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Kai Cheong
Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Dec 28, 2010 at 3:02:33 pm

When we got our 5D setup, which was soon followed by the H4N, the next piece we bought to complete the puzzle was Pluraleyes. It has served me very well on syncing interviews, soundbites and music videos.

But I've run into some problems and I wonder if it's a shortcoming of the application OR a problem with my [overambitious?] workflow.

We shot 2 x 32GB cards full of footage on a 5D. Drama/re-enactment scenes. Soundman recorded audio via H4N. What I'd attempted was to plonk an entire card's worth [about 2h 20min for 1 day] of footage onto the sequence and the corresponding day's H4N files and activated Pluraleyes. Formats matched - 48k/16kHz.

It took about 4.5 hours to finish churning [I had to do this twice, so it took more than 8 hours, since FCP crashed when Pluraleyes was trying to sync things after analyzing the first time].

Results were unfortunately dismal. I probably got 60%-70% sync at best. There were a lot of 'orphaned' footage/audio or plain mismatched ones. Not looking forward to manually drudging through and syncing the rest tomorrow.

I've begun an overnight sync of the next day's footage using the same method - except I turned on 'try really hard' on Pluraleyes this time. This is really gonna take a while.

Looking for advice on using Pluraleyes for 5D-H4N projects where there are many scenes/shots. Do I need to manually break down the footage/audio into smaller scenes and sync each scene separately? Are there any instructions I need to give my crew so that I get easier-to-use material? I've already learned through the hard way that when recording an interview, it's better to just let the H4N run even though there are breaks between questions.

Kai
FCP Editor / Producer with Intuitive Films
http://kai-fcp-editor.blogspot.com
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Visit us @ http://www.intuitivefilms.com
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Jason Brown
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Dec 28, 2010 at 3:26:59 pm

I've used everything you mentioned EXCEPT plural eyes with success. The h4n leaves alot to be desired...but I ALWAYS sync my audio and video with a clap board. Did you do that?

FYI, if you are using multiple sources (2 channel)...the h4n treats it as a stereo source and adjusts levels as a stereo track...you can't adjust ch1 input level independent of ch2. (my biggest disappointment with that device)

I've seen Plural Eyes demo'ed and it looks impressive, but nothing beats old fashioned organization :)

-Jason


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Kai Cheong
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Dec 28, 2010 at 3:34:40 pm

Hi Jason,

Got to admit - we got a little complacent with how well Pluraleyes worked on our previous shoots [which were more limited in complexity/number of shots], that we didn't go for the good 'ol fashioned clapper.

I'm not sure if you've seen the latest Firmware update for the H4N, but I believe it allows you to adjust each channel's level separately now: http://www.zoom.co.jp/english/download/software/h4n.php - that's what we've been working with recently. What would be REALLY cool is if it could split 1 XLR input into 2 channels and allow independent levels for each channel.

Kai
FCP Editor / Producer with Intuitive Films
http://kai-fcp-editor.blogspot.com
--
Now 'LIVE'! Check Out The Intuitive Films Blog @ http://intuitive-films.blogspot.com
At Intuitive Films, We Create: TV Commercials, Documentaries, Corporate Videos and Feature Films
Visit us @ http://www.intuitivefilms.com
--
MacBook Pro 2.4GHz | 4GB RAM | FCP 5.1.4 | Mac OS X 10.5.7

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Jason Brown
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Dec 28, 2010 at 4:06:08 pm

WOW...great find! Thanks so much...that will help considerably!

Good luck on your Plural Eyes question. I believe I saw Robbie Carman (he's a cow leader in Color) demo that software. He may offer some help if you don't get what you need here.

-Jason


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Naiche Lujan
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Dec 28, 2010 at 4:48:23 pm

You may be stretching the capabilities of pluraeyes to its limits. They say that you can process tons of footage. But, maybe you'll want to do it in smaller batches. Surely you can just pull 1/4 or 1/3 of that footage and see if it works better.

Let us know how it goes.

