Computer Arts

PluralEyes 3

Creative video expert Christopher Kenworthy takes a look at PluralEyes 3, which makes it easier to synch recorded audio with footage - even using multiple cameras...

Whatever you use to shoot video, the biggest problem is usually audio. Even if you record good audio on a separate device, synching is a major headache. Now you can shoot with as many cameras as you like, record your audio on anything, and synch it up in seconds, thanks to the ingenious pattern recognition of Plural Eyes 3.

Before Plural Eyes came along, there were three ways to deal with audio synching. The most basic was to use in-camera sound (because it’s already synched to the video) and put up with the terrible microphones on most cameras. The second was to use an expensive audio recorder, a timecode clapper board, and ‘jam synch’ everything together. The third was to laboriously try to synch everything by hand in Final Cut Pro.

None of these methods is ideal. In-camera audio sounds awful, timecode is an expensive pain, and synching by hand will drive anybody crazy. Thankfully, Plural Eyes does the synching automatically. Imagine you shoot a scene from three different angles at once, and record the audio to another device. You then drop your footage into Plural Eyes and in moments all the audio and video is synched up. Export to your favourite editing app and you’re up and running.

Even if you’ve just got several people at a party, shooting the same moment with several mobile phones, you can synch it together and cut between angles easily. For filmmakers who want to shoot a scene on several DSLRs, and record audio separately, this is probably the biggest time saver in the whole production process. Although there are tools for fine tuning, most of the time Plural Eyes works instantly and accurately without any tweaking. You don’t even need to label your shots and audio. Drop everything in and let it worry about the details.

In this test piece, the software was pushed to the extreme, because three different piano performances were synched closely enough for the edit to look passable. Audio was recorded on a phone.

PluralEyes 3 is available for $199 from Singular Software. This article was written by Christopher Kenworthy.

 

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