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Re: Video and audio timecode sync questions

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Marc Wielage
Re: Video and audio timecode sync questions
on Jul 30, 2019 at 6:50:18 am

[Paul Page] "So that means they didn't sync it during filming and I have no other way but to manually connect it using clapper as a reference?"
Yes. That is the way motion pictures shot on film were synced for about 80 or 90 years. It's an annoyance, but it's possible to get good at it over time and you can do it very, very quickly. I've seen great assistants sync up 2 takes a minute, so if there's 200 takes total shot in a day, they get them all done in less than a couple of hours. If there's problems, maybe 3-1/2 hours. It's not that hard.

It is imperative for the camera crew and the sound crew to communicate so that every camera has a timecode box on it and the camera is in continuous jam mode. At least twice a day, the sound crew (who is generally in charge of timecode) should rejam the box and the timecode slate. And yes, you need a timecode slate just to confirm that the timecode on the slate is the same timecode in the camera, and that that timecode is also the same on the audio recorder.

I can recall a case where we had about 350 hours of material on Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stones: Shine a Light documentary, and almost half of it was synced by eye... because the camera operators failed to shoot slates. We had no timecode on the film, and just had to watch the movements of the musicians and figure out who was doing what, when, and where. Somehow, we got it done. So don't think what you're doing is undoable. It just takes hard work and stamina. (Or barring that, a great assistant.)


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