Naiche

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Walter Soyka
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Dec 28, 2010 at 5:32:33 pm

You might want to check out the new Mac OS X beta of DualEyes. It uses the same techology as PluralEyes, but the workflow is designed for syncing dual-system audio.

http://www.singularsoftware.com/dualeyes.html


In both cases, I'd think that you'd get better results if you can easily split audio and video into separate scenes.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
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Phil Balsdon
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Dec 28, 2010 at 8:08:49 pm

I use a 7D with the earlier Zoom H4. I shoot a lot of interview footage as a one man band crew and have to stop start the camera a lot during a question due to the max file size restriction, but I let the audio run. To keep the files reasonably organised I change the camera card and H4 card together. I then transfer (using "New Image" with Disc Utility on a Mac) and put these .dmg files (labeled video and audio) in the same folder on a hard drive. This is so as not to confuse the file naming protocol of the H4 which starts each card with 000 file number.

In post I then sync these files with PluralEyes a card at a time, with files loaded in correct sequence. This seems to keep the amount of work PluralEyes has to do to a manageable volume and keeps my original files organised for archiving.

The only time I've had a problem was with talent reading numerous takes of the same short pieces from a teleprompter - the wave forms were obviously very similar. In future I'd always id this type of recording with a visual and audio clap.

I would love an audio recorder that recorded time of day as this would make locating which audio and video files belonged together in the event of a problem.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Dec 28, 2010 at 10:20:48 pm

[Phil Balsdon] "I would love an audio recorder that recorded time of day as this would make locating which audio and video files belonged together in the event of a problem."

Done:

http://www.sounddevices.com/products/702t.htm

Let me guess. You don't want to pay for it? :)

Jeremy


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Phil Balsdon
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Dec 28, 2010 at 10:59:51 pm

I'll clarify that,

I would love an audio recorder that recorded time of day as this would make locating which audio and video files belonged together in the event of a problem.

And that's small and light weight enough to be attached to the camera when necessary.

Probably why I haven't upgraded to the H4n (which unlike the H4 doesn't have separate line and headphone out and therefore the headphone volume controls the line output volume) or the Tascam which looks easier / simpler to use than the H4n.

I'm sure if I wait it'll eventually be invented.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Dec 29, 2010 at 12:14:01 am

The 702t is "only" a couple of pounds. It's about as small and light as you can get for an all in one package with a full feature set.

I should add timecode is not easy otherwise everyone would do it..


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Michael Gissing
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Dec 29, 2010 at 8:45:09 pm

As Pluraleyes relies on comparing the guide audio to the double system files, perhaps part of your problem is the quality of the guide audio.

In noisy locations or where the camera is away from the audio source, use clapper boards as a backup to syncing.


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Alf Hanna
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Dec 30, 2010 at 7:48:18 am

It seems you have enough power to drive Pluraleyes. Should it take that long???? My experiences were not near as long, though I didn't run as many takes as you did... I've not experienced this long a churn. But yes, you've graduated to needing the 702t. Become a pro. Sounds like you are close already. Or an edirol??? Or just get a real HD camera with XLR in and record it properly to begin with? An AF100 might do the job. Do you really need a 7d or 5d to do this kind of simple recording? Ambitious might be a correct term, or using the right tool for the right job...I use my HMC 150 and Mixpre rather than my 7d for long running interviews. Or add an Edirol...Simplifies everything. You are working too hard for an interview....(G)

Alf


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Jason Brown
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Dec 30, 2010 at 1:00:54 pm

Hey alf,

While I agree that it is alot of work for an interview...it's a great look compared to a standard 1/3 or 2/3 type camera with standard efp or eng lens.

I think the solution is simply back to basics....clap a slate. We used to do it when film was only option.


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Alf Hanna
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Dec 30, 2010 at 6:04:09 pm

Agreed. Best of luck.

Alf


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Kai Cheong
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Dec 31, 2010 at 8:51:29 am

Hi all,

Good to see such a vigorous discussion and thanks for all the tips. An update on my situation: I've learnt my lesson not to throw all I have at Pluraleyes and expect it to sync while I scoot off. Paying penance for it now on New Year's Eve, redoing my sync and manually syncing the ones Pluraleyes can't manage ;)

A few things I'll be looking out for in future projects - both in terms of my own workflow and in instructions to my crew [I think I'm fortunate that our regular freelance DP is very open to suggestions to make my life easier!]

- Cam mic on the 5D needs to be turned on louder. Some of the audio was too soft since the shots were fairly wide

- Was clued in by another editor that if my shoot has a soundman, to feed a signal from the mixer into the 5D for clearer audio

- To break down and organize my footage into scenes before I pluraleyes them separately. It makes it more manageable for me to do my manual sync correction as well.

