A great way to sync your DSLR and sync-sound footage is with a stand-alone, third-party application called DualEyes from Singular Software (www.singularsoftware.com/dualeyes.html). What’s really cool is that DualEyes can sync your DSLR video clips and your separate high-quality audio recordings before you import them into Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid etc. It creates a new video clip containing the good audio married to the original video, so there is no loss in video quality. Plus, your original files remain untouched on your drive.
In my tests, DualEyes was significantly faster than Final Cut Pro X's automatic syncing (but it will set you back $149).
Here is a quick overview of how DualEyes works.
1. Launch the DualEyes application.
2. Click the New Project button.
3. Give the project a descriptive name, and select a location where you want to save the project. I suggest saving in a media folder related to the project you are syncing because DualEyes does create new media and temp files when it runs. The application also generates a report file that you can peruse to determine any problem clips.
4. Drag in the video and audio files that you want to sync or click the Add Media button (the plus symbol).
Officially, you can add multiple video files, but it is best to stick with only one good audio file. This is not multi-camera prep, so you should only put video in from one camera or camera angle. Don’t throw everything in at once. With that said, I dumped in the sound track from a concert and every video angle (even a few random clips), and it did an excellent job of matching the sound.
5. Click the Options menu and choose from the following options:
- Replace Audio for MOV and AVI files. DualEyes will create a new file that contains the video from the original clip and the synced audio for MOV and AVI files. Make sure you select this option, or you won’t get a new self-contained movie file with clean audio.
- Correct Drift. Cameras can record at 24P, 29.97i, and so on. Audio devices like to keep rates at 30 frames per second. These timing differences between the audio and video can sometimes cause drift, which means audio and video could be perfectly synced in one segment of the video but unsynced in a different segment. The Correct Drift option corrects this so that everything is in sync all the time. This problem tends to show up in very long recordings.
- Level Audio. Before DualEyes, the creator of the software had a great product used by podcasters worldwide called the Levelator. This product did a wonderful job of smoothing out variations in sound. Well, that’s built into DualEyes. If your audio levels vary a lot between clips, DualEyes can normalize the audio levels. If you’ve recorded from a professional soundboard at a venue, this might be overkill, but for interviews and most other situations, it works great. It’s almost always safe to use this option, but it will take a bit longer to process.
6. Click the scissors button to start synchronizing clips.
7. You can monitor progress within the app and view the Output column to track progress. When it’s done, you will see a new clip that contains the good audio and the good video (minus the bad audio). You will find this movie in the same folder as the original movie with the bad audio. Its name will be appended with “_from_” and then the name of the good audio file you referenced.
8. Simply import it into Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro, or Avid and you are good to go.
DualEyes is a popular choice with those who need to prepare footage to hand off to clients or other team members. It’s popular because it’s fast and it saves several steps at the editing stage (which often get screwed up due to poor communication). I recommend you download the free demo and try it out.