Using audio in post to sync 2 FS100's and external audio....is there a better way? at DVinfo.net

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Sony NXCAM NEX-FS100 CineAlta
An interchangeable lens AVCHD camcorder using E-Mount lenses.


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Old July 15th, 2012, 03:19 PM   #1
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Using audio in post to sync 2 FS100's and external audio....is there a better way?

I am new to two camera setups, so I would appreciate some advice.

I am getting two FS100's for shooting club bands. One will be stationary and the other handheld. I will use a Pearl stereo mic and a Sound Devices 702 for better audio quality.

During the shoot, I would route the Pearl mic Outs to the 702, assign 702 Ins directly to 702 analog Outs, and route the Outs to the stationary FS100 XLR Ins. So, 702 and stationary camera will be in sync.

The handheld FS100 would use the stock mic.

In post, for each song I would:
- Import both videos into FCP X
- Align the audio tracks to put the videos in sync
- Edit into a final video
- Detach the resulting "low quality" audio and export to Pro Tools

In Pro Tools, I would:
- Import and edit the 702 audio so it matches the "low quality" audio (waveforms match, identical in length)
- Process 702 audio (EQ/compress/limit)
- Export the resulting "high quality" audio to FCP X

Then in FCP X, I simply replace the "bad quality" audio with the "high quality" audio from Pro Tools.

This approach makes no attempt to sync cameras during the shoot, and simply leaves this for post.

Am I on track here, or is there a better way?
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Old July 15th, 2012, 03:49 PM   #2
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Re: Using audio in post to sync 2 FS100's and external audio....is there a better way

While the Pearl stereo mic may be good and 702 is very good and this would make a nice ambient track, I suspect the audio would no where's near the normal quality most folks are used to hearing... at least in pop music. Multiple close mic'd tracks.. it's not uncommon the use eight or more mics just on drums Perhaps you can secure a feed from a house sound board.. if there is one.
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Old July 15th, 2012, 05:39 PM   #3
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Re: Using audio in post to sync 2 FS100's and external audio....is there a better way

Rick,
Yes, I've done lots of that. I owned a very nice 16-track portable rack unit with separate distributor/splitters, preamps and a JoeCo Blackbox recorder. I'd take direct mic feeds and split to the board/recorder.
But this is another thing altogether. This is pro bono work, a retirement hobby, a contribution to the local bands that they couldn't afford otherwise.

A feed off the board to one camera is a possibility, in some clubs where they will cooperate. But I am rarely near the board.......the last club I was in, the board was in the attic and the bartender had to climb a ladder to reach it. These are not the clubs to which you may be accustomed. :)

So for this, the Pearl will work fine.......and in fact I have gotten amazingly good audio with the Pearl. It takes some work in Pro Tools, but the Mid-Side mic gives me more flexibility to process/master.

Anyway, that is a separate matter.
Comments on the syncing issue?
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Old July 16th, 2012, 06:05 PM   #4
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Re: Using audio in post to sync 2 FS100's and external audio....is there a better way

You could use something like a Zoom H4n, and steal a line out from the house blend. Then just take that audio only track, cook it up in Pro Tools. Then bring it in to FCPX, make a multicam clip with the two FS100 files, and presto chango, you're good to go. That solution would be be easier, and better sounding than trying to use the sound from one of the cameras.

Even if you can't get in on the house board, still using an H4n, with or without a high quality mic going into it,would be easier than having to mess around with importing video footage, splitting off the audio track, exporting, bringing into PT, and so on...
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Old July 16th, 2012, 07:21 PM   #5
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Re: Using audio in post to sync 2 FS100's and external audio....is there a better way

You didn't carefully read my posts, Ben. :)

As far as the board is concerned, I explained why this is not an option in most of these clubs.
I am using a Sound Devices 702 to record the stereo mic.
The 702 tracks go directly into Pro Tools and are processed.

The work with the audio from the two cameras is all about syncing the processed 702 track to the audio from the cameras, so it can in turn be synced to the finished video.
If you have a better process for syncing, that is what I'm asking for.
If there are any steps that you think are not needed, let me know and I'll explain why I do the steps.
I'd love to eliminate some steps.
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Old July 16th, 2012, 10:56 PM   #6
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Re: Using audio in post to sync 2 FS100's and external audio....is there a better way

Ah yes, I see that now.

Well, to answer your question, it seems like there are unnecessary steps in your originally outlined process. From my experience with FCPX, the multicam syncing is extremely powerful and accurate. I think you can eliminate the whole first segment of your process, and just start with the 702 audio track in Pro Tools. once that is good, and provided the two FS100 files have decent audio tracks of their own, you can just bring it all into FCPX, select the 3 files, right click and make a Multicam clip. It will line everything up for you, and from there you can just designate the 702 track to be the audio, and the other to be silent, and effortlessly cut between the FS100 angles.

