Dynamix On Location with Ford



Ford Motor Company was recently in town to shoot at Commonwealth Stadium. The JWT Agency, along with Oasis Films were on hand to shoot spots featuring UK Football legend Tim Couch. Dynamix provided location sound, while Post Time Productions and Midwest Grip provided production support. The spots were being shot on Canon 5D MkIIs, which are known for their full-frame depth of field and image size that rivals small chip HD cameras.

Warning: Geek Talk Ahead. Because the cameras have virtually no audio recording capabilities (they do, only low-level noisy consumer on-camera microphones), audio was recorded separately. This is how we did it in the old days with film. It’s called double-system recording. In order to synchronize the sound with the video later, you must use a slate as each take is recorded. To take it one more step, we used a “smart slate,” which slaves to the timecode in my recorder, and then displays those numbers in red LEDs on the slate board.

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The video editor will import the audio files into the editor. The audio files have time stamps that match the numbers on the slate board. To find the sync point, the editor goes to the slate “clap” on video and reads the number. The video track is then “snapped” to the corresponding timecode number on the audio track. Voila! Both audio and video are now in sync.

Believe it or not, this was the back-up method. The main method we employed was to mount tiny microphones on the cameras that recorded the same audio as my recorder, only “crappy.” That’s okay, because these reference tracks are married to the video track as they are being recorded. In post, the editor will use a program called
PluralEyes to automatically align the “crappy” reference audio track and my cleanly recorded audio track together. It saves hours and hours.

Neil Kesterson has over twenty-five years experience synchronizing sound to visual with film, multiple slide projectors, video, and even all of these combined into one presentation.

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