DSLR Video – Syncing a Movie with External Audio in Adobe Premiere

This guy shows how. Just what I needed. The only thing you need is Audacity, which is free and good. The video is for Premiere Elements, but the idea is the same for Premiere Pro and not that different for other non-linear video editors if you know how to run them.

UPDATE: Since I wrote this I’ve synced the audio inside Premiere. That turned out to be way easier than I expected.

P.S. I bought a licensed copy of DualEyes/PluralEyes recently. It’s supposed to automatically sync the audio track from a movie created with a DSLR like my Nikon D7000 with an audio track from a separate digital audio recorder (DAR) like my Zoom H4n. Point it to the movie file and the audio file (which can be much, much longer than the movie). The software will match the waveforms in the movie’s audio track with the audio file and splice out that section of the audio file. Then you can either use your video editor to replace the movie’s audio track or let DualEyes/PluralEyes do it for you.

Why would you want to do that? The audio track on the DAR is almost always better than what the camera recorded. That’s because the DAR is a dedicated audio recording device, while a DSLR is a dedicated still photo recorder that also happens to record video and – oh yeah – I guess we need to throw some audio circuitry in there somewhere because folks nowadays sure do love them some talkies. A $3,000 DSLR might have twenty bucks worth of audio circuitry. If you’re lucky.

The trial version of DualEyes/PluralEyes worked great. Thing is, once I got a licensed copy as part of a mic bundle I could never get it to work again. Not on three different computers and not after working with tech support. It would not could not in a box, it would not could not with a fox.

Oh, well. Maybe the long-promised new Windows version of PluralEyes will fix everything. In the meantime now that I know how to sync manually I don’t care. It’s really not a big deal to take a few minutes to manually sync with Audacity.

2 Responses to DSLR Video – Syncing a Movie with External Audio in Adobe Premiere

  1. Rob Reed says:

    How about a review of that Zoom H4N. I notice the price has dropped, which is good, but want to know more before I drop the cash.

  2. Les Jones says:

    I like mine a bunch. My usual setup is microphone to Zoom to camera.

    I originally bought it because I recorded a band that was so loud the audio distorted. That’s still the main way I use it – to monitor levels and make manual adjustments. As a backup in case I don’t keep the levels low enough I set the limiter to make sure it doesn’t distort.

    I’ve also used it to connect directly to a sound board. The XLR jacks are great for that.

    One thing to be aware of – the line out is for headphone monitoring, so it’s at line level. The camera’s mic input expects mi level, which is way lower. You can blow out the audio on the camera, especially if you use high output levels. I use a cable from Seacom that attentuates the signal from level to mic. Even then you have to experiment to figure out the right output levels.

    Sometimes, but not always, the audio from the Zoom is better than the audio from the camera. In that case you can replace the movie’s audio track with the one from the Zoom. I’ve got some movies right now that distorted some, so I’m going to swap audio tracks.

    The built-in steroe mic is pretty good. Here are some videos I shot using the Zoom’s mic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOxWPDhbPIo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sbTUb9L8KE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PevsuO7tyQ

    Hope that helps.