Syncing Footage During Production

Syncing Footage During Production

Many cameras lack an easy way to jam sync timecode across multiple angles (in fact some even lack timecode).  This can make it much harder to synchronize multiple angles or audio and video sources. This means you’ll have to use an audio or visual cue to match your video and audio tracks when recording synced sound or multi camera workflows.

Here are a few tips for the field to make the editing easier in Adobe Premiere Pro:

  • Use a Reference Mic: If all angles have decent audio (even reference sound) the Synchronize command can use the Audio tracks.  This method is new to Adobe Premiere Pro CC and works very well (but it shouldn’t be the only method you plan for).
  • Use a clapboard: There’s a reason why film productions use a clapboard. When picture and sound are recorded to two different systems, it makes synchronizing easy because there is a visual and audio cue point. If using multiple cameras, be sure to point all cameras at the clapboard for the initial sync and to re-sync if any camera stops recording. The benefit of using a slate carries through to tapeless acquisition as well. Simply place the slate in frame before you roll. Then you can actually see the slate when viewing clips as thumbnails. This will make it easier to identify takes when browsing your Adobe Premiere Pro bins.
  • Use a slate application: Several applications for smartphones allow you to load information about the production. They can also generate a countdown slate and sync point. I like DSLR Slate.
  • Use an audio sync point: You may need to sync from an audio sync point. Be sure to expand your waveforms in the Adobe Premiere Pro timeline so you can see similar patterns. The sync point might be a clap, the start of applause, or the first word of a speech—just find something in common on all tracks.
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About the author

Contributor Gary Adcock specializes in creating and streamlining workflows for Episodic and Feature Production and Post-Production. Gary's extensive knowledge in Camera Technology, Image Acquisition and OnSet Data workflows is regarded by many as one of the most knowledgeable resources in the industry. With emphasis on understanding camera and production technologies and how they relate to post production and delivery. Gary assisted in writing the Data Handling Procedures and Best Practices documentation for IATSE Local 600 (Cinematographers Guild) as part of an ongoing education initiative project. Gary also regularly contributes to Macworld Magazine, as well as now being a regular contributor on, he is also a moderator and blogger at Gary’s client list includes: Adobe, Aja Video, Apple, Arri, Autodesk, Sony, Panasonic, and JVC. Media outlets like CNN, MSNBC, Discovery Networks, MTV, WGBH (Antiques Roadshow), FOX, National Geographic Inc. and the Nat Geo Networks worldwide. Commercial clients include such prestigious brands as McDonalds, Taco Bell, HBO, MLB, NASA, Citibank, NBA Entertainment and NFL Films. Recent Production Work has included Transformers Dark Side of the Moon 2011 (3nd unit), Just Like a Women (2012) (data and dailies colorist), NBC's Playboy Club (camera tech), ABC's Detroit 187 (remote recording technologies). Gary can be followed on Twitter @garyadcock or on his new Wordpress blog about Technology and the Chicago food scene at

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