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Old February 8th, 2015, 06:28 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Holland, MI
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Lunatic fringe video editing software tech questions


I'm new here and firstly would like to ask if this is the right forum for my question(s).

Secondly, some background:

I have been recording amateur video for years of my daughter's school music programs and now her sometimes paid gigs as well as other amateur musicians, with a variety of amateur gear.My questions are specific to tech details of audio and video settings and sync within mov/mp4 content and how to stream or convert files in VLC that 'save' the effects filters as set up durign playback.

The first problem I encountered was horrible audio from built-in mics, followed by difficulty of managing huge files. I gave up on a DV tape-media camera for both reasons.

I moved to whatever point & shoot cameras I had at the time with 1080x720 .mov capture (Kodak Z1085 and Z1485).

I have recorded separate audio in a Tascam DR-08 and suffered great difficulty syncing video & audio, far worse than just drift. Gave up on that until I define the problem, which may define a solution.

I began experimenting with whatever software I had or could download that would work with my PC horsepower. I have experimented with numerous open-source editors, remuxers etc., and found the only way I could maintain audio & video sync on files I extracted for post-processing of audio was to extract the audio from a video file, post process it in something like Audacity, and remux it. I'm forgotten what remuxer I used because I have been doing something else for the time being. If I extract the entire audio track, edit it and remux it, the sync usually is perfect. If I do anything to the length of the file, synch is terrible. One of the programs I used displayed media info like bit rate, codecs etc.I saw something very disturbing inplying some kind of A/V sync in fractions of a second. I had observed that time shift in increments of milliseconds had no effect at all.

The latest process that works, but it extremely time-consuming, is that I modified my camera mics so I no longer have horrible audio. Now I need to do things like add some gain, EQ, compression to boost the level. This can generally be done withthe audio and video tracks intact, if I can remember how to save output with filters. I have been using VLC lately, and have figured out trimming and converting. I don't seem to be able to save output with the playback filter settings but there must be a way.

Thank you
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Old February 8th, 2015, 07:32 PM   #2
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Re: Lunatic fringe video editing software tech questions

Hi Murray and welcome to the forum :-)

You haven't mentioned what editing programme you use, as that has a bearing on how you deal with the footage you have taken. Most editing programmes will show the audio on a separate track and most have audio plugins for processing the sound. So if you connect a reasonable quality mic to your camera, you will be able to add compression, eq etc at the editing stage. Some video editing software will also include audio synching, enabling you to synch the sound of a separate recorder with the video soundtrack. Plug in programmes such as Pluraleyes will also enable you to do the same thing.

I regularly shoot school performances up to 60 minutes or more long with 4 cameras and a couple of sound recorders. I always lay down the main video track first and synch the audio recorders and other video tracks to that. If I am using the separate recorders as the master audio, then any drift is easily corrected as you cut from one camera track to the other by resynching the new video clip as soon as any drift becomes noticeable. I usually find that clips need to be over 20 minutes long before I see any noticeable drift. The unwanted audio can be muted or deleted before final rendering.

You can also synch the audio tracks visually by displaying the waveforms on the timeline and lining up the peaks of matching wave shapes.

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Old February 8th, 2015, 10:49 PM   #3
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Holland, MI
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Re: Lunatic fringe video editing software tech questions

Thank you, Roger.

I am using MPEGStreamclip for trimming sections of video (takes seconds), conversion from .mov to .mp4., extracting audio tracks and saving video without audio. That's under Windows XP.

Otherwise I have switched to Linux (Ubuntu Studio 14.05?) as it runs pretty well with the two PC's that are slow with XP.

I have been using VLC for format conversion and audio extraction. It's more command-line based and harder to figure out. It has some great features/filters for audio and video playback but I am still trying to figure out how to save output with the filters 'enabled'. I've tried converting to another file and streaming to another file and I must just be doing something wrong.

I have been using a CAD SN210 snare drum percussion mic Murray-rigged onto a bracket that screws into the tripod socket of the camera. I think it's about 20-25 dB weaker than the original electret mic, but the camera has some built in compression. In some situations (amplified music), the volume is adequate as recorded. In others I would like to add some gain.

If I can figure out how to save steamed or transcoded files with the effects/filters enabled, that will solve most of my headache.

The percussion mic is a little spooky looking on a point & shoot, but it sounds really good & is pretty 'bullet-proof' as far as overload-resistance goes. I have not recorded anything with any sign of distortion yet.

