Syncing Sound in Premiere

Overview

In professional projects, audio and video are recorded separately and then combined in post-production. Using an external audio recorder allows for greater flexibility and detail in recording your audio, but syncing sound can be a time consuming part of the editing process. This guide assumes that you slated every scene of your film - doing so is essential for quick syncing. Follow this guide for the quickest and most precise method of syncing sound in Premiere Pro CC.

File Management

Before you even open Premiere, you should consider organizing your audio and video files in Finder. Doing so will make your life (and your sound designer's) much easier later on. This is also a great opportunity to name all of your video files (i.e. replace "00003.MTS" with "3B_T1") and rename any mislabeled audio files. Does this require looking through all of your video files for the slate and listening through all of your audio files for the 2nd AC? Yes. It can be a monotonous process, but you'll fix a lot of problems before they become problems, and you'll also familiarize yourself with the footage.

Note that you should never rename original video clips or adjust the file structure created by the camera. This kind of renaming should be done on transcoded clips only.

We also recommend organizing your video and audio by day and by scene. The example file above would be under MEDIA > VIDEO > DAY 1 > SCENE 3B.

Syncing

Import all of your video and audio into Premiere. If you've followed the above steps, you should have a copy of the file structure you created in Finder in your project window.

  • Create a new bin called "SYNC TEMP".
  • Drag your first two matching video and audio files into this bin.
  • For each clip, set an in point (I) where the slate strikes. You can scrub through individual frames of a clip using the right and left arrow keys to find the correct frame.
  • Select both clips in the project window, right mouse click them, and choose "Merge Clips".
  • Choose "In Points" under Synchronize Point.
  • Check "Remove Audio from AV Clip" if your video clip has scratch audio.
  • Select "OK". This will create a new video clip with synced sound. Be sure to play through the clip a bit to test your sync.
  • Create a new bin called "SYNCED" at the same level as your VIDEO and AUDIO bins. You should create bins for each scene within this bin as you did within the others.
  • Move the synced clip here and then move the source clips back to their respective folders.

As you become comfortable with syncing, you may find yourself restricted by having only one shot it the sync temp bin at a time. Feel free to bring in more shots at a time and set your in points in mass to speed up the process, but keep in mind that the more clips you bring in, the harder it may become to keep things organized.

It's also worth noting that under the Merge Clips settings, you can choose "Audio" under synchronize points. If your video clip has scratch audio, Premiere will analyze it against the audio clip and attempt to match the two waveforms. This can be a huge time saver, but keep in mind that it still requires slating for the best results and that you should still double check each clip once it has been merged.