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Recommended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer

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Jennifer Jones
Recommended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Nov 24, 2012 at 10:29:22 pm

Hi all -

We are working in Media Composer with footage from the Canon 7D, and audio from a Zoom recorder. We have tried several times to use PluralEyes to sync the footage (with every different variety of settings in PluralEyes), with fairly poor results. Some of the footage synced, but not really enough to start editing with.

I'm sure this has been asked before (and, maybe someone can link to the original thread?), but does anyone have a "tried and true" workflow for syncing audio / video with PluralEyes in Media Composer?

We're using Media Composer v6.0.1, and the more detailed the (step by step) explanation, the better. It seems like PluralEyes should work better than we've been experiencing. Don't get me wrong, it's syncing some stuff, but more than half the time it syncs less than half of the sequence.

Thank you in advance for any help. It's truly appreciated.

- Jennifer


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Shane Ross
Re: Recommended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Nov 24, 2012 at 10:47:12 pm

Did you convert the Canon footage to DNxHD first? Don't skip that step.

Sorry, never used pluraleyes, I just want to make sure you aren't trying to edit H.264 native.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Jennifer Jones
Re: commended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Nov 24, 2012 at 11:45:21 pm

Hi Shane, yes, we converted to DNxHD. Thanks for the response, though. This is really baffling us, being that so many people are using the 7D/5D and recording separate audio these days. Is everyone manually syncing everything? Say it ain't so!

Thanks again,
Jennifer


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Michael Hancock
Re: commended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Nov 25, 2012 at 12:02:09 am

When dealing with DSLR footage I sync manually because the audio recorded on the DSLR is often off by 1 or 2 frames.

To quickly sync, select all of your video takes and drop them into a sequence so the shots are sequential. Drop the audio under it and start lining the clap on video up with the spike on the corresponding audio take. Shouldn't take long at all if you slated it.

Once it's all laid out, go to first clip and mark In/Out on it and subclip it so you have just the video and clean audio (you can keep the camera audio if you want, but I prefer not to). This will make a subsequence. Map it to your keyboard so you can blow through your timeline in a matter of seconds until every take is its own sequence. Select them all and go to Bin-->AutoSync. Now all of your clips are synced and turned into sync clips. Edit away.

----------------
Michael Hancock
Editor


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Scott Clements
Re: commended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Feb 11, 2013 at 11:39:09 am

Thanks for this tip, Michael. What would you suggest as the fastest workflow for syncing sound to DSLR picture, as well as creating DSLR multi cam clips (from a 2 camera shoot)? When laying the video and audio out on the timeline as you mention above, would you also lay down the 2nd camera angle, or would you "group clips" in the bin later? Any details you could give on your specific workflow would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

-Scott

Film Editor, London UK
http://www.scottclementseditor.com


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Michael Phillips
Re: commended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Feb 11, 2013 at 2:11:43 pm

Check out Sal's workflow further down in the thread:

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/45/889277


Michael


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Scott Clements
Re: commended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Feb 11, 2013 at 2:19:26 pm

Thanks, Michael, but I'm curious about Michael Hancock's method, because the guide track on the DSLR footage is in fact slightly out of sync with the picture. He says this is why he manually syncs in Avid. However, his manual method for syncing is much faster than the one I was using. I was curious though what he did with multi cam material that also needs to be synced. Also, his technique doesn't seem to allow for different clip lengths amongst all the tracks in the newly created synced sub clips.

Film Editor, London UK
http://www.scottclementseditor.com


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Michael Phillips
Re: commended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Feb 11, 2013 at 2:49:02 pm

Ah sorry, I thought you were referring to me (Michael). :)

There are several ways to go about this. Either sync audio to each camera before making a group clip, only sync one of the cameras before grouping, or just group the entire camera set and the audio in one step.

Each have their advantages and disadvantages:

1. Syncing audio to each camera angle will give you individual sync clip but takes the longest as you are repeating steps.But should you ever need to edit any of the material single cam, it is synced for each angle. You can also slip sync on the resulting .sync clip of needed before grouping.

