Almost everyone has seen the image of a film set when the cameras start rolling and someone steps into the shot with a slate, calls out the scene, and then slams the sticks to get things going. “Action!”
It’s an indelible image of filmmaking, but does it still have a place in the world of digital filmmaking?
The short answer is, YES!
This is especially true if you are working any kind of dual audio system, where you are recording audio using a dedicated audio recorder not connected to your primary camera.
The clapper/loader (the traditional name for the set position that runs the clap-board and also would load film into the camera) announces the scene and take number so that the editor can match up the audio file with the correct camera shots.
But this can be extremely tedious work – I know, I’ve done it by hand. Enter PluralEyes…
Thoughts On PluralEyes
PluralEyes is a program by the extremely talented folks over at Red Giant that is designed to make the process of synching multiple videos and audio sources easy. The software operates simply – you import your audio and video files, and then hit the synch button.
PluralEyes then goes to work examining the audio waveforms on both your video and audio files, then rearranges the clips so that the waveforms match up correctly. Once the synch is complete it exports an XML file for your editing program of choice which easily imports and becomes a synched timeline.
PluralEyes is designed to make your editor’s life easier, which is something any editor will appreciate.
There are a couple of options and features that must be highlighted.
If you have problems getting PluralEyes to synch your clips, there is an option called, “Try Really Hard” (yes, that’s what it’s called) that takes awhile to compute, but will use more detailed algorithm to ensure you get more complete audio matching.
Another outstanding feature is called, “Correct Audio Drift.” In previous articles, I have mentioned how some cameras experience audio drift – Which is to say, when a camera records images at 23.97 frames per second and then the audio records at actual 24 frames per second. When this happens, your audio and video will begin to fall out of synch.
PluralEyes adjusts the audio source to ensure a correct match with the video.
The Good on PluralEyes:
– Helps make synching audio and video (or multiple cameras) in post easier.
– Options to increase the speed or be more accurate in matching clips.
– Options for correcting audio drift.
– Comes individually or with the Shooter Suite.
– Exports XML in a variety of formats.
The Not So Good on PluralEyes:
– Relies on audio waveforms, so if your audio is recorded to low or accidentally missed, then you’re in trouble (although this is more of an on-set workflow issue then an software issue.)
Final Thoughts on PluralEyes:
My experience with PluralEyes has been slightly mixed. While I think the software is great, there have been times when video and audio clips don’t always get lined up properly or even at all. The good news is, these hiccups tend to be the exception rather then the rule. And any of these oversights are pretty easily adjusted by editors after the fact.