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Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue

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Joel Ninmann
Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Mar 7, 2011 at 7:55:16 pm

I have an issue with the 5D Mark II that I cannot find anyone discussing on any other message boards, which is alarming due to the scope of the issue. When using a clap-board and recording audio using the 5D's on-board/built-in microphone, I notice an approximately two frame delay from the video showing the clap-board slamming down to the actual sound of the clap.

Thus, on frame 1 I hear the first sound of the clap. Its not until frame 3 that I see the clap-board slamming down on the video. Thus, the audio is heard 2 frames too early. I have seen this issue on multiple shoots, in multiple situations, and with multiple frame rates. If you move further away from the built-in microphone on the 5D, the audio is heard only 1 frame too early. This makes no sense to me. Wouldn't that be the opposite of what you'd expect? Is the 5D's built-in microphone doing some automatic compensation for distance to cause this? Has anyone else seen this issue on the 5D? Does it occur on the 7D or other HDSLR's with built-in microphones?

Please download the below video file for a reference. The first shot is a close-up. If you run it through Premiere, Final Cut, or another editor where you can hear audio at the frame level, you will notice the clap sounding 2 frames before the clap-board slams down. The next shot is a medium close-up. It has the same 2 frame delay on the clap board video. Next is a medium shot, and then a medium long shot where the clap board video is only delayed by 1 frame.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11690716/sync-test.mov

I shot the above file at 30P (29.97) 1920x1080 on a 5D Mark II (latest firmware 2.0.8) with a 50mm lens. Shutter was 1/60. Audio was set to automatic levels. I transcoded the files from the camera to Apple ProRes 422 via Final Cut Pro 7.0.3 and the Canon EOS movie plugin E1. The file above was compressed via Apple Compressor to H.264 1500 kbps 1920x1080 29.97P for video, and 48.000 256 kbps audio.

Obviously this is a huge issue, since most people use syncing software like Pluraleyes to sync using the built-in microphone on the 5D as a reference. If this reference is off by 2 frames, then every sync will as well.


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Angelo Lorenzo
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Mar 9, 2011 at 6:10:21 am

I have roughly two years of 5D footage and I've never had a sync issue with a clap board and dual system audio (no drift through 10 minute interview clips etc), but the delay you are seeing is par for the course with dual system.

The reason for this is even at 29.97fps your still seeing posterization in time. The "delay" may mean one frame is slightly before the clap, and one frame is when the clapper is firmly closed. The actual clap is happening in the time between those frames.

A camera may do 24, 25, 30, 60 frames a second, but the camera's audio is sampling 48,000 times a second.


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Paul Kondo
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Mar 24, 2011 at 10:54:07 pm

Joel,

The good news is that you aren't crazy. I'm getting the same issue. The bad news is that I don't know what's causing it. I swear that this was not always a problem. It's only been in the last couple of months.

Someone mentioned a solution that didn't work for me - changing the Easy Setup in FCP before importing to the frame rate of your clips.

I thought that maybe it was the newer version of the plugin so I went back to an older version. That didn't seem to do anything. If I look at the original clip off the card, it's in sync. Then I wondered if it was some ProApps update that did it. But I just can't imagine after tons of googling that there aren't a bunch of other people with this same issue.

If you ever find out the problem, please post it here and I will do the same. I'm going to be talking to some people this weekend that may have seen this problem. Hopefully they'll have an answer.

Paul


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David Michael
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Mar 25, 2011 at 2:17:10 pm

I came here to post this exact thing.

I'm syncing sound from a 24p 5D shoot and I'm probably just going to scrap the in camera audio - but I noticed that sound mark is a frame or 2 ahead of the visual marker. If I was syncing audio without a guide audio track, it would be a frame off of what the camera would have recorded.

I'm thinking I'll just sync to the clap - like I would on any other project, but it is pretty annoying. And it makes me question my syncing practices. Should the audio clap come a frame ahead of the visual clap? Does FCP process audio frames differently than video frames?

See, my world is upside down. Post back if you discover anything.

