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 Avid Media Composer.
Before you even open Avid, 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.
Import all of your video and audio into Avid. Avid does not import folders, so you will have to recreate your file structure in Avid using bins. Once you've done that:
- Create a new bin called "SYNC TEMP".
- Select your first two matching video and audio files.
- 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.
- To see the waveform for your audio clip, go to the timeline window and click the “toggle source/record in timeline” button.
- Next, go to the fast menu in the timeline (aka the hamburger menu), go to “audio data” and select “waveform”.
- Turn on caps lock to hear audio as you scrub through the clip.
- Set the in point (I) where the slate strikes
- Press option and drag your first two matching video and audio files into the SYNC TEMP bin.
**Important: Hold the option key when dragging media between bins in order to create a new copy of that media in the destination bin. Dragging and dropping media WITHOUT holding option will move a clip from one bin to the other. By copying the media instead, you will be able to keep better track of your files and avoid losing them.
- Select both clips in the SYNC TEMP bin, and right click. Select “AutoSync”.
- Choose "In Points" under "Sync Clips Using:"
- Select "OK". This will create a new subclip with synced video and sound. Be sure to play through the clip a bit to test your sync.
- Create a new bin called "SYNCED CLIPS" at the same level as your VIDEO and AUDIO bins. Click and drag your new subclip from the “SYNC TEMP” bin to the new “SYNCED CLIPS” bin.
- Delete the remaining clips from the “SYNC TEMP” bin.
- Repeat this process until you have synced all of your clips.
- ** 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.