Getting Camcorders to sync

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    • #37432

      I have 2 consumer camcorders. A Sony DCR-TRV260 (Digital 8) and DCR-TRV27 (Mini DV).

      I frequently have to record an event with both, and then come back and edit using Adobe Premiere Pro.

      When I record, the Digital 8 camcorder is stationary on a stand and the Mini DV is mobile. The Digital 8 records the entire event and I use the Mini DV to capture some close ups and different angles. The problem I am having is trying to sync everything up when I get back to Adobe Premiere.

      I know there is something called time code and SMPTE, but Im not sure if that is what I need to accomplish what I need to do. If I am missing something, I would greatly appreciate any help, suggestions or links.

      Thanks in advance!


    • #165921

      The problem here is that the camera you are using dont have means of creating timecode. They do have counters, but alas, it’s not the same. SMPTE timecode is a set of cooperating standards to label individual frames of video or film with a timecode defined by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE).

      How long are the productions you are taping?

      One sure fire method of syncing the two is using a “slate”. You know the clapping thing you see in movies, “Scene two, take one.” CLAP! Its that clapping thing that they use to sync film with the audio which is being recorded with a seperate device. They would line up the film at the first frame of the clap, and the audio at the first sound of the clap. A method of syncing that has been used for almost a century. You want to point both camera’s at the slate and clap it. This way in post production you can line up both recordings at the exact millisecond the slate claps. The problem with this though, is as soon as you change tapes you need to do it again. If the production is shorter than the length of tape your set! Also, don’t feel that you have to go out and purchase a real slate, a good well defined hand clap works just as well.

      There is another method that the fine people at Apple developed. Using Apple Final Cut you can use multi clipping. It is a very powerful method of live switching in a post production enviroment. That’s another thread entirely though.

      Hope this helps,


    • #165922
      Grinner Hester

      You’ll save a lot of time by visually syncing once and placing camera two on v2. The, as you edit subtractivly, you can keep both cameras in sync. You can then just lift out what you dont want on v2, revealing v1.

      This allows to to sync once and just edit rather than waiste time finding a match per event.

    • #165923

      Both posts offer great advice.But keep in mind that you not only have to mark your time with a defined clap when you switch tapes, but also if you pause a camera. Your best bet is to mark it and let them run. If you end up having to switch tapes you will need a new clap, but not necessarily at the beginning of the tape. Assuming your event ends on with tape in both cameras, you can clap at the end and use that for syncing. You would just have to capture both tapes, go to the first frame with audio from the clap on camera one and split the clip. Do this again for camera two andline them up on your timeline. Select both of them and extend the clips backwards until you reach the beginning. If your NLE has multi cam than you can edit that way or like Grinner said, cut way from your top clip to show the clip below when you want that angle.If all else fails you can use a distinct motion or sound from your event if it is in both frames or is audible on both cameras. I have used a guitar players hands, priest’s wave of the hand, and once even a cough from the crowd. Use your eyes to find the syncing point, but use your ears to make sure they are sync’d properly. It is easier to hear when you are off by even 1 frame than it is to see it. Most importantly, keep the cameras rolling. Unless you have time code or can mark your scenes easily it is not worth the headache of syncing multiple times just to save some tape.


    • #165924

      Also, my experience has been that it’s easier if you break your video into segments at natural pointsin the action. I’ve shot using as many as

      four cameras. The best way that I’ve found is to zoom in on asound eventon your maincamera and mark the point on your timeline, then

      slide the other video tracks to match. If there is applause, there is almost alwayssomeone who claps first, that works great.

      You may start to see some “drift” after several minutes, which is why it’s a good idea to break the edit up. This also works if you recorded

      your audio separately with a digital recorder. Listen to both audio tracks. As you move closer and closer to sync you’ll hear the audio come

      into phase. Then mute the “unwanted” audio track.

      Hope that helps.

      Bob Belongie

      Belongie Entertainment Enterprises

    • #165925

      Good point on the drift, especially when mixing tape formats like that. It will be fairly obvious when you start hearing an echo on the dialogue.

    • #165926

      Very good points on using the audio to match up the clips. I did a play recently with 2 cameras and was fortunate to have very little drift.

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