-David


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Joel Ninmann
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Mar 29, 2011 at 7:02:33 pm

David,

I don't think its from Final Cut Pro, though FCP does process video and audio slightly differently. Obviously, FCP only deals with video at a maximum of the frame-by-frame level. Audio, however, can be zoomed-in to the sub-frame level.

Still, I can't be sure that this issue isn't caused by FCP unless it is tested in a different editing program. Maybe someone out there with Avid or Premiere could do so?

I can try and wrangle a copy of Premiere around here, but it may take a little while. I'll let you know if I do.


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Joel Ninmann
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Mar 29, 2011 at 6:58:44 pm

*** UPDATE ***

I have tested this video delay with a Fostex PD-4 DAT tape recorder. The Fostex will play a reference tone when you flip a switch to the right. I set this reference tone to a level of -12 dB and the tone played through the Fostex's on-board speakers. Once again, if you play the file back using an editing program that allows you to playback at the frame-by-frame level, you will notice the video delayed by approximately 2 to 3 frames. The sound of me flipping the switch on the Fostex is heard along with the start of the reference tone on frame 1, then on frame 3 or 4 the LEDs of the level bars begin to materialize on the Fostex's monitor screen.

Can we honestly simply chalk this up to the 5D processing the video and audio at different rates? I know the 5D was not designed and built to be a professional video camera with timecode and everything, but if Canon is marketing this thing to professionals (as I've seen in their commercials), then they need to address the lack of on-board reference audio sync. What does everyone else think? Can someone test this with a 7D at 720/60P?

I recorded the below file at a distance of about 2 feet with the Canon 5D Mark II (latest firmware 2.0.8) with a 50mm lens. Shutter was 1/60. Audio was set to manual and levels set to -12 dB. I transcoded the files from the camera to Apple ProRes 422 via Final Cut Pro 7.0.3 and the Canon EOS movie plugin E1. The file below was compressed via Apple Compressor to H.264 1500 kbps 1920x1080 29.97P for video, and 48.000 256 kbps audio.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11690716/fostex-sync-test.mov


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Hamish McCollester
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jun 2, 2011 at 12:33:58 am

Just wondering if anyone ever figured out anything further on this. I just got done syncing a three-camera (two 5Ds and a 7D) shoot. And almost EVERY clip from each camera (across four days of shooting) had the same issue...the in-camera audio preceded the visual reference by two frames...a couple seemed like they were off by one-and-a-half.

Ultimately, not a huge problem, since I find it just as fast to sync manually in FCP, rather than using PluralEyes. But yeah... this certainly shouldn't be happening. Does anyone have any answers? Any info would be much appreciated.

(FYI... I shot 1080 24P, Technicolor Cinestyle, conversion to ProRes 422 via EOS FCP plugin and log and transfer.)


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David Michael
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jun 2, 2011 at 1:20:36 am

I think I did get to the bottom of this, though my conclusions are based on deduction and not on fact.

I believe the Canon cameras record audio 1 frame early on average. This problem forced me to rethink my old syncing methods though, as I noticed the 2 frame problem as well. What I decided was that hearing the sound before seeing the clap simply means the clap falls between frames. So whether or not it is closer to match the moment of clap or to the frame before are equally inaccurate. I have begun to sync most all my sound to when the slate arm in blurry instead of to the point of contact and I think this may be more accurate.

Using pluraleyes, you can automatically match up all the clips, select all the audio and simply move it (alt+arrow) all a frame to the right in one keystroke. From there just relink each clip audio and drop in the browser.

I did work with a Canon camera that had accurate sound sync once. I believe it was a 7D and I believe they had the audio set to 44.1khz. This could be the entire difference.

Let me know your thoughts.


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Hamish McCollester
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jun 2, 2011 at 2:03:26 am

Interesting about the 7D. We had ours set to 48khz and I noticed the same issues as the 5D -- audio was generally 2 frames off.

