So I just got back from across the pond – England was an amazing place to visit.
Our shoot went extremely well and fortunately, we barely escaped the riots in London, even though our camera was almost hijacked right from our car window. However, we did not leave entirely unscathed, because low and behold we had a bit of an audio production boo-boo. Like a big old “ouwie”, as my daughter would say – something a band-aid wasn’t going to fix.
Production boo-boos happen when it’s just three guys, tons of gear, a compressed schedule, all multiplied by working in a foreign land. Come to think of it, production is just one big boo-boo after another.
So, we intentionally recorded our DSLR video at 24p, but when setting up our Sound Device 702t we accidentally left the settings to record at a frame rate of 30 frames per second (fps) ND (non-drop frame). So when we came home and started to trickle through our footage and sync up some clips, we soon realized that we had major sync issues. And this was on the major interview segments we had shot that were vital to the little film we were creating. The 30 frame per second, non-drop frame audio would drift from the 24 fps video because of the discrepancy in the different frame rates.
We spoke with many gloom and doomers and they mentioned that we would have to convert our 24 fps video footage to 29.97 fps and then convert our audio from 30 fps ND to 29.97 to avoid any distortion or pops that would occur going from 30 fps ND to 29.97 fps. This didn’t quite make sense to me, since audio’s time is not measured by frames per second, it’s merely a convenient time-code map embedded into the file to tell an editing system what the time-code/frame-rate base of the video will be. So if the frame rate isn’t inherent in the audio, if it is more like embedded meta data, I thought, why can’t that frame rate reference merely be changed in post production?
I certainly didn’t want to transcode our beautiful 24p footage to 29.97 and have a my Mac Pro be in charge of creating those new frames, no offense, my Mac isn’t a very good DP or Colorist on it’s own. We shot at 24p and I wanted to stay there. I knew there had to be an easier way to convert the 30 fps ND audio to sync at the rate of our 24 fps DSLR footage.
Luckily, my research proved successful.
So here is what I found. Sound Devices makes a neat little application called Wave Agent. You simple import your WAV audio file into the program (or drag and drop), change the frame rate to your hearts desire by selecting the drop down menu, click save, and in a few seconds your new audio clip(s) will have the correct frame rate applied to them and will now sync to your video.
Another great thing about this application is that you can batch process multiple files. I converted 40 files within 30 seconds. After I batch processed my clips through Wave Agent, all my audio files synced up perfectly to my 24 fps DSLR footage!
I’m glad I listened to my instinct, because I had a ProTools master telling me the only way to convert these files was in Pro Tools. I knew there had to be an easier way!
Thanks to Sound Devices for this great little application! I’d highly recommend you keep it in your arsenal, and best of all it’s FREE!