Audio/Visual Sync for DSLR Cameras


DSLR cameras lack actual timecode, which makes it 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 to a high quality audio recorder.

Here are a few tips for the field to make editing easier:

  • Use a clapboard. There's a reason film productions use a clapboard. When picture and sound are recorded to two different systems, it makes it easy to synchronize, 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. Just 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 exist for smart phones that allow you to load information about the production. They can also generate a countdown slate and sync point.
  • Use an audio sync point. You may need to sync from an audio sync point. Be sure to expand your waveforms in the 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—just find something in common on all tracks.

For more on DSLR video, check out From Still to Motion.