2. Syncing one camera to audio then grouping to all camera angles is probably the fastest method as manual sync would occur to only one clip, then grouping would use the common video timecode (if available). If not, then you could use a visual to group. When editing the sequence, lay down the good audio as the reference. You can also slip sync on the resulting .sync clip of needed before grouping.

3. find a common mark in all camera angles and audio then group directly. This removes one sync step but will not allow you to slip sync should it be needed.


My preferred method would be #2. I just mark an IN at each of the common frames/sync then use AutoSync. The resulting clip will be the shortest of the two. So sync to the longest before grouping. I never sync via the timeline method myself, I just do the marks to the sources, sync, then load subclip into source monitor with source monitor timeline to slip as needed. I also make my projects a 35mm/4 perf project so I can slip audio sync down to the quarter frame. This eliminates the sequence/subclip step as well as renaming the source clip steps.


Michael


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Scott Clements
Re: commended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Feb 11, 2013 at 3:24:35 pm

Thanks for the detailed step by step, Michael. Much appreciated!

-Scott

Film Editor, London UK
http://www.scottclementseditor.com


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Daniel Frome
Re: commended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Nov 25, 2012 at 1:58:22 am

AMA link all your footage.

Place all your shots in chronological order on a timeline.

Then place all your audio on the same timeline in chronological order.

Export an AAF of the sequence. Load it into Pluraleyes.

A few minutes later it spits out a new AAF (timeline) with all your stuff synced.

Import the AAF, relink to your DnxHD media and start cutting.


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Jennifer Jones
Re: commended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Nov 25, 2012 at 2:40:47 am

Hi Michael & Daniel, thanks for the responses.

Daniel, we did just that with 'not-so-great' results.

Michael - we'll try it manually, as per your suggestions.

I guess we just expected PluralEyes to be more of a 'magic bullet' :0

Thanks again,
Jennifer


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David Powell
Re: commended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Nov 25, 2012 at 6:43:59 pm

Are you using Plural eyes 2 or 3?


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Michael Phillips
Re: commended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Nov 26, 2012 at 12:19:34 am

While I have had good results with PluralEyes, there have been times when based on the quality of reference file, it really didn't sync anything. I also find the AAF process to be clumsy as editing from a sequence it not the best - and going through the subsequence, AutoSync to make a subclip to track sync offsets, then rename to proper source (Scene/take for example) takes up a lot of time. I have found, that with a clear clap in visual and audio, I can sync faster manually most of the time and be frame accurate.

I actually work in a film 35mm project even though there is not film as I will sync down to the 1/4 frame.

Michael


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Michael Phillips
Re: commended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Nov 26, 2012 at 12:23:47 am

Adam Wilt did a good overview of using reference sync on an DSLR. The camera itself is 1 to 1.1 frame out of sync to when comparing its own picture and audio, then add to that distance (speed of sound versus light) and it could be another .5 frames. See his article here:

http://provideocoalition.com/index.php/awilt/story/dslr_audio_do_you_know_w...


Frame offset adjustment is probably something you will see in an update to PluralEyes, as internal offset from the camera is consistent for all recorded media - distance will be subject to change.


Michael


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Jennifer Jones
Re: commended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Nov 26, 2012 at 8:33:01 pm

Hi David & Michael, thanks for the info. We are using v.2, but will try to upgrade and try again, though. Maybe this will make a difference. I didn't realize there was a more recent version.

Thanks again!


