How Are Sound Effects Synchronized

How Are Sound Effects Synchronized?

The process of aligning film video with the audio effects that you’ve produced can be daunting and downright time consuming. While you might find that you can synchronize sound effects for videos filmed for social media or just for fun rather easily, the precision required for professional films is so much more in depth. How are sound effects synchronized to perfectly align with the events taking place on screen? That’s a GREAT question.

Sound Mixer 1

How are Sound Effects Synchronized?

Since sound effects are produced after and separately from the production of the video footage for your film, you’re probably wondering how you’ll ever align them with the footage so that they are “just right.”

Syncing sound effects with the video footage can actually be a tricky process, but there are some tricks to the trade that might get you on the right path.

Common means of synchronizing sound effects include:

  • Software
  • Clapper / Timecode
  • Manual Clapping

Sound effects are synced with your video through various techniques, depending on the individual needs of your project and the equipment that you have available to work with. 

Syncing Sound Effects with Software

Various types of software are available to help you sync your sound effects. In fact sound effects are synchronized with some software programs automatically in just a few clicks. Programs like Red Giant’s Plural Eyes can really cut down the amount of time it takes to sync sound with your video files.

In fact, using Plural Eyes all you have to do is click “Add Media” and basically import your clips to the app then you choose “Synchronize” and wait for the program to do the heavy lifting. If the clips are not properly synced in the end, you can try again by choosing “Try Really Hard” from the Sync navigation. 

This isn’t the only software option that allows audio syncing with just a few clicks. Another option  includes the use of Premiere Pro CC to synchronize audio and video together. There are actually many different software options that can make audio and video syncing easier on you.

Syncing Sound Effects with the Clapper / Timecode

If your sound effects are produced in a studio or similar manner. Syncing the audio with your video might be as simple as manually aligning your sounds with your video files by monitoring the clapper or timecode.

A clapper is used in film production to denote the filming of a scene or take. Information on the clapper, or the timecode, can be used to identify the exact point in which the sound effects should be introduced. 

Are sound effects synchronized using this method? Sometimes! The clock keeps the rate of each scene carefully defined and helps the post-production team to tackle the challenging process of aligning the audio and video for the right effect.

Syncing Sound Effects Manually

Sometimes, especially if you’re attempting to film at home or with limited equipment and an equally limited budget, syncing sound effects manually will be the only way. You can achieve great results without a clapper by simply clapping at the beginning of each take.

Make sure that your cameras are rolling and that your sound recording is rolling before you clap. By clapping at the beginning of each take there will be a noticeable spike in the waveform of your audio files which can be used to align your sounds to your video. 

So, how are sound effects synchronized? Most of the time synchronization is achieved with software, but manual synchronization is also possible. 

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