It suffices for me. I could throw money at the problem if I needed to, but it's more about the experimentation. Actually, I read people buying things like Nikon D800's and being unhappy with the audio, so maybe it is worth the trouble for me. The Kodak is mono, with only a 16000 Hz 128 kbps codec, but it is listenable with alternative mics...something the original could not do.

I'm hacking a Nikon Coolpix L110 right now. Stereo, hopefully a little better lens (15:1 zoom instead of 5:1)...TBD. TWO percussion mics on a bracket is pretty over the top for awkwardness.

At one point in the Kodak hacking, I outboarded a 3.5mm headphone tack and made a 3.5mm-XLR connector...not really planning on remote-mounting the mic, but once it worked, I tried a 20 foot cord and walked around with the camera. Next is plugging into a mixer. I thought ahead and put a DC blocking capacitor inline, because inadvertently putting 48V phantom power into the camera would be an unhappy experience.Phantom power doesn't bother conventional mics (excluding ribbon mics) because of the wiring convention. This is not the case hacking into a 2-wire electret condenser bias circuit in a camera that was not intended to have external mics.

Last wishlist item is probably going to take a long time to find someone with an answer. While both the Nikon and Kodak record .mov files, the Kodak docking station will not recognize the Nikon .mov files on an SD card. There is apparently some encoding parameter(s) that differ between the two cameras. Some software, especially open source, allow access to dozens of audio and video parameters with no explanation what they do...I periodically post a question on different forums. The software tech ones are hard to get an answer on...and the pro user ones don't use my strange methods - they buy what works so they get their workflow to efficiently do what they need.

Anyway, it keeps me off the street...except when I'm recording street musicians.

The really beautiful thing is I no longer have problems with wind noise or Harleys slamming the camera into full distortion or full compression. Both the Kodak and Nikon, stock, were usable is very few situations...much to my surprise.

I have also experimented with the so-called Linkwitz mod for electret condenser mics to reduce overload. It works, but is surely not a try-this-at-home process for the average person...micro-surgery under a microscope on a 4 mm diameter 1mm thick electret mic with a soldering iron!. I took it on for the challenge. It worked, but they are omnidirectional and wit hthe internal camera audio compression, everything in the room is equally loud...the applause, the obnoxious person having a conversation next to you etc. I forgot to mention the percussion mics are various types of cardioid patterns. They don't hear me breathing or people next to me who lack concert etiquette.

I realized most of what I do is not for the average camera user, but maybe the software experience and microphone experience will give others ideas.

Anyway, thanks for reading!.
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Old February 9th, 2015, 06:50 AM   #4
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Re: Lunatic fringe video editing software tech questions

Hi Murray,

Sounds like you are running on a very tight budget and fairly old gear but willing to hack stuff about to get a result. The snare mic is going to give good results on sudden loud percussive sounds, but a 23db reduction is a massive drop in level, which is likely to result in a big lowering of headroom between recorded signal and system noise.

The compression on the audio side of the cameras is going to be pretty severe, so unfortunately you are going to have pumping of the levels between quiet and loud bits. The low output of your mic will simply cause the gain on the camera to be higher before limiting starts, so probably more system noise again, An external recorder where you can manually set gain is going to give much better results. Something like the Zoom H1 would give you manual overrides, an onboard stereo pair and facility to plug in an external mic instead, plus level indicators and headphone monitoring. You may well be able to pick one up used at a good price, although they are not expensive new.

Your editing sounds a bit clumsy software wise, although I appreciate you are working on a budget. Your PCs may struggle with modern software and codecs if they are a few years old and running XP, but it would be worth downloading a couple of free trial editors such as Pinnacle Studio, Sony Vegas etc to see how you get on with them. Have you tried the bundled video editor that comes with Windows? If you use a dedicated video editor, most of your audio filtering problems should become much easier and of course you could always drop the audio into programmes like Wavelab or Soundforge, which are widely available cheaply on line.

You shouldn't need to use the docking station to download files, as the files can be downloaded straight off the card into your PC using a usb card reader if you haven't got a card slot on the computer. Card readers are cheap as chips. Using a proper video editing programme will usually mean that you can drop the files straight onto the timeline without transcoding first. When I edit in Magix MEP, I can use different file formats in the same project, with the final render setting after editing to whatever output format I choose.

I understand about the experimentation side of what you are doing, but sometimes it doesn't pay to re-invent the wheel if you can get something already available that does it far better and without the headaches.


