I’m not so sure anyone act


I’m not so sure anyone actually answered your queries. So rather than do the insane thing and argue about NLE’s with people who seem to know little about either your problem or just production in general. I did see an individual mention there is only a single video track in your preffered NLE. And is that really accurate? The only NLE’s I’ve encountered with just a single video track come installed with the Operating System. So I’d like to assume thatPinnacle Studio does in fact have at least 2 tracks for video & audio on your timeline.

When you are logging your footage (also known as a careful viewing with a note pad) be especially vigilant at locating any time either camcorder is stopped & started. Obviously you can only synch up video when they were both recording. But also examine the footage with an eye to which camera has the majority of “keepers” during any time both camcorders were recording. Later we’ll call this the “master shot” or our base video track. After logging the tapes, maybe with your brother (and you may want to watch the video 2 or 3 times to become familiar with it,) You can take them & your notes into the edit suite.

Once you’re in your suite, you first should set your NLE timeline to display audio as a waveform. The first editing task is put our 1st base track segment on the lowest level of our NLE timeline. Now you drop the camera with slightly fewer keepers on the video track right above our first video track. (See why I called the “master shot” the BASE?) It is very unlikely you & your bro started your cameras at even close to the same instant. The first step in synching the two tracks is to locate the same phrase/word on each of the tracks (it works just as well with as many tracks as you’d care to record. I’m generally shooting with three camcorders.) Then you just drag video/audio tracks so the words start at nearly the same time. You can test the accuracy of your guess by playing back the timeline and listening for either an echo or a noticeable delay. The shorter the echo, the closer you are to perfect synch. If you’re off by less than a second (a strong echo in playback) or delayed by a second or two. To make this task easier, you can also place a vertical marker of some sort right at the start of a word. Just look at the waveform audio for the flattest spot before the talking begins and place the marker (or you can write down the exact frame you want to use.) Now look for the same waveform pattern in the other audio track, or play it back and stop just before they speak (it’s easy with only a little practice.) Put you cursor on that spot on the audio track and slide it until the cursor is near the marker. Play the timeline again, listening for the echo. Once you have the echo effect, you are within frames of perfect synch, expand your timeline view to less than 10 seconds from end to end. (It’s nice to do this with the marker in the center, rather than expanding and then searching for the marker.) At this level, you should see enough detail in the waveforms of the audio tracks to easily grab one & just slide it till the patterns match. I generally find it easiest to do this in stages, first get close enough you get the sound like a “Japanese movie” then expand the time line to the 10 seconds or so. Visually match the waveforms and test the synch, sometimes I expand to less than 3 seconds across the timeline. It is much harder to match the waveforms when they are recording different noises with the matching voices. That’s when I move in tight on clunks and bangs both camcorders recorded. (And by the way. I did match-cut editing when all we had was linear analogue to work with.)

If you’re unable to to use the easiest method, visual audio synching, then you can do the same by trial-and-error. What you need to do is eliminate the echo effect we hear when the same sound is repeated less than a second later. You slowly work your way to get the echo and just continue moving one track a few frames one way or the other. Did the echo increase or decrease? Move it the same way a few frames if it decreased. Or if it increased, perform an Undo and move a few frames the opposite direction. (Don’t despair, I taught dozens of senior citizens how to do this on those old analogue tape decks. All totally by the listening method of match-cut synching.)

Once your first segment of match cut editing is in synch, you’re ready to start editing. Here’s where the notes come in in handy. As you start previewing your timeline, you have some idea of which camera has a good shot coming up and which camera would be better hidden shortly. With the two videos atop each other, it is a simple matter to split & trim your way along the timeline. Here’s how it works in practice. Let’s assume the base shot was started before the other shot. So we start our preview and at the point the other camera started the preview cuts to it. Generally speaking, you won’t want to switch right away. You want to establish the mood and determine what sort of edit pacing you need. But at some point, we want to switch away from the base shot. Previewing the video we begin watching the shot we don’t want (covering the shot we do want) until a time comes when you wan to switch shots. Position the cursor at the transition point and trim the upper video track so it starts at the cursor. (Please be aware of what this does to your audio track. Ideally, you can trim & split just the video track by adjusting defaults or menu selections.) If you don’t like cuts between the shots, I’ve found a 20 frame dissolve gives a nice sense of transition. Once you have fine-tuned the placement of the transition, we start previewing again. This time we are watching the shot we want to keep, until we don’t want to keep in any longer. Then we stop & place the cursor at the spot we want to transition back to the base shot. This time we split the video track. (I like to trim the video coming up (on the right side of the cursor) a few seconds so I can fine tune the transition placement.) And review from the last edit (or more) to make sure things are actually going like i think they are going. And during one of the previews I’m happy and just continue beyond the edit and suddenly the other shot cuts in (before I need it to cut in) and I’m back to watching for the next time I want to use the video track I’m previewing. And we trim the left side of our edit and split the video on the right side of the edit. Over & over & over & over, until it’s done. If you’re working with three camcorders, I recommend working on one track at a time, then using another pass to work out problems when several or no camcorders had good shots. By the way this works the same if drop the 2nd camcorder video on top of the base shot, if your NLE allows that. Then you can conserve video tracks for title & graphic effects.

I think you’ll find this the easiest method match-cut editing. By the way, don’t even think you can synch tapes using visual clues. If you know in advance, your could have someone stand in front of both camcorders, zoom then in and have your helper clap their hands above their head. But even this trick only puts you into the “echo range.” In synching two AV tracks, your viewers will not be able to identify lack of lip synch of several frames when hearing only one audio track. And even you’ll have a hard time doing it solely with visual clues. So don’t even try it, okay?

Next topic, matching the images. Friends & family are the most forgiving of all production quirks. So you can just use the video as it was captured. But we both know that friends & family want to see each other in normal color, but if you want to do adjustments, stick to the four qualities of a video signal (brightness, contrast, hue & saturation) to make cuts a bit less jarring (if they are) Or you can use my trick of dissolving through small differences (you know the 20 frame dissolve.) And by the way, in that speech you spoke about. If you have the speakers covered & your brother just shot the audience reactions, you don’t actually need to have the camcorders synched for editing in your brother’s best shots. But let me warn you that most people remember the event well enough that they will recognize the CU’s are not appearing when they actually happened. But if you’re a second one way or the other, it generally won’t matter since neither shot shares elements. But if at some point during the speech, the speaker talked about a person in the audience & your brother has good coverage of his reactions, but you want to get a sense of interaction without inter-cutting, the picture-in-picture effect works nicely. Otherwise, I’m not much of a fan of bells & whistles in family videos. People want to see as much as you’ve got, condensed for easy viewing.

So I hope I gave you an idea of how to construct your workflow for your match-cut editing situation. Just remember, the biggest mistake by beginners in match-cut editing is trying to synch by visual clues. It’s a quick way to get close, but it takes audio to make the match. Unless one camcorder is, like, a city block away from the other so it takes different lengths of time for the sound to arrive at each camcorder. That seldom occurs indoors, especially in a place people live.

Have fun with the post. Hope it turns out better than your brother expected.

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