- Get my AP on set to slate [though for this current project, my director's loud "action!" is working very well as an audio slate]

I think the slating will help since like what Phil encountered, my talents are spouting similar lines so Pluraleyes got quite confused a few times.

The 5D + H4N combination works pretty well for our needs [nice visuals at a good budget] - in fact, we use it more than our Sony Z1-P. Just need to develop an efficient and logical workflow. For this project, it helped that our soundman had set the clock on the H4N, so there is some semblance of 'time of day TC', which made it easier for me to group the scenes.

Kai
FCP Editor / Producer with Intuitive Films
http://kai-fcp-editor.blogspot.com
--
Now 'LIVE'! Check Out The Intuitive Films Blog @ http://intuitive-films.blogspot.com
At Intuitive Films, We Create: TV Commercials, Documentaries, Corporate Videos and Feature Films
Visit us @ http://www.intuitivefilms.com
--
MacBook Pro 2.4GHz | 4GB RAM | FCP 5.1.4 | Mac OS X 10.5.7

8-Core Intel Mac Pro 2.26GHz | 8GB RAM | FCP 6.0.6 | Mac OS X 10.5.6 | 3.0TB CalDigit VR | 2 x 24" Dell S2409W


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Bruce Sharpe
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Jan 2, 2011 at 6:50:42 pm

Kai, send a message to support at singularsoftware dot com. That way we can get some more details and make specific suggestions. PluralEyes should be able to handle your project and we are always interested in investigating cases where it doesn't produce the expected results.

Bruce Sharpe
Singular Software

Bruce
--
Bruce Sharpe
Singular Software Inc.
http://www.singularsoftware.com


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Mike Fly
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Apr 7, 2011 at 3:27:07 pm

I've been using the H4n with my T2i for a while now and I've figured out how to make the syncing process work fairly efficiently - It's all about the guide track!

The most complicated workflow I've done so far was a 2-camera (T2i + 5D) and 7-audio channel (2x Zoom H4n) shoot.

It involved running a Primary H4N with (4 inputs) into a second H4n using the headphone jack (3 mic inputs plus the primary H4n).

Then I split the audio coming out of the Secondary H4n - one line to a set of headphones to monitor, the second I split again - one line to a wireless lav transmitter (the receiver went to our B-Cam) and then a hard line to our A-Cam as sync guide tracks for pluraleyes.

I shot and dumped cards on a per scene basis to keep media organized for post.

I used automator to rename the files off the cards (Zoom A and Zoom B) to the file names wouldn't be a problem.

Then in FCP all I had to do was drop A-Cam on V1 and B-Cam on V2 (both cams gave me a dual mono mix, so I deleted one of the audio tracks on each of them to lighten the workload for pluraleyes).

Then for the audio, I linked the 4 channels (I & M) for each Zoom's files and put them on tracks 3-6 (Primary H4n) and 7-10 (Secondary H4n).

I sync on a per-scene basis to keep the workload as light as possible for pluraleyes and now, I rarely have a problem.

I'm 30 episodes into a 50 episode web series, and it took me 4 shoot days (about 20 episodes) to figure out this system and it works great. Now my post process is flying by.

If I had another 5D or T2i and a wireless lav for a guide track, I feel confident I could add it to the mix as well.

The only hiccup I've had so far is that pluraleyes doesn't seem to like it when you have over 40 or 50 sequences in your project. I've had to break it down into 10-episode batches to keep pluraleyes from having issues.

- Mike


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Bruce Sharpe
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Apr 7, 2011 at 4:38:27 pm

That's creative!

The issues with having all sequences in the project at once would not be there in Final Cut Pro 7. I believe you are working with an earlier version.

Bruce
--
Bruce Sharpe
Singular Software Inc.
http://www.singularsoftware.com


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Mike Fly
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Apr 7, 2011 at 4:47:37 pm

I am - Version 6.06.

So in FCP 7 you can have an unlimited number of sequences in a project? That's sweet - that was really my only complaint!

pluraleyes is great software!

Mike Fly
themikefly.com


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Bruce Sharpe
Re: Workflow: Pluraleyes + FCP + 5D + H4N - Overambitious?
on Apr 7, 2011 at 5:14:32 pm

PluralEyes communicates to FCP through the XML representation of the project. When the project is very complex, that communication channel can break in FCP 6. FCP 7 changed how it works and it is much more robust.

Bruce
--
Bruce Sharpe
Singular Software Inc.
http://www.singularsoftware.com


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