Monday, May 04, 2009


Here's an article about gamma in FCP on the Mac. This is helpful to know because we always have trouble with stuff we shoot being too bright/dark depending on what computer you watch it on.

I'm also experimenting with syncing audio using PluralEyes. It looks like it'll take PluralEyes about 5 hours to sync a reel. I think it takes me about 20 minutes. So we'll see if that's worthwhile.*

Lastly, I'm shooting a movie called Clonehunter and I've never actually seen the movie Spacehunter. I mean until just today. Some things that are interesting about Spacehunter is that aesthetically it's really quite interesting in many ways. The scenic design is post-apocalypse post- Mad Max, but the vehicle designs and the designs of some of the creepy things are pretty unique. Certainly interesting in an early '70's Heavy Metal way. And the language that what's-her-name from Pretty in Pink is pretty good too. I feel her use of "future" slang really works and helps make the world seem like it has a lot more depth -- almost Dune-ish. I think we should do a movie with that slang in it. It totally needs to be used again.

*It's not. It might work if each sound clip and video clip were on a different track. Er. Probably not. Maybe if there was one really long sound clip. Or video clip. But it's not really made to work that way so it doesn't. So like that.


Bruce Sharpe said...

Re PluralEyes: As the creators of PluralEyes, we'll be interested in the results of your experiment too. Can you say more about how many cameras, how many clips, and how long they are?

Bruce Sharpe
Singular Software

Andrew Bellware said...

Over the first two days of principal photography we averaged 60 sound takes and just over 100 picture takes each day. Single camera o'course. We shoot on average about an hour a day maybe?

Bruce Sharpe said...

So let's see if I've got this right. You've got a total of 160 audio/video clips covering about two hours duration. Can you clarify what the synchronization task is. Syncing the audio to the video?

Andrew Bellware said...

Yes, this is just a straight-up dual-system feature film. Sound is recorded to broadcast .wav files on a Sound Devices 402 without timecode. At the top of each take we drop a slate.

We're shooting bits of scenes all throughout the day. The camera records audio too (however badly). We use that audio as a reference. We were interested if Plural Eyes could sync the separately recorded audio to the picture takes in a manner which was practical for us.

The fact is that doing it by hand/ear/eye is pretty darn fast

Bruce Sharpe said...

So really this is a pairwise sync task. That is, you know which video clip goes with which audio clip, you just need to determine the offset for each such pair.

PluralEyes out of the box is going to do a lot of unnecessary work because it will be looking for a match between all possible pairs. But if it knew at the outset which audio goes with which video, it would be very fast and should be able to save you your 20 minutes.

I'm trying to think of a way you could give PluralEyes more information. How about a naming convention to identify the related clips?

Andrew Bellware said...

The naming convention we use for the separate audio files is a sequential number, incremented by one on each take. For instance:


"0904" is the project number. That's probably the good news but note that normally filmmakers will give the takes names like prjname_s14a_t33pu.wav or some such.

The Panasonic HVX200, unfortunately, names it's takes totally arbitrarily so that the imported files in Final Cut end up being named helpful things like (thanks Panasonic!;-)

When selecting a day's audio and video clips and dragging them into a timeline they WILL be in chronological order. However there are sound clips which have no video clips to match to them (wild sound). And there are video clips with no 2nd-system audio to match ("MOS" or "silent" takes.)

There may be some timestamp information on the original .mxf files, but I don't think it goes across to the Quicktime which Final Cut Pro uses. I forget how the Sound Devices audio recorder works in that regard.