Last edited by Roger Gunkel; February 9th, 2015 at 06:51 AM. Reason: typos
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Old February 11th, 2015, 04:41 PM   #5
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Holland, MI
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Re: Lunatic fringe video editing software tech questions


You described me.

I usually end up attempting things I don't really have a need for, which is why I don't buy the 'real deal'. Very inefficient. If I learn anything doing what I'm doing, I hope it's 'don't do that again', but until I get to that point I keep trying new brainstorms.

Very very inefficient. I forgot I had an older verions of Pinnacle Studio with a piece of hardware. I think I recall it being one of the slowest things I had ever seen (my PC, as you noted) for combining audio & video but was usable for lesser tasks. I am pretty sure it was useful and not too slow for capturing analog things like VHS tape, something I think I will do with a soon to be 27 year old wedding video, before the tape aligns with the earth's magnetic field and erases itself.

I not only reinvent wheels, I think I sometimes want to grow rubber to make tires with...sounds familiar.

I have started thinking about a computer upgrade to something with more horsepower and more memory, but I do not want to deal with Windows. I don't want to commit all my RAM to their graphical GUI I hear really wants 8 GB but will limp at 4. I don't want a touch screen or I'll be tempted to do what my gut reaction is and I'll need another display.

The only thing I hate more than MS is Apple, so it's either paper & pencil or Linux, and I actually seem to like Linux alot.I guess the saying is I made my bed, now I have to sleep in it.

I try to figure out what kind of motherboard and CPU will be modern enough, run Linux and maybe XP for the rare thing I need like iTunes and the 11x17 transparency scanner with PCI SCSI card that I want to keep.

Maybe I need an paleolithic-workflow desk for what I don't want to give up and a neolithic one that will actually do what I need relatively quickly.

Some version of Vegas and Final 'something' is used by a company I have some video courseware from so I assume those are fairly up to date.

Thanks for your help. You have by far been the most helpful of any attempts I've made to make sense of what I try to do.

I think the Frankencam projects are intriguing to some people anyway...kind of a freak show.

I am 95% done hacking the Nikon other than pinching some wires cramming it all back in the case. Can't help myself. Lottery ticket choices are too confusing so I'm not going to win without a ticket, so it's old equipment for a little longer.

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Old February 11th, 2015, 05:05 PM   #6
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Re: Lunatic fringe video editing software tech questions

The dynamic drum mic isn't actually that insensitive - it's virtually the same as the Shure SM57, with a similar-ish frequency response and I wouldn't object to using one for room sound.

Have you got a specific question we can help with?

To be honest, I think you're going to seriously struggle with Linux and XP now. If you really want to use the kind of software that does video properly, then it's just not going to happen without a modern supported operating system. None of the popular hardware or software that people use everyday is of much use if you're into non-Apple or MS environments.

I'd bet the audio problem you are having is down to audio sample rates. 32/44.1/48K sampling is always a pain, and coupled to video at 25 or near 30fps mean that matching your media clips to each other can be a major pain.

The notion of manipulating the data by stripping audio streams out and then recombining just sounds like a real faff. I can understand you being interested in it, but it sounds horrible to me. I'd rather, just stretch by eye, or enter values in percents or mins/secs.

Windows ⅞ and yosemite on the mac allow me to do what I do. The one ancient XP machine I still have is useless to me now because the current software doesn't support the drivers now, so it won't talk to the newer kit I have.
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Old February 12th, 2015, 01:45 AM   #7
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Re: Lunatic fringe video editing software tech questions

Linux will do almost anything Windows will do and often do it better. The only thing I need Windows for is to run Cinescore and Sonicfire Pro, since I paid for the music and plan to use it as long as I can. I have Windows installed on Linux using Virtualbox, so it can be used just like a Linux package.

Depending on the desktop you use, Linux will usually work faster even on older hardware and if you pick a distribution like AristX, you will get almost every multimedia package available for Linux straight "out of the box".

Learn the command line and you can make it do anything you want. I haven't, I use the GUI way of working.

Generally drivers are not a problem, either for the computer or peripherals like printers and scanners and codecs are either included in the distro, or easily obtained.

Most distros have a live CD version, so you can try them out to see if they are compatible with your hardware and what packages (software) are available before installing. And if you like it, of course! The oddity here is Manjaro, when I tested it, it wouldn't connect to its repository, so I never found out what packages are there.

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