AutoSync multiple angles to a single sound source by timecode, replacing all camera audio channels with sound clips from sound recorder
I just realised something that many have probably known for a long time but which could make my life a lot easier if I can get it right.
For the longest time when presented with a large batch of footage from a day's shoot where some will be multicam with sync sound, and some will not, I've always had to follow this procedure (assuming timecode locked cameras and audio)
1. Autosequence the A cam, B cam and audio clips.
2. Create a sync map with both autosequences and use it to identify which clips are intended for multicam grouping
3. For each identifited instance, match frame and find in bin the A cam clip and then place it in to a 'groups' bin, and then follow the same procedure for the B cam, and then finally the same procedure for the corresponding synchronised audio.
4. This gives me three clips in a bin which I select and then group using source timecode.
This works fine, but is cumbersome because of the arduous process of making sync maps to identify where clips coincide, and then also group by group, selecting sets of 3 clips at a time, moving them from one bin to another, then creating a group then starting over again for the next set of clips to group. It always bothered me that it never seemed to be possible to place all A cam footage, all B cam footage and all audio in to a bin, select all clips and then select group and have Avid create separate groups for each occasion where the 3 sources coincided. It always tries to create a single mega-group of everything instead which is utterly useless.
However I think I must have just not realised that it actually does do what I want it to and in fact I just did it accidentally. I need only do exactly as I just described, except instead of right clicking on all the clips and selecting, 'group', I select 'auto sync'. Avid points out that there's more than one video angle, when you try to do this asks if I'd like to group the clips where this occurs. I'd actually come across this message many times in different circumstances where it was decidedly not what I wanted to do so I'd always just ignored this in the past and either cancelled the syncing to investigate what was making this happen, or just tell it not to group. Today though, it suddenly clicked for me what it was asking this whole time and I tried it with the A,B and audio clips all in the one bin. It actually DID create multiple different groups for me just as I wanted it to and it did it in the one click. I was thrilled except for one minor hitch that I can probably live with but would like to see if I can overcome.
In my normal grouping procedure, there are extra steps beside those I listed that I use as a way of maintaining neatness and consistency. I usually first, auto sync my master camera clips with the separate audio clips to create single-angle synced subclips then I autosequence those. I also do a couple more steps at the grouping stage: I match-frame the clips in the syncmap with which I intend to form a group, and then toggle source/record timelines so I can look at the clip in the timeline window, and then disable all tracks except video, I can then drag the clip from the source monitor to the groups bin I've made, creating a subclip of the synced-subclip, which has no audio.. Finally I group those audioless subclipped-subclips with the separate sync audio. While I know that sounds convoluted, there's method to the madness, the idea is that I want the resulting group clips to contain two video angles, and then as many audio channels as were recorded by the sound recordist and NO MORE. If I DON'T do this, what happens is that in the source window, one can select which audio channels they want from a group clip when editing it in to a timeline, but you see in the list: each audio channel from the sync sound clips PLUS a duplicate of that SAME audio, except with the name of the camera clip. You end up with one duplicate per channel making it a big long list of channels and much harder to work with smoothly in edit. Since the video clips in this group were already sunc to sound, there is no difference between the these audio channels and the sync audio channels. If you're wondering why I would bother syncing the master clips with the sound clips in the first place if I'm just going to discard it when I make the group, it's because I want it to be possible to find the constituent 'members' of a given group in a usable manner at all times, therefore if for whatever reason one wants to access just the camera clip by itself that is part of a group clip called maybe 'GroupOne.grp.01', then you can load 'GroupOne.grp.01' in to the source monitor, click on the angle with the A camera footage and press match-frame, this will load the correct source clip in the source monitor, but it will actually be a subclip with no sound which isn't much use to anyone, but following my methodology you can then press match-frame AGAIN and it will take you to the synced subclip with the sync audio and if FINALLY for whatever strange reason you might want the master clip without the sync sound, it's just a matter of pressing match-frame one final time, loading the original source master in to the source monitor. It creates a logical heirarchy that makes all constituent elements of groups accessible in different forms with just a couple of keystrokes.
Anyway if you've read this far, my methodology for making neat groups with only the audio channels I want in there works perfectly for my very manual, clip by clip approach, but when I try using my new more automated technique of creating multiple groups en-masse, I can't seem to find a way of totally replacing the audio of the constituent clips with the ONLY the audio from the sound recordist. The only way it seems that I can, is to make my soundless subclipped-subclips first which means my new timesaving method only really saves a couple of seconds and clicks but leaves the majority of the tedium still in place. I never tick the 'Keep audio on clip with video' option but it seems to make no difference there's still all the extra audio channels that are actually duplicates of each other.
This is a great post to give to assistants to show them how to group multiple VandA sources properly.
I can't a solution to the question, sadly, but supergrouper might help streamline your workflow (I think there's an alternative to it too but I can't find it at the mo).
You should absolutely post this in the Avid.com forums and direct it to Marianna as it's a concise description of sync/grouping work that loads of assistants/editors are dealing with.
You are also more likely to get an informed answer there than here.
The newer NLEs have better approaches (multigroup as editable timeline / use of more than mono audio tracks) but editing with properly set up avid groups still better for me.