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Additional audio tracks slip out of sync in all FCP projects

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Petros Kolyvas
Additional audio tracks slip out of sync in all FCP projects
on Jan 11, 2011 at 3:30:35 am

I'm not sure where to begin with this one.

Ultimately, I was doing my usual thing: sent some audio out to be processed (Export XML). Processed the audio, brought it back into FCP. Audio drifts out of sync.

I tried a few other workflows that I have had no trouble with in the past. Every additional audio track (not recorded on with video) drifts out of sync. Even in workflows where I know the audio was in sync throughout previously.

Here's the thing, the waveforms also line-up perfectly. On the additional audio tracks however the audio plays well after the play-head moves over it.

The additional audio tracks have no frame-rate metadata. All audio is either 16-bit or 24-bit 48k AIFF or WAV audio.

Continuing along with the weirdness factor: if I export the audio from a video clip - say some audio that was recorded as single-system - put it directly below the very same audio recorded on the very same camera, it drifts out of sync even when no processing on the audio was performed (and even then it really shouldn't!)

Again, the waveforms align perfectly.

System is FCP 7.0.3 running on a 5,1 mac pro and 10.6.5. I have an MX02 for video monitoring and an RME FF800 for audio, but I disabled both during all testing to take them out of the equation.

Now, the one thing to factor out for me was capture-device-drift. So I imported a bunch of test clips that were displaying the issue in FCP to Premiere Pro CS5 on the same machine. The clips maintain sync throughout where they are nearly a second out of sync in FCP by the end (1 second drift after just 9 minutes.)

I'm not sure how to proceed at all... any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much folks. Really stumped here. It's been a rough week.

--
There is no intuitive interface, not even the nipple. It's all learned. - Bruce Ediger


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Michael Gissing
Re: Additional audio tracks slip out of sync in all FCP projects
on Jan 11, 2011 at 9:01:31 pm

Check that your default project settings match the sequence you are using. A difference in frame rate will cause audio drift on imported audio. This tutorial explains this (second half) and also shows a way to use XML to fix incorrect audio assets.

http://library.creativecow.net/lyon_matt/fixing-fcp-assets/1

Audio sync is a common topic here so searching would have given you a lot.


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Petros Kolyvas
Re: Additional audio tracks slip out of sync in all FCP projects
on Jan 12, 2011 at 3:34:15 am

Here's the thing, we have two mac pros with FCP 7.0.3 - both rooms are setup exactly the same way the only difference is one Mac Pro is older than the other. Both have the same software and updates. On one, everything works as it should, on the new(er) of the two. It does not. I just duplicated all the tests and on one system no-drift, other system, drift.

The giveaway is that the visual display of the waveforms on A3+ matches A1 and A2, exactly. Yet the audio plays back on those tracks, delayed.

Stumped.

Thanks for the link and the reply.

With respect to projects rate and audio rate; I use Sound Devices wave agent (since most of my audio is recorded on an SD product) to make sure any audio coming in matches the sequence settings. We also use workflows with lots of varied sequence settings and we've never had trouble round-tripping audio before.

As noted at the top of this post - our workflows work fine on one of the two systems, and now no longer (though they were working fine) work fine on the other.

--
There is no intuitive interface, not even the nipple. It's all learned. - Bruce Ediger


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Michael Gissing
Re: Additional audio tracks slip out of sync in all FCP projects
on Jan 12, 2011 at 5:41:21 am

The other possibility is if you have up to date drivers for your I/O cards. I had a sync playback issue on my Kona3 card a while back which was solved by a driver update.


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Petros Kolyvas
Re: Additional audio tracks slip out of sync in all FCP projects
on Jan 12, 2011 at 6:02:32 am

I am starting to wonder the same thing. I have a blasted MXO2 card in the newer Mac Pro. Although I've disabled it from within Final Cut Pro the 2.x drivers have been a nightmare of known-but-unreported bugs. Perhaps you're right and this newest driver (installed just before Christmas, is the culprit.

Since it can't hurt I'm going to uninstall the device and see if some headway can't be made.

For the time being all sync-sound related duties are being done on the older machine. Those projects open up fine even on the new one.

Thanks for the advice. I'll try it tomorrow and get back to this thread. ;)

--
There is no intuitive interface, not even the nipple. It's all learned. - Bruce Ediger


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Petros Kolyvas
Re: Additional audio tracks slip out of sync in all FCP projects
on Jan 13, 2011 at 7:19:25 am

Well it's 2am. After a long day of work I decided to run through the tests.