I appreciate your deductions and had a similar thought about things landing between frames. But having just spent a few hours syncing almost a hundred clips, my experience is that more often than not, the audio reference comes a solid two frames before the visual. But I agree, a lot are just one frame off. Not that most people are going to notice one frame out of sync in either direction, but being a perfectionist, I'm not comfortable making a blanket rule of one frame (or two frames for that matter) shift on all clips to solve the issue. But maybe the next hundred of these I have to do will push me over the edge and I'll go with it! Very annoying little issue though.

I wonder if shutter speed (I'm shooting at 1/50th) changes would help or at least be worth testing. If nothing else, a faster shutter speed would give a less blurred visual reference of the sticks... and that might give us a clearer answer on whether there is a one or two frame rule we can utilize.... assuming that the added variable of shutter speed doesn't effect something else in this little mess. When I'm done with the edit job I'm on, I'll try to do some tests and post the results.

Oh, the hoops these DSLRs make us jump through...


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Joel Ninmann
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jun 7, 2011 at 8:38:45 pm

Good to see some people are still aware of/trying to come up with a solution to this problem. Also good to hear from someone using a 7D with the same problem. Now we know it isn't just the 5D Mark II. I suspect 48.000 has something to do with the issue, but since these cameras do not give you the option of changing sampling rate, I have no way of testing this.

My video clap frames have been consistently 2 frames off. I have not seen many that are only 1. I also am fairly certain that shutter speed does not have an effect on this issue, especially when you consider that when shooting video on these DSLRs, the shutter is not a true mechanical shutter, but a fake/digital shutter. In my experience, changing the digital shutter speed has had no affect on this audio sync issue, but I invite people to test it out for themselves to double-check my experience.

Even if it WERE due to shutter speed, this wouldn't matter, because you almost never want to have a DSLR's shutter speed (when shooting video) set to anything other than 1/30 or 1/60 (for NTSC) or 1/50 (for PAL) due to monitor/light strobing that you can get in the opposite region otherwise. Also, its been my experience that longer shutter speeds' (e.g. 1/30) blurring effect is not a true motion blur (due to the aforementioned lack of a physical/mechanical shutter), but rather a largely displeasing-looking digital blur.

No thank you to any shutter speed other than 1/60 for NTSC.


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Justin Cordes
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jun 21, 2011 at 2:02:26 am

So when visually syncing audio and video, WITHOUT something like pluraleyes, do you match the visually closed clapper to first audio click from the second sound source?


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David Michael
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jun 21, 2011 at 2:08:08 am

Without using the in camera audio track it is the same as you would match for any other camera. Most people match from when the slate closes to the beginning of the audio clap.

Personally, I match to the blurry slate arm frame (one frame before) if there is one. But that doesn't mean I'm correct.

-David


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Justin Cordes
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jun 21, 2011 at 2:21:02 am

David,

Thank you SO much for such a speedy response. I really appreciate it. I'm totally under a crunch an none of the peeps I personally know are getting back to me.

FYI, the footage I'm working with was shot on the Canon T2i, and has the SAME exact issue that original post on this thread talked about. The visual clapper makes contact 1-3 frames after the audio clap.

Also, here's a cool post going deep into the nuances of clapper syncing. http://splicenow.com/2011/01/12/syncing-dailies/

Thanks again Dave and others. You rock.

-Justin


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Joel Ninmann
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jun 21, 2011 at 6:17:40 pm

Justin,

I think the link you posted accurately sums up what you should do when a slate is blurred. Personally, I am with David -- I sync to the last blurred frame of the slate. This doesn't mean we are right, though.

Thanks for letting us know you're seeing the same issue with a Canon T2i. This means we now have 3 HDSLR cameras that all see this issue -- the 5D Mark II, 7D, and T2i. Anyone seeing this issue with a Nikon HDSLR?

Another question, given that Final Cut Pro X was released today:

Does the automatic audio syncing on import option in FCPX sync HDSLR on-board audio correctly, or do we still see the same 2-3 frame sync issue? Could someone with FCPX installed test this out by importing some footage from any of the 3 above cameras and let us know? As soon as outside forces permit, I will do so myself, but that may be a few days or weeks. I'm sure lots of people on this board would appreciate someone else being able to do so sooner.

