Final Cut Pro X Tutorial: Syncing Audio
Most DSLR shooters are already aware of PluralEyes and DualEyes. But the new version of Final Cut X will also sync external audio recorders with DSLR audio files. This lesson shows you how.
Without any pre-rendering, I imported the files. (I’ve heard that you can edit H.264 files from DSLR live, and I’m pleased to report it works fine — although reports say that for best — an perhaps quicker — response time, it’s recommended that you ProRes the files.
Not more decompressing slowing down my workflow!
Much easier than that:
- Open Final Cut X and select New Project (name the project) — Final Cut will keep (and show) your entire media library for all of your projects, so naming them and keeping your footage in organized folders is essential and wise. A) You can choose to set the video properties to your first clip or custom set it.
B) Set audio and render properties.
- Select File Import (or Import From Camera) The library list looks like this sorted by date with the list view:
- Choose the settings you want and take note of “Create optimized media”
A) Select your clips and tell the computer to either add it to an existing Event or create a new one.
B) Under Transcoding, check “Create optimized media” and Final Cut X will render it into an Apple ProRes 422 — and render it in the background as you start examining your clips and even editing them. The original files will get replaced by the ProRes files as it completed the render!
C) Also note you can select “Analyze for stabilization and rolling shutter” –allowing Final Cut to tell you what part of the clips contain undo shakiness and/or rolling shutter. You can correct them later. (It’s not doing it for you until you decide you want it to happen.) See, for example, this menu screen after I chose this selection:
- It not only lists the files with “Excessive Shake,” but it marks it on the clip where the shakiness occurs, so you can fine tune it in the Inspector window, later.In addition, you can select color balance analysis, select shots that contain people (for organization, especially good for documentary interviews). Furthermore, Final Cut will also examine audio issues (and tell you which ones have issue after you select).
It’s as simple as that. What about synching audio? Do I need to use PluralEyes or DualEyes?
Frankly, I’ve never been able to get my version of PluralEyes to work successfully. As more users try this new feature in Apple, perhaps it’ll be hit or miss — but when I did a test this morning, it worked well.
Syncing external audio
I tested with a Rode NTG-2 shotgun microphone hooked up to the left channel of the Tascam DR-100, and just used my Canon 5D Mark II’s built-in mic as a reference.
After importing the files, I did the following:
- Select the video and audio clips to synchronize This will create a new synchronized compound clip:
- Drag this to the storyline and right click it, selecting “Open in Timeline”. This will reveal the compound clip: Play the clip and make sure that everything is lined up properly. Next we need to replace the original. (There’s probably a menu option that allows you to automatically replace synced audio, but I haven’t found it.)
- Right click on the original audio and select “Detach Audio.”This will result in the original audio being moved below the external audio clip:
- Delete the original audio.
- Since the shotgun mic recorded only in one channel (left), you will only hear the audio coming from that one channel. If you want it coming through both left and right, then select the external audio clip and open the Inspector panel (Command-4). Expand the Channel Configuration and select: “Dual Mono.”
This will put the one channel of audio into both channels.
Final Cut X for artists not engineers (some initial thoughts)
The difference between this software and the previous versions was the lack of intuitive interface — a design more for engineers than artists. Final Cut X is for artists. And despite the fact that many rumors floated around that this is not a “Pro” version or a iMovie Pro, those rumors are likely based on the fact that Final Cut X allows users to import iMovie projects. Whatever. I can see why Apple wants to cater to this market, but since I’ve never used iMovie, I just overlook that and look under the hood — which is way more than iMovie (one person said it was like comparing a bicycle to a motorcycle). It doesn’t have all the features of the Final Cut Suite, but what it does have is intuitive and will likely meet most everyone’s need.
Some people probably appreciated the rocket-science knowledge needed to use Apple Color, for example, but in the version incorporated into Final Cut X it’s intuitive. I’ve also used Premiere and Avid and found them clunky and non-intuitive to learn. For those who want the old version, you’re welcome to it. I’m moving on, because my frustration level of not only using it, but also teaching it to beginning students in my intro to video class is way beyond frustrating. Final Cut X will be much easier to teach because of it’s intuitive nature while at the same time retaining application power.
For example, I was able to shape a mask over a person’s head, and by clicking on keyframes, I was able to map the motion of the person’s movement without any fuss or frustration—or a manual. I figured it out intuitively.
In addition, Final Cut X includes elements of Soundtrack Pro, so, in essence, you only need this version for $299 to do most DSLR projects.
With the new version, I find the intuitive nature of the software refreshing. It’s a new paradigm for editing and a joy to use.
I will cover the basics of Color and Audio in future posts.