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sync-n-link, smart slates, more efficient workflow

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Shuling Yong
sync-n-link, smart slates, more efficient workflow
on Jul 30, 2009 at 7:41:23 am


I'm looking for a way to improve the workflow for audio going from production to post. I currently manually sync sound in fcp, relying on the clap sound from a simple slate to match it up to picture.

My friend mentioned that there's this FCP program called Sync-n-Link that helps you automatically sync sound to picture. I'm not sure how it works, but he mentioned needing a smart slate and connecting it to the camera and sound recorder so the time codes can be matched?

I'm wondering what type of recording device is needed in order to use Sync-N-Link, and what does the AC need to do when he runs slate to enable it to work.

I'd really appreciate any advice you can dispense with regards to this, or any way to improve the efficiency of the sound syncing process by using different on-set techniques.



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David Jones
Re: sync-n-link, smart slates, more efficient workflow
on Jul 30, 2009 at 3:34:40 pm

Hi Shuling,

Link-in-Sync is a program that works with FCP by looking for matching timecode from the camera (video clips) and the audio recorder (audio clips). The program runs about $500.

A "smart slate" is a timecode slate like the ones found at this link:

The way it all works is that during production the audio recorder is feeding timecode to the "smart slate" and, in turn, the slate is jamming the timecode into the camera. Or, the "smart slate" generate timecode and jam it into both the camera and recorder, depending on how the production company wants it.

So basically, the production crew has to be using timecode in order for you to use Link-in-Sync.

Dave J

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Bouke Vahl
Re: sync-n-link, smart slates, more efficient workflow
on Aug 2, 2009 at 8:30:09 am

There are other alternatives:
If you sync the cam to the BWF recorder, there is not even a need for a slate. In those cases the slate/clap is a backup for both shot logging and sync.

A dirt cheap smart alate can be found here:

It can slave as well as being master TC generator (although not genlockable).

If your cam has no TC in (a lot of cams used in production do not nowadays), you can record the TC (from either a smart slate, BWF recorder or the digital clapper) on one of the cams audio channels.
In order to extract the audio TC to QT tc in post, you need this:

The last one also comes with an util that is a direct competition of Sync 'n Link.
Included in the package is a tool that merges BWF with QT.
What it does is pasting the BWF into the QT, either self contained or by ref, based on timecode.

And that brings me to the most important thing.
If you start working this way, make sure you keep your material very organized. QT has timecode and reel information, BWF has only a timestamp. Thus it is impossible to track down the correct corresponding video based on the TC in the clip, so keep all BWF's in a seperate directory per shooting day!
(assuming you don't have overlapping TC's)

And to answer a question before it has been asked, yes, it is stupid.
There is plenty of room for metadata inside a BWF file. But it never became a standard, so other metadata than timestamp cannot be trusted to be identical over different clips.
(But you can always rely on Andreas or me to see if customized work can be made specially for your workflow)

smart tools for video pro's

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Philip Hodgetts
Re: sync-n-link, smart slates, more efficient workflow
on Aug 3, 2009 at 1:37:56 am

You can download a trial of Sync-N-Link from It will process the first 10 clips in a bin, or the first 10 clips in each track for the post-edit synching process (not possible with Avid or other tools).

Philip (co-developer of Sync-N-Link)

Philip Hodgetts
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Shuling Yong
Re: sync-n-link, smart slates, more efficient workflow
on Aug 5, 2009 at 2:15:04 am

Thank you for your responses! :)

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