I'm glad more and more people are stumbling upon and waking up to this issue. 2-3 frames is completely unacceptable, and I STILL shudder to think about the thousands of HDSLR shooters out there syncing via software like Pluraleyes that are missing this issue with ALL their footage on a daily basis.


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Alex Cordiner
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jun 22, 2011 at 8:52:36 pm

I too am pleased that I am not the only one going nuts on this. I am an amateur film maker but quickly noticed the sync issues. Does anybody know if there is a way to create a custom Compressor setting that could shift the audio by the 2 frames?


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David Michael
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jun 22, 2011 at 8:57:15 pm

A custom compressor setting would be nice, but I use a workaround that is almost as useful, though a bit more tedious.

Convert the stuff to prores, drop all the prores files (if there are a TON do them in batches) into your sequence. Unlink everything select all the audio track, move them back 2 frames, relink, and drag everything back into the browser. Good as new.


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Alex Cordiner
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jun 22, 2011 at 9:22:24 pm

Thanks for the reply David. What editor are you using?


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David Michael
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jun 22, 2011 at 9:24:10 pm

Ah, yes, I am using Final Cut Pro 7.


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Alex Cordiner
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jun 22, 2011 at 9:35:16 pm

Thanks! I have been using Premier Pro CS5 but have just bought FCP X which I have a feeling does not have the capability of adding resync'd clips back into a bin.


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Martin Jangaard
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jul 25, 2011 at 3:22:34 pm

Yep, been getting that problem over here both at 25 FPS & 30 FPS on Canon 5D Mk II. Really noticed this about March this year - maybe a Canon Firmware issue. Anyway, always seems to be out about 2 Frames - audio early - it must be something to do with the video codec processing and data writing etc that produces the delay. This is definitely a camera problem as this delay shows up when clips are played in QuickTime Player 7 etc.

So, always worked around this by syncing external audio clap to the video - difficult on some of the material as it was 'synced' on location with a hand clap, which was often blurry. Haven't bothered with Plura Eyes in FCP 7 yet, as I've just done it the old fashioned way manually.

Tried with FCP X and it syncs up the external audio all automatically and really quickly. As expected the new sun clip is also 2 frames out, but i simply used the "break apart clip items to show the external audio and then selected 'detach audio' to separate out the original linked camera guide audio from the video. The V key then enables or disables the tracks - like mute/make visible tc. Then a simple two frame nudge with the 'period' ky and evything is in perfect sync. BTW, if you didn't know already the 'period' or 'full-stop' (UK) key nudges the selected clip one frame forward and the 'comma' key one frame back.

It'd be really good if this frame offset could be entered numerically as an option in the synchronisation settings of FCP X. At the moment it's just a global command without any parameters Is it an option in Plural Eyes for FCP 7?

Hope this helps.


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Martin Jangaard
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jul 25, 2011 at 3:29:13 pm

Joel,

Yep, been getting that problem over here both at 25 FPS & 30 FPS on Canon 5D Mk II. Really noticed this about March this year - maybe a Canon Firmware issue. Anyway, always seems to be out about 2 Frames - audio early - it must be something to do with the video codec processing and data writing etc that produces the delay.

So, always worked around this by syncing external audio clap to the video - difficult on some of the material as it was 'synced' on location with a hand clap, which was often blurry. Haven't bothered with Plura Eyes in FCP 7 yet, as I've just done it the old fashioned way manually.

Tried with FCP X and it syncs up the external audio all automatically and really quickly. As expected the new sun clip is also 2 frames out, but i simply used the "break apart clip items to show the external audio and then selected 'detach audio' to separate out the original linked camera guide audio from the video. The V key then enables or disables the tracks - like mute/make visible tc. Then a simple two frame nudge with the 'period' ky and evything is in perfect sync. BTW, if you didn't know already the 'period' or 'full-stop' (UK) key nudges the selected clip one frame forward and the 'comma' key one frame back.

It'd be really good if this frame offset could be entered numerically as an option in the synchronisation settings of FCP X. At the moment it's just a global command without any parameters Is it an option in Plural Eyes for FCP 7?

Hope this helps.

