December 30, 2014

How to Automatically Sync Dual-System Audio in Premiere Pro (With & Without PluralEyes)

Dual System Audio Syncing Premiere Pro CC
Dual-system audio is by far the best way for low-budget filmmakers to maximize sound quality, especially when using a camera with poor built-in audio capabilities. The only problem: syncing that audio with your video can be a major pain in the ass.

In Premiere Pro, this can be done several different ways. Traditionally, you would manually line up the clapping sound made by the slate in both the primary and scratch audio tracks, then replace the scratch track with the higher quality version. This technique is fine if you only have to sync a few clips, but it can get tedious and time-consuming the more you have to sync. The more well-known option is a nifty piece of software called PluralEyes, which automatically syncs your audio in just a few clicks. Unfortunately, at $200, PluralEyes isn't necessarily within reach for the most frugal of filmmakers. But for those of you who need to automatically sync audio with video, Premiere Pro actually has a built-in feature which lets you do just that.

So without any further ado, here are the ways in which you can sync dual-system audio in Premiere Pro, starting with the method that's built right in to the software. This comes courtesy of TunnelVizionTV.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCmMB5o_mBA

Here's Web Video Chefs to show you how it is done with PluralEyes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqDcgbNgu80

And if you're in a bind and don't have access to either of the previous options (maybe you're using an older version of Premiere), you can always get the same results with the manual method, or by using one of these techniques. That is, if you're willing to put in the time.

How do you go about syncing dual-system audio, either in Premiere or in any other NLE? Let us know down in the comments!     

Your Comment

17 Comments

Well, that's great! I wasn't aware of this functionality in Premiere Pro. Should try this out very soon. Are the results always accurate? Any users here?

December 30, 2014 at 3:45PM

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Kasper Mols
Writer/Director
241

Well, the easiest way of syncing dual system recordings in Premiere is not shown here. Why? OK - here's how:
Put all the clips you want to sync into a bin. Select them all, and choose Create Multi-Camera Source Sequence. Choose to sync by audio (or TC or In or Out Points or Markers) and watch Premiere do its magic. If it's one recording, you get one source sequence. If it's five takes, you get five sequences. I thin you get the idea?
For the sort of material shown in the videos above, this would be faster and easier than the two methods used. Premiere has GREAT built-in syncing tools. Merge Clips is my least favorite one, as it requires me to know what clips belong together, and it screws up my favorite shortcuts Q and W.

Using MultiCam syncing instead, I don't need to know what clips belong together, and I can still use Q and W as normal. Automatic, fast and easy.

Why would I ever want to do it the slow and cumbersome ways?

December 30, 2014 at 4:29PM

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Jarle Leirpoll
Film Maker, Editor and Director of Photography
170

Nice tip!

It looks like that only works if there's in one audio clip per video clip. I often let the audio recorder run during multiple takes - in which case Pluraleyes does a great job.

January 1, 2015 at 11:07PM

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Nik
74

Thanks for the great tip!

January 9, 2015 at 5:14PM

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"So what can we do that will make PluralEyes' heads explode?" -overheard at Adobe HQ

December 30, 2014 at 4:34PM

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Umm, both these videos demonstrate the same method for syncing audio inside of Premiere Pro. The second video is not a demonstration on how to use Plural Eyes.

December 30, 2014 at 5:27PM, Edited December 30, 5:27PM

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Oh shit, I embedded the wrong video! Sorry about that. Should be fixed now.

December 30, 2014 at 6:15PM

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Rob Hardy
Founder of Filmmaker Freedom
4496

But when we have many audio and video files , sometimes , the program get wrong to try to synchronize automatically. This only works when selecting (two) a file at a time?

December 30, 2014 at 6:58PM

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Giovani ZIlke
Youtuber
74

I just spent many hours syncing thousands of clips for a feature film in Premiere. The problem with these automated tools is that they assume that all mics recorded relatively the same sound. But when you have 6 lavs and a few boom mics recording different actors and positioned differently, some of them record very different audio, especially compared to any scratch audio from the camera... and automated systems like this don't handle different audio well. So you end up spending the time selecting the files, waiting for it to process, only to have it fail to sync them, and you're forced to sync it manually anyways, costing you extra time. Most of the time, once you get into a rhythm, I can sync audio manually as fast as it would be to select the clips in Premiere and wait for the automated system to do it's thing. These tools have their use, but there are many situations where it fails. I just invested in Tentacle on IndieGogo, a new low-cost timecode system from some guys in Germany. I'm hoping this will prevent me from ever having to worry about syncing video and audio again.

December 30, 2014 at 9:59PM

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Michael Gyori
Editor, Camera Op
168

The programs don't assume you are recording the same sound, they require it. What you are doing is not what they are designed for. Unless you can have everyone stand next to the clapper so that it picks them up clearly, you are asking to do more work. The only way to sync various sources the way you describe would be with timecode which is much more expensive.

January 1, 2015 at 6:52PM, Edited January 1, 6:52PM

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Todd Gunn
Cinematographer, Editor
81

Yes, I understand this, and why this software is not usually useful. This is why I recommended to buy Tentacle, an inexpensive timecode generator ($500 USD).

February 21, 2015 at 12:24AM

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Michael Gyori
Editor, Camera Op
168

*WARNING*

Adobe is aware of the following issue, as I and many others have brought up this issue to them. Hopefully a workaround is in progress:

The main issue with merging clips is that it creates a new track with the video and audio clip, and for people who do everything in CC or premiere, this severely messes up offline workflows. We cannot generate XML's or EDL's for round trip workflows to grade our projects in Resolve. There are some workarounds, painful ones, but if you round trip, please be advised.

December 31, 2014 at 12:02AM

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Steve L
74

You have be kind of careful on the native Premiere sync - I've been noticing a slight drift mismatch between scratch and clean audio. It's less than a frame - about 1/2 a frame or so.

December 31, 2014 at 12:18AM

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Unfortunately, at $600/yr, Premiere Pro isn't necessarily within reach for the most frugal of filmmakers.

December 31, 2014 at 6:21AM, Edited December 31, 6:21AM

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Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
1071

Unfortunately, merging clips in Premiere Pro turns a stereo track into mono.

December 31, 2014 at 4:17PM, Edited December 31, 4:17PM

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The first time I tried it I used Premiere Pro's sync capability. I found that if I manually got the audio close, it would work fairly nicely. But I had one audio and two video+audio tracks and I discovered multi-camera editing and it's been easy peasy every since. I am SO impressed.

January 4, 2015 at 9:39PM, Edited January 4, 9:39PM

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Jackie Burhans
Partner Enablement
81

Thanks for having great tips at one place ;)

One year ago I realized, that there are a lot of not professional people who want to shoot video at a distance, for example, while having sound recorded separately.

AND there is a BIG PROBLEM for majority! HOW TO SYNC?

I and my team came up with a solution, it called MICROPHONE ROCKS (www.microphone.rocks)

It Allows to shoot video using two smart devices, one as a camera and another as a microphone.

Everything sync AUTOMATICALLY at your smartphone. AND you never need to spend time on computer doing synchronization. Check it out: www.microphone.rocks

May 14, 2015 at 1:09AM

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Vladislav Suleymanov
Founder of Argo Brothers Inc.
88