For any content creator, the editing process tends to be the most intricate part of making a video. One thing that is almost always forgotten, or at the very least overlooked, is the audio/video sync. This is the arduous process of matching your audio to your video. Follow these steps to edit sync your audio and video in a snap.
1. Look for the audio/visual cue.
In big productions, this is what the slate is for. For video captured off a computer, a series of mouse clicks or arrow key movements do the same thing. The audio/visual cue is a sound that can be picked up by your audio recorder that corresponds to something happening on camera.
The slate used in movies has all the information about the scene, and when it clacks shut, the audio picks it up. By matching up the clacking on camera to the one in the audio, you are able to achieve a basic sync.
2. Verbalize and visualize all scene information.
When making a video there will more than likely be multiple takes and various footage from different locations and sets. It is imperative that you stay organized while filming and recording audio for every take of every scene. Without organization, it will be nearly impossible to sync the right audio to the right video.
Stay organized by verbalizing what take of what scene you are shooting. Having the verbal confirmation on the audio recording will make it a lot easier to sync. If you can, be sure to show that same information on camera so you know exactly what footage you are looking at.
3. Fine tune.
This might be the most difficult, time-consuming part of the sync: fine tuning. While it is relatively easy to get the initial sync, it is very important to get the sync perfect, as audiences tend to notice when things are slightly off.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to use the onboard microphone on the video camera to record secondary audio. It is easy to mute in the final product, and if you can have two visual representations of the audio wave, it becomes easier to sync it up together.
The audio/video sync is considered one of the worst parts of video editing. It takes a long time to complete, and it needs to be done before any other editing can be. However, if you make sure you have a cue, make sure you verbalize and visualize all pertinent information, and take the time to fine tune the sync, it should end up being a relatively easy process.
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Anthony Mauro is a San Francisco State graduate who splits his time between the Bay Area and San Diego. He spends his free time thinking long hair is cool, playing video games for an online audience, and writing short stories, comic books, and novels.