Hope this helps


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Sabreena Unger
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jan 26, 2012 at 3:38:19 pm

Hey,
I'm having a huge issue with syncing sound that I recorded with a Zoom audio recorder and a 5D. I can sync the guide track and the audio together at the beginning, but there is a drift so that by the end of the clip the recorder audio is abotu half a second off from the guide track. I've tried the easy setup fix, and have tried converting the video to prores, and have had no luck. Any suggestions?


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Joel Ninmann
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jan 26, 2012 at 4:31:10 pm

What model Zoom recorder did you use? The H4N? What frame rate did you shoot the video on the 5D Mk II at? 24 fps (actually 23.976 with firmware version 2.0.4) or 30 fps (actually 29.97 with firmware version 2.0.4)? What firmware version is installed in your 5D? What editing software and version are you using (Final Cut Pro X, Final Cut Pro 7, Adobe After Effects, Avid)?

Generally the quick solution (without getting into why) is to set your audio down to a speed of 99.9%. Try that.

Joel Ninmann
Instructional Specialist
Department of Communication Arts
University of Wisconsin-Madison


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Sabreena Unger
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jan 26, 2012 at 11:47:06 pm

Hey Joel,

We used the H4 model of the Zoom recorder, and we shot at 24 (23.98 fps). I'm editing with Final Cut 7. I'm not totally sure what firmware is on the 5D,. but I'm guessing that it's 2.0.4 since FCP shows the framerate as 23.98fps.

I have tried changing my audio speed, but without success.

I've uploaded one of the files I'm working with if you want to try taking a look at the elements (I figure it's easier to troubleshoot when you have access to the file)

you can find the guide track here: http://f1.creativecow.net/3578/guide-track

The AIF version of the track, converted to 48 kHz is here: http://f1.creativecow.net/3580/recorded-audio-aif-version

The WAV version of the track at 48 kHz is here: http://f1.creativecow.net/3579/recorded-audio-original


Let me know if you're able to figure anything out, because I just can't seem to.

Thanks


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Sabreena Unger
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jan 30, 2012 at 2:46:02 am

I have an update to share, but still am trying to figure this out. I realized that the audio recorded on the zoom recorder is at 44.1 kHz, and the audio for the 5D footage is at 48 kHz. Now I have tried converting the audio to 48 kHz through FCP and through compressor, but it didn't seem to work. I actually pulled the supposedly converted track into FCP and compared it with the original 44.1 version and they matched up with each other, so it doesn't seem that the sample rate is actually being changed. The interesting thing, however, is that I when I tried converting the clip from the 5D to 44.1 kHz, (converting the guide track to match the recorded audio versus converting the audio to match the guide track) everything ended up syncing up. I feel like converting all the video I have though will end up taking way longer and take up more space, and just intuitively feels wrong. I feel like there has to be a solution somewhere to get the recorded audio in sync with the audio from the 5D, I just can't totally figure out how to get the clip to up-convert properly, so that it actually runs at 48 kHz. Any ideas?


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Bill Simonett
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Nov 1, 2013 at 6:16:42 pm

Update- if you are using adobe cc auto synch, your synch
Will be 1-2 frames out with the 5d. Just be wary and always check your synch!


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Scott Robert
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Mar 12, 2014 at 11:46:06 pm

I know the post is a bit old but this odd behavior still exists. I'm editing RED footage and audio was recorded into the camera. (Same issues with other cameras as well) I have to sync the audio to match how the camera records it which is 1-2 frames before the visual slate hits. So in other words, looking/listening at the video footage, I place a marker and in mark where I hear the slate which is before the slate impacts. Plural eyes match by audio's visual waveforms and should sync perfectly.

I don't understand the science behind that as I was always trained to sync right where the slate closed. It doesn't seem to be the case anymore.



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Bryce Douglass
Re: Canon 5D Mk II Clap-Board Audio Sync Issue
on Jul 26, 2016 at 5:37:48 am

I'm not using the same camera referenced in this topic but I can for sure tell you that my canon xa20 and canon xa10 do the same thing unless I switch the frame rate to 1/30.

Bryce


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