running it for hours at a time if you are using phantom power on the mics and running on batteries. I lost the audio on a 30 minute interview when the batteries died - I normally just used a lav which could run for hours, but this time plugged in a small shotgun as backup and it drained the batteries very quickly. The H4n doesn't seem to write the data out to the card until you hit stop, so when the power goes so does whatever you were recording with no way to recover it.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 06:24 PM   #9
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On the DR-100 you get a Low-Battery Warning message on the screen. Fortunately, I believe that it writes out the file at that time. Just don't be fooled. "Low Battery" doesn't mean "finish recording soon." It means "I stopped recording a little while ago..."
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Old January 29th, 2011, 05:39 PM   #10
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Yeah, I think the difference is the DR-100 has a small built-in rechargeable battery in addition to the AAs. So when they run out it falls back to the internal battery which probably has circuitry to tell the recorder when it's nearly out so that the current recording can be saved.
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Old January 29th, 2011, 08:10 PM   #11
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FWIW, I can run 4 channels with phantom on 4 all four for easily 6 hours nonstop on my R44 on a fully charged external DVD battery wired into the DC input.
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