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Old July 13th, 2016, 11:12 AM   #1
Inner Circle
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Augusta Georgia
Posts: 5,419
Multi-Camera Audio and Video Alignment

Convergent Design Apollo and the Benefits of A/V ALIGN

Different camera models can vary in how they process signals. Some signals are also sent through converter boxes that can alter the input signal. The result is that some devices delay the output of video and/or audio by various amounts. This latency doesn’t affect internal recordings, but it can be a real pain for external recording. When mixing different models in a multi-camera shoot it can be disastrous. Recording multiple cameras with varying latency means that timecode may not match between them, necessitating laborious slip-syncing in post. In a Live-Switch situation, there may be no solution. Until now.

A/V ALIGN is a function introduced in the June 2016 firmware update of the Convergent Design Apollo. It is unique in the industry. Apollo can record up to four HD signals simultaneously. It can also perform a Live-Switch between these inputs and record this Line Cut as well. A/V ALIGN is a tool to adjust the input signals to sync them to one another.

Using A/V ALIGN, the video and audio signals of each input can each separately have additional delay added to them. By adding delay to one or more input, it can be brought into sync with another input that suffers from its own delay. The video and audio for each input is adjusted separately, meaning that there are up to eight signals that can be shifted relative to one another.

While this sounds complicated to use, in practice it is quite straightforward. Four cameras connected to Apollo can be pointed at a sync device, such as a clapper slate, or even your hands slapping together. Make a short recording on Apollo of the sync reference (the clap). Switch to Playback, find the clap reference and single-frame advance to see if the four channels and their video and audio each land the sync point at the same frame. If not, tap the A/V ALIGN button. On screen instructions walk the user through the process of adjusting frame by frame to find the sync point for first the video and then for the audio of each input. After all are set, tap DONE and the four inputs are now synced to one another. Future recordings will all be in sync, as will the Live-Switch and its recording. If you use the same setups in future recordings, Apollo can remember its A/V ALIGN settings.

If this sounds complex, perhaps a short video tutorial would make it clearer. The process is quite simple. A few seconds in prep saves untold hours in post, and saves the day in live production.

Dan Keaton
Augusta Georgia
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