For the Michael Jackson Memorial piece I worked on, we decided before I left for L.A. that we would use the Canon 5D Mark II to try and push the look of the piece, and to try something new. The first thing I did, is call up a freelancer, Patrick Burke, to run sound. Patrick used to be an AC (Assistant Camera) in L.A. so he came with all the right tools, including a film slate that we used to sync audio from a Marantz PMD660 to the video footage of the 5D.
I explain how to sync the audio to the 5DMKII footage after the jump.
We interviewed about 50 people for the piece but could only use a fraction of them in the end for several reasons. Once we synced up the audio to the footage in Final Cut, you really have to transcode to start editing, because every cut you make, you run the risk of de-syncing the audio, plus h264 is not very nice for native editing.
I had a deadline of 5pm EST the next day which meant 2pm PST. Just enough time to slam out an edit… BUT the transcoding was going to take 16hrs!! I had to ditch most of the footage, and pick a couple people to transcode in order to get the piece up.
Also, the piece that is up was compressed for transmission and then re-encoded in NYC for the NYTimes website. I assure you the original footage looks amazing.
The first thing you need to do is make sure that you clap or use a film slate with both your audio recorder and camera recording
Batch conform your 5DMKII footage to 29.97 using Cinema Tools (part of the Final Cut Suite). The reason you need to do this, is because the .mov files from the 5DMKII read as 30fps when in fact they are 29.97fps. This discrepancy will cause your audio to fall out of sync. Luckily, it’s easy to fix.
In Final Cut Pro, set your sequence to 1920×1080 ProRes with a square pixel aspect ratio.
Next, line up the audio track in Final Cut so that the peak of the “clap” from your audio recorder lines up with the “clap” from the 5DMKII
Because of the 30fps/29.97 discrepency, you’ll need to change the speed of the audio from your audio recorder to 99.9%. I know, it doesn’t seem necessary, but trust me. If you don’t do this, you’ll notice the tracks fall out of sync after about 5 minutes or less.
I set up a sequence for each clip I was syncing audio to. After lining each sequence up, I usually do a batch export and walk away for awhile. When the export is done, you should have a folder full of fully synced beautiful 5DMKII clips ready to edit.
Got some advice on syncing audio up with the 5D Mark II? Share the love in the comments.