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Music Video sync playback in the field

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William Meese
Music Video sync playback in the field
on Dec 17, 2005 at 5:02:58 am

Next week I'll be doing playback in the field for a shoestring-budget music video, shot on video and then edited on Avid. I want to avoid the rental costs of a crystal-sync playback deck and a timecode slate, if at all possible. My thinking is that even a simple CD boombox will play consistently enough for the musician to lip-sync for 10- or 20-second takes, and the video can then be hand-synced to the original music in post. Since we're editing in-house, some extra labor in hand-syncing can be justified to save the hard rental costs. Is this a reasonable way to save some money? Will the quality of the CD player make a significant difference? Or is there a big risk of getting really out-of-sync singing? Any other cost-effective playback solution you can suggest?



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Matte
Re: Music Video sync playback in the field
on Dec 17, 2005 at 3:42:55 pm

It has been my experience that any CD player should maintain perfect sync (clock) for the duration of most any track.

With the advent of digital video camcorders and digital audio playback, the days of needing "special" playback gear are gone.

I have even maintained PERFECT sync for over 13 minutes straight (the longest cut on the CD I was using) while shooting with a basic home-video camcorder!
It was a video I shot while on vacation at a major theme park (their audio was playing from a digital source), later when I edited, I synced the video to a CD of the audio track used in the event.
Once I slid the audio into position, it stayed in perfect sync until the end of the 13 minute+ track.

Just keep the CD player as close-in to the talent and the camera as possible on each set-up so all can hear it clearly and without any acoustical delay (sound travels slowly).

Don't sweat it.
The main problem you SHOULD have is the TALENT, and their ability to properly "lip-sync" (or "finger-sync") to the track.


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John Fishback
Re: Music Video sync playback in the field
on Dec 17, 2005 at 5:50:05 pm

When you edit, you'll be able to easily get music sync by listening to the original track in your timeline and sliding the field recording until the music syncs up. It's in sync when all you hear is some phasing. Of course, as Matte said, a lot depends on talent's ability to perform in sync. However, syncing up the music will probably get you in the ballpark, even if talent is off. Then, slip the video a bit until it looks right.

John



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Frank Nolan
Re: Music Video sync playback in the field
on Dec 17, 2005 at 10:12:11 pm

Here's a simple way to help with playback and sync. Load the song into FCP or Protools or any program where you can do a little editing. Then add a 4 count of beeps at the head, in time with the song. You can make these beeps with a 1khz tone cut to a couple of frames each. These can be used as a count in for the band members to know when the song is starting and then they can also be used later in post to sync each take and camera angle. Once you've done this you can then just burn a new CD with the beeps at the start and use that on the set of your shoot.


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Frank Nolan
Re: Music Video sync playback in the field
on Dec 17, 2005 at 10:17:13 pm

Oh BTW, I dont think a simple boom box will be sufficient for music playback. If there is a drummer in the band you will need a decent sized PA system so the musicians can hear the palyback. It is very difficult to fake playing drums without actually hitting them. Also record the playback audio on the camera mic to use later in post as a rough guide track.


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