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Sal Fabbri
Re: Recommended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Nov 27, 2012 at 9:50:45 pm

Here's my current workflow:

1. In PluralEyes, select "Camera 1" and drop all source video into the import box

2. Select "Audio Recorder 1" and drop all external audio recordings into the import box

3. Synchronize. PluralEyes will match your camera audio with the external recording and align the 2 tracks.

4. Export for your edit. I like to skip the individual editors (FCP, Premiere, Avid) and export new synced clips. As far as I know, exporting via the various editors will sync clips in your timeline, but the actual clips themselves will still reference separate video and audio sources. To me, this leaves room for error to get out of sync during my edits. Call me old school, but I like my audio and video to be synced in ONE clip :)
In this case, I would choose the "Media Files" option under OTHER in the Export dialogue. Checking "Copy of video files" will make a copy of your source video clips and insert the external audio into them (and remove the camera audio). Make sure you choose a separate output directory and do not overwrite your original clips. I like to output to a new sub-folder within my source clips called "Synced Clips"

5. Import/AMA link in Avid. Make separate bins for your sync clips. I like to color mine so i know which have good audio just by looking in a bin/sequence. Showing the Source Path Bin Heading will also help you keep track of which clips are which.

I've had occasions where the camera op will have the audio gain jacked right up on the camera, resulting in heavily distorted audio. In these cases, PluralEyes may not be able to interpret the audio to make the sync (and who can blame them!). In that case, you'll need a good Assistant Editor to perform a manual sync. I like using the AutoSync method in Avid in cases like this.


Sal Fabbri
Supervising Editor
Blue Ant Media


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Jennifer Jones
Re: commended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Nov 27, 2012 at 11:07:24 pm

Thanks, Sal - will give this a try once we upgrade..!


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gregg grinnell
Re: commended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Nov 30, 2012 at 3:12:11 am

I recommend setting sync to "try really hard" and level audio. Plural 3 for avid seems to need both of these set to work properly. I got used to using 2 with aaf export import workflow....it has worked great for me.

Cheers
gregg Grinnell


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Robert Ober
Re: Recommended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Jan 30, 2013 at 6:47:16 pm

[Sal Fabbri] "Here's my current workflow:"

Thanks for this. That really helped on a day where many things were not going well with my vidcast project and Symphony 6. The Avid aaf did not work in PE 3.1.1, it would seem PE did not like the AVC Intra 100 mxf. Ended up using a ProRes HQ vid with cam audio and the separately recorded wav in your workflow and now I have finally have a beginning edit.

Have a good whatever,
Robert:-)


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Mandla Bolekaja
Re: Recommended workflow for PluralEyes / Media Composer
on Oct 9, 2013 at 1:29:35 am

[Sal Fabbri] "Here's my current workflow:

1. In PluralEyes, select "Camera 1" and drop all source video into the import box

2. Select "Audio Recorder 1" and drop all external audio recordings into the import box

3. Synchronize. PluralEyes will match your camera audio with the external recording and align the 2 tracks.

4. Export for your edit. I like to skip the individual editors (FCP, Premiere, Avid) and export new synced clips. As far as I know, exporting via the various editors will sync clips in your timeline, but the actual clips themselves will still reference separate video and audio sources. To me, this leaves room for error to get out of sync during my edits. Call me old school, but I like my audio and video to be synced in ONE clip :)
In this case, I would choose the "Media Files" option under OTHER in the Export dialogue. Checking "Copy of video files" will make a copy of your source video clips and insert the external audio into them (and remove the camera audio). Make sure you choose a separate output directory and do not overwrite your original clips. I like to output to a new sub-folder within my source clips called "Synced Clips"

5. Import/AMA link in Avid. Make separate bins for your sync clips. I like to color mine so i know which have good audio just by looking in a bin/sequence. Showing the Source Path Bin Heading will also help you keep track of which clips are which.

I've had occasions where the camera op will have the audio gain jacked right up on the camera, resulting in heavily distorted audio. In these cases, PluralEyes may not be able to interpret the audio to make the sync (and who can blame them!). In that case, you'll need a good Assistant Editor to perform a manual sync. I like using the AutoSync method in Avid in cases like this.


Sal Fabbri
Supervising Editor
Blue Ant Media
"



Sal,

When I follow your process, which I prefer, I get a really long clip name. Example: "soup kitchen maybe MVI_1665.MOV_for_soup kitchen maybe 1665.wav.MOV."

Is there any way to get a shorter clip name when coming out of PluralEyes?

Thanks

MB
2.8 Quad-Core, 24 GB Ram, CS6, Mountain Lion


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