I uninstalled the MXO2 (driver 2.1.x - most recent). Setup a sequence, synced some double-system audio to the appropriate clips and sync was maintained.

I then re-installed the MXO2. Lo and behold: it's fine now. I'm going to do a few final tests, but it seems uninstalling and reinstalling the MXO2 was the ticket.

Thanks a million! :)

--
There is no intuitive interface, not even the nipple. It's all learned. - Bruce Ediger


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Stephen Pritchard
Re: Additional audio tracks slip out of sync in all FCP projects
on Mar 9, 2011 at 4:08:20 pm

I am having a similar problem with an 8-core Mac Pro (MacPro 3,1) - no external hardware other than a DVCAM deck, no expansion cards or drivers.

Audio slips significantly over even a 5 minute clip when I import audio from a separate sound recorder (at 48/24).

If I open the same clips on my MacBook Pro - using FCP's default settings - I don't have the issue at all.

I have tried setting the Default Sequence to ProRes 422 1280x720p (closest I can find to match video settings of the camera) but it doesn't seem to help on the MacPro, whereas the laptop seems happy, whatever I throw at it.

Any advice very welcome.


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Petros Kolyvas
Re: Additional audio tracks slip out of sync in all FCP projects
on Mar 9, 2011 at 4:36:11 pm

Have you tried clearing all of FCP's preferences? It's no fun to set them back up but perhaps it's what solved my own issue. I'm pretty sure Matrox's driver install/uninstall routine does something of the sort - so that may be what did it for me in the end. I realise you're not using Matrox hardware but I think this is an FCP issue.

Some people I know recommend this utility: http://www.digitalrebellion.com/prefman/
(Though I've always simply trashed them manually.)

I hope it helps! This issue is one of the most annoying I've come across.

--
There is no intuitive interface, not even the nipple. It's all learned. - Bruce Ediger


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Stephen Pritchard
Re: Additional audio tracks slip out of sync in all FCP projects
on Mar 9, 2011 at 6:44:09 pm

Thanks Petros

Trashing the prefs has indeed worked, so your advice was spot on.

As I work with various video formats (surely the point of FCP7) I'd be keen to know if there's another workround, as if I have to move between, say, HDV or DVCAM from our Z1 and our DSRL footage and trash prefs in between it could become annoying quite quickly.

But at least I can finish this edit now!

Stephen


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Michael Gissing
Re: Additional audio tracks slip out of sync in all FCP projects
on Mar 9, 2011 at 9:13:42 pm

The problem is usually the frame rate and timecode type of the default FCP project not matching exactly the project you are importing the audio into. Wrong sample/ bit rate or compressed formats like mp3 is the next most common problem


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Petros Kolyvas
Re: Additional audio tracks slip out of sync in all FCP projects
on Mar 10, 2011 at 3:29:04 am

Hi Michael,

I've seen this advice suggested frequently, however in my small office we have three Final Cut Studio seats. Only on one system did the issue appear and simply opening up the project on another machine (which often completely different defaults) fixed the audio-sync-drift issue as Stephen noted.

To further illustrate the point, the machine with the sync problems was showing them even after Pluraleyes would complete the sync process. And round-tripping audio also resulted in the same kind of drift. Opening all these projects on other FCP workstations showed no such issues, so in this particular case the "default settings" mismatch isn't applicable.

Other options that are often suggested include checking the framerate of audio, but even using something like Sound Devices Wave Agent to set the framerate of the audio in the broadcast wave headers to match the project/footage didn't help on the system that was affected; only trashing the preferences did and I was initially remiss to do that because of loosing my setup.

However, at least it's a simple fix - it would just be nice to know why it's happening.

--
There is no intuitive interface, not even the nipple. It's all learned. - Bruce Ediger


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Petros Kolyvas
Re: Additional audio tracks slip out of sync in all FCP projects
on Mar 10, 2011 at 3:24:27 am

Well I'm very glad it worked for you! :)

Once I "fixed" the issue it hasn't come back in some time - having used footage from Canon DSLRs, DVCProHD, AF100 AVCCAM and others.

I think that tool I linked to will allow you to back up your preferences when they're "functional" such that you can restore them after having to trash them. I will try it out next time the "fix" is required. ;)

--
There is no intuitive interface, not even the nipple. It's all learned. - Bruce Ediger


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