From what I understand, it sounds like you're saying you make the movie first, then divorce the audio track, then cut the 702 audio to match? I'm not a sound editor, so maybe I just don't know the reason, wouldn't it make more sense to just, edit the audio up front, the make the multicam clip, and then just edit your movie and it's all good?
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Old July 16th, 2012, 11:15 PM   #7
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Re: Using audio in post to sync 2 FS100's and external audio....is there a better way

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Fullerton View Post
just start with the 702 audio track in Pro Tools. once that is good, and provided the two FS100 files have decent audio tracks of their own, you can just bring it all into FCPX, select the 3 files, right click and make a Multicam clip.
Agreed! Don't resample the good audio so it matches the camera audio. Finish the audio first and then edit the video around it. Any audio drift can be fixed by inserting or deleting a video fame when cutting between cameras.
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Old July 17th, 2012, 01:12 AM   #8
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Re: Using audio in post to sync 2 FS100's and external audio....is there a better way

That makes good sense to me. I can try this approach tomorrow.
I don't have the 702 in yet, but with one camera what I do now is detach the audio and export to Pro Tools for processing. The processing incurs a latency, so the processed track is then out of sync with the video. So, I will take the processed track back into FCP X and synchronize and see what happens.

This could saves me lots of time. I'll give it a go and report back.
Thanks!
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Old July 17th, 2012, 01:29 AM   #9
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Re: Using audio in post to sync 2 FS100's and external audio....is there a better way

BTW, a related question.
The audio track of the stationary camera will be stereo. In contrast, the audio of the handheld camera will be mono, since the mic is the stock mono mic. The audio of the 702 will have been processed in Pro Tools, so it will be multi-mono.
When I synchronize, will FCP X have a problem with the audio being: one stereo track, one pair of multi-mono tracks, and one mono track? Just wondering if this would confuse it somehow as it attempts to align audio tracks.

Last edited by Michael Holmes; July 17th, 2012 at 08:51 AM.
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Old July 17th, 2012, 02:21 AM   #10
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Re: Using audio in post to sync 2 FS100's and external audio....is there a better way

As a suggestion, you may want to look into getting/using the software Plural Eyes to sync of your tracks...I know I'm addressing only a small part of your original question, but syncing audio/video on multi cam/multi audio sources can be frustrating in post and this program (available for several editing platforms) makes it a breeze.

I use to think that simply aligning waveforms would be easy enough for me... until I tried a demo of Plural Eyes...that all changed quickly :-)
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Old July 17th, 2012, 11:42 AM   #11
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Re: Using audio in post to sync 2 FS100's and external audio....is there a better way

Michael,
We often record live orchestral concerts, but luckilly , usually get a quality feed from the board, which I run directly into the stationary FS100. I understand that you don't have that luxury, and assuming you can't get any feed from the house board, here's what I would do- ( Preface by saying that we edit in CS5, not FCP).

1- Run the mic to the 702 and directly into the statioanry FS100. I've found that the audio on the FS100 ( and I'm also a musician /recording engineer) to be really good quality. There's an on board limiter and ootional channel notch down for signals that are too hot.

2- Don't worry about the audio on the 2nd FS100. Just use it as a referance when you do any minute lining up of the two audio tracks in fcp. Sometimes it's usable at a low level to add more ambience.

3- Make sure you roll both cameras together, if possible.

4-Import the FS100 video and audio, and then import the 2nd camera. I don't know about FCP, but it's pretty easy to "earball" the two audio tracks and line them up.

If both cameras are rolling before the set starts, just let them go till the set is over. One of the beauties of the card and drive based capture sysstems ( as opposed to the old days of hdv tape). is that you can record very long events without stopping. I have the Sony driv on my fs100 and use two 32gig cards on my nx5 comapanion camera, and can record for several hours.
We've had concerts where we shot with 2 FS100's, an nex5, 2 canon 7d's and a Canon tape cameras. Even with the 7d's stopping every 10-12 minutes, we were still able to line everything up by cutting to the main audio track.
It's always nice to get a feed from the board and record it to a digital recorder, but often not possible.
Good luck.
P.S. What lenses are you planning on using?
Bruce Yarock
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Old July 17th, 2012, 02:44 PM   #12
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Re: Using audio in post to sync 2 FS100's and external audio....is there a better way

Great help, Bruce.
You got me over some newbie mental blocks............"Man, why didn't I think of that?"

1st, audio:
I just assumed the FS100 would not deliver decent audio. If the FS100 preamps/ADCs are useable, then I could run the stereo mic directly into the stationary FS100. This would free up the 702 from being near the FS100, and I could physically position the 702 at the board for a direct feed...........even if behind the bar, in the attic, etc.
This would give me two audio tracks to work with.
Like you say, the stock mono mic into the handheld FS100 would be for reference, and occasionally I may make some use of it for ambience.

2nd, continuous roll:
This makes complete sense, I don't know why I was thinking otherwise.......duh. I can start the cameras simultaneously before the set and then let them run. I could do the same for the 702. Most gigs are no more than 4 hours.

Great stuff.

Regarding lenses, I am starting with two zooms since I have limited control over (1) where the stationary FS100 will be located and (2) where I can stand to shoot the close-ups with the handheld FS100. I will have a Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 on the stationary FS100 and a Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 on the handheld FS100. "Handheld" is a misnomer since I will be using a Manfrotto monopod to steady the heavy lens.

You would think I could use a prime on the "handheld", but I sometimes have to be a fair distance from the band to stay out of the way of the stationary FS100 shot, and the longer primes need more light. The Nikon 85 f/1.4 seems a logical choice, but it would not be sufficient for some situations.

I will learn a lot with the two zooms, and they are great for other purposes. After some experience maybe I'll add a prime, after I get tired of moving the 70-200 around. :)
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Old July 17th, 2012, 04:53 PM   #13
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Re: Using audio in post to sync 2 FS100's and external audio....is there a better way

Bruce,
When you do continuous roll, can you initially import the entire clips into CS5? Awfully large.
Do you set up individual Projects for each song, to get it to manageable working size?
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Old July 17th, 2012, 05:58 PM   #14
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Re: Using audio in post to sync 2 FS100's and external audio....is there a better way

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Bruce,
When you do continuous roll, can you initially import the entire clips into CS5? Awfully large.
Do you set up individual Projects for each song, to get it to manageable working size?"


Good question.
Sony provides a utility program for Adobe, which makes it super easy to bring the clips directly into CS5. Unfortunately, FCP makes you log and transfer and process the clips ( I think) before being able to bring them into the timeline. You might also nee top call a priest,,,

The question about individual projects is a good one, which I forgot to mention.
When we do these 2 hour concerts, especially with numerous cameras, we always break it into two seperate projects. If not, the computer bogs down big time. Since you're using only two cameras, you can get away with propbably having the entire night in one project. But since the band will be playing sets,maybe you should break it into two or three projects.

As far as running the mic directly into the Sony, you'll get good sound. I shot a low budget opera and used a couple of audio technica condensor mics ( not as good as the pearl), and wished that I had run through a mixer first. The reason was that I would like to have been able to do some eq of the signal going into the camera. But that would have meant having a sound guy, which they didn't include in their budget. So I monitored through headphones, while I shot, making sure the level was good. I did some post tweaking in Nuendo and mastered the entire audio in Wavelab, and it worked for the composer.
Live multitrack reording is of course the best, but you need lots of gear ( mike splitters, cables, extra mics,and a relaible recording system.). I used to jhave a nice portable rig which included a laptop loaded with Nuendo, 3 Behringer d/a converters, a Mark of the Unicorn interface. snake, etc. But The jobs were so few and farbetween, that I sold all of it.

I have a friend who does house sound for large orchestras, and also uses protools to record up to 48 tracks. He did this on the last concert we did at Florifa Atlantic University In Boca Rton, and also provided me with an excellent stereo. board mix into my FS100. This guy knows his s**t!

Sorry for the digression....
As far as lenses are concerned, these cameras are very challenging. Remember all the shallow dof we've all wanted? Well now we've got it. It's been very challenging for me to get deep enough dof with those zoom lenses zoomed in. I highly reccomend that you try to stay wider with your stationary cam. Regardless, I've had to jasck up the iso and stop down the lens in order to get enough dof to be in focus on zoomed in shots.
Anyways, you should do a practice shoot first, and make sure that you're in focus. I assume the clubs are low light, right?
Let's hear how you do.
Bruce Yarock
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Old July 17th, 2012, 06:30 PM   #15
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Re: Using audio in post to sync 2 FS100's and external audio....is there a better way

Thanks, Bruce.
Yes, I can split them up, no problem.

I had a 16-track portable rig that was excellent, with separate splitters, preamps and a JoeCo recorder. I had to haul a 10-space rack unit, convince the band to get there early so we could connect everything, find space for it, etc. I decided enough, life is too short. I'll do the best I can with w/o individual feeds.

Yes, these clubs are generally low lighting with a few terrible spots, and nobody (owner, dancers, etc.) wants you to bring lights. I got the f/2.8 lenses because I must have them, but I figured f/1.4 lenses would drive me crazy.

It will be fun. :)
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