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Thread: What's the best software to do this?

  1. #1

    Default What's the best software to do this?

    Dear all,
    in the context of a scientific research project, we recorded participants while they were
    (a) filmed using Panasonic HDC-SD99EG consumer full HD cameras (~500€/piece)
    (b) audio-recorded using professional lavalier microphones

    What we now need to do is to add the high-quality audio track of (b) to the video of (a) and bring them into synchrony.

    Maybe some more data regarding the files:
    (a) we filmed in the highest possible quality, i.e. 1080p@50Hz. Note that the manual of the cameras explicitly states that the produced files may be viewable only using the supplied software. I think this is because the camera was produced when 1080p@50Hz was not specified for AVCHD yet (only @25Hz was specified). However, it opens also in VLC player, here's the Codec info from the VLC player (its a .mts container) :
    Stream 0
    Typ: video
    Original ID: 4113
    Codec: H264 - MPEG-4 AvC (part 10) (h264)
    Auflösung: 1920x 1080
    Bildwiederholrate: 100
    Stream 1
    Typ:Audio
    Originale ID: 4352
    Codec: A52 Audio (aka AC3) (a52)
    Kaiye: Stereo
    Abtastrate: 48000 Hz
    Bitrate: 256kb/s

    If possible, we would like to keep as much quality of the video file as possible. However, if we need to recode to be able to open it in some specific software, we would first sacrifice some image quality before sacrificing refresh rate. The reason for this is that we may need to be able to cut the clip with a high temporaly resolution, as we need it for a speech study in which a brief clip of a person saying only a word or a syllable is shown - i.e. we need to be able to cut exactly at the (auditory) boundaries of the word or syllable.

    (b) are auditory files (wav-files), presently with 44.1 kHz, 32bit (but could be downsampled to 16bit).

    The functionality we need at least is the following:
    (a) replace the audiotrack of the video camera with the high-quality microphone track.
    (b) bring the new audiotrack in sync with the video. For this, we could use several information: First, the camera and the high-quality microphones where in the same room, i.e. they recorded roughly the same signal. In addition, we used a self-made "flap" (or however this is called: these black-and-white things which are clapped together in front of the camera in real movie productions), so that we have the clapping noise on all audio-tracks and in addition the closing of the flap on the video. By this, synchronisation will hopefully work.
    (c) cutting, i.e. export short bits, such as a single word or a syllable, optimally as video file and separate audio file. For this, it would be helpful, if one could set start-marker and end-marker and export the selected area. This way, the project could stay open and just the markers would have to be moved for the next word/syllable to be extracted.

    In addition, the following would be very helpful:
    (d) We usually had 3 participants, 3 cameras, and 3 high-quality microphones, one for each participant. However, participants swapped seats and took their microphones with them while the cameras stayed fixed. In other words, while one audio file contains only a single participant, a video file may contain several participants. Thus, it would make extracting syllables much easier if we could load all three video files and all three audio files and bring them into synchrony. Then later on, just select one video and one audio track, set start end end marker, and export the marked bit of the marked audio/video tracks.

    (e) sometimes we had four participants, so that a camera filmed two participants. Here we would need to somehow split the video into two areas (like zooming in on one participant) and save only the zoomed-in area. If this results in another aspect ratio, this shouldn't be a problem, as it is probably better anyway to convert all videos to 4:3 or something alike (by just cropping left and right borders).

    As we are unexperienced in video editinng, suggestion for an appropriate software would be much appreciated. Although University funds are generally sparse, we would be able to spend up to a couple of hundred dollars or euros on a commercial software.

    Thanks a lot &
    Kind Regards,
    Andre

  2. #2

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    Any Video editing program can do this. Sony Vegas, Adobe Premier, Final Cut Pro for macs. etc....

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default

    Vegas Studio is a good, inexpensive choice, currently under £30 Amazon (go for the production suite which adds SoundForge an audio prog - you don't need it now, but who-knows and it's included)

    Vegas Studio 10 (and 11 DYOR) will handle 10 vid tracks, and 10 Audio...you can enlarge the timeline to see the waveform, so it should be easy enough (after getting used to it) to align the audio associated with the Vid, to the "better" audio you recorded.
    For convenience you can name the tracks so as to keep tabs on what's where.
    I'm not sure about that "seat-swapping", - you might have to look for visual clues, but I'm surprised the camera audio is "that bad" you need to replace it ( but whatdoIknow?).

    I believe, but may be shouted down that your final OP on DVD will be 16-bit audio, but it's a good thing to start with the best quality. I often add Foley using 24-bit recorded stuff that gets into the DVD eventually.

    The device you describe is a Clapper-Board and should create a strong overload on the audio which you can align. However, over time the sync can drift, due to minor errors between the crystals....there was a thread somewhere here on a way of cutting this out, but I suggest you try to get to grips with Vegas Studio FIRST. Maybe do some Tests using a separte set-up, clearly marked "Testing" - so your original files are not involved. However, these should be Copied to a safe-folder and then copied to a specific Project folder, where all necessary files are kept for Editing.

    Of course Vegas Studio doesn't work on the originals, but hacking at the Timeline stuff can be disconcerting. So try some easy- sync scenes, which will give you excellent practice.

    - However, none of this is "EASY" - folk spend a lifetime learning how to Edit - and you will need to dedicate some while to achieving the best results. If your test-edit footage is outdoors, beware that filming (say) cricket will create delay-issues due to the speed of sound, also drumming may create video-issue due to the speed of the action.

    You do ned a fairly powerful PC to perform with Studio well, something like Dual-core 4G RAM and 2.8Ghz processor is a tad low...better is 4-core. Studio works in 32-bit so there is no point in going 64-bit, although others may disagree.....for the money it's a very capable audio setup, IMHO.

    If buying new then Studio v11 Production Suite is sensible, costing maybe under £50. This version also has 1080p options, I understand. Sony will grant you a 30-day "Trial" but for the money the real thing is less hassle.
    Finally, a word of warning...do not believe the sync on the Preview - Editors have far too much data to accurately lock the vid action and audio...so it is only the timeline that is your guide (although curiously you can play the vid at 1/4 speed, there is no audio). When you burn a DVD use a dedicated player and TV set-up..... do not use a PC to assess the sync.

    Added:
    Markers are available in Vegas Studio, I think it manages 99 (DYOR) and they can be named as well as numbered (sequentially?). However, much of what you describe is way to techy for someone starting out fresh with an Editor - and I think you need to get used to that and then see how it measures up.

    Of course you could pay an Editor - then you'll get a finished DVD and no issues in-between. But learning the program is fun for some and you may find tweaks that make the exercise more useful for the final work.

    Hope that's not too much....
    Good luck.
    Last edited by vidmanners; 11-28-2011 at 03:20 PM.

  4. #4

    Default

    > Vegas Studio 10 (and 11 DYOR) will handle 10 vid tracks, and 10 Audio...you can enlarge the timeline to see the waveform, so it should be easy enough (after getting used to it) to align the audio associated with the Vid, to the "better" audio you recorded.

    That sounds good.

    > I'm not sure about that "seat-swapping", - you might have to look for visual clues, but I'm surprised the camera audio is "that bad" you need to replace it ( but whatdoIknow?).
    We need the "good" soundtrack for two reasons: First, we were suprised as well that the camera sound is sometimes not that good. It is ok for homevideos, but we aim at scientific studies, i.e. participants will watch a number of short video clips (0.5-2 s length), e.g. depicting a person saying "hello" or "the", and then participants will have to evaluate these clips, e.g. whether the person they see gives an aggressive impression. The "good" audio tracks are first much better quality (each microphone was ~600€, plus ~100€ phantom voltage converter, plus ~1000€ for a DA-workstation to digitize the signal) and were attached directly in front of the mouth (lavalier microphones, like showmasters have them). Thus, the track has not only better quality, but is much more focussed on one person. The cameras "broadly" recorded every sound in the room, while the microphones recorded mainly only one speaker, while the background noise (e.g. from the other participants) is much quiter.


    > I believe, but may be shouted down that your final OP on DVD will be 16-bit audio, but it's a good thing to start with the best quality. I often add Foley using 24-bit recorded stuff that gets into the DVD eventually.
    No, it won't be a DVD, we need short video-clips, see above. They will be played in a special software for psychological experiments (which is designed for exact timing, recording of button presses as responses, etc.). Participants will see e.g. 100 of such short clips and evaluate/rate all of them. We will then analze their rating with respect to the video clips (which come from different conditions).

    > The device you describe is a Clapper-Board
    Thanks. You may have noticed I'm not native English speaking

    > and should create a strong overload on the audio which you can align.
    That was the idea, yes.

    > However, over time the sync can drift, due to minor errors between the crystals
    I thought of this as well, and except for rare cases, we have used the clapper board in the end of the recording session as well. We recorded continuously for approx. 1.5 - 2 hours, and used the clapper board in the beginning and end. I don't know whether this will help us in correcting speed issues, but at least it should help to identify their presence.

    > so your original files are not involved
    We spend weeks on recording, and we have save backups of the original files.

    > However, none of this is "EASY" - folk spend a lifetime learning how to Edit
    Well, we expect this. However, we don't aim at good editing in a "cinematic"/movie sense, see above. Where to cut is really determined to 99% by the speech of the recorded persons. When we need the word "the", then we have to cut at the beginning and end of this word - that's it. Irrespective how "ugly" the cut looks in the video. Potentially we have to have a very brief fade-in and fade-out to avoid clicking. We have experience in cutting audio-materials, though. Only video is new.

    > If your test-edit footage is outdoors, beware that filming (say) cricket will create delay-issues due to the speed of sound, also drumming may create video-issue due to the speed of the action.
    This should be fine, all recordings were made indoors in a small sound-dampened chamber (very little echo present only).

    > You do ned a fairly powerful PC to perform with Studio well, something like Dual-core 4G RAM and 2.8Ghz processor is a tad low...better is 4-core. Studio works in 32-bit so there is no point in going 64-bit, although others may disagree.....for the money it's a very capable audio setup, IMHO.
    Ok, I guess we'll first try on our existing machines and then consider an upgrade new purchase. A question: presently, each video file is 4GB (and then the cameras created a new file - I hope this doesn't make synchronizing a pain), a whole 1.5h session is approx. 20GB per camera. Thus, if we load all 3 video tracks plus the audio tracks, we may end up with a "project" size of ~65 GB. I guess for 1080p AVCHD editing it is not toooo unusual that you "projects" don't fit into RAM. However, I was wondering (when we have to purchase a new machine anyway) whether a 120GB solid state disk makes any sense. Or is the caching from disk implemented by these programs in such a smart way, that normal hard drives are easily capable to provide the video data (it is fast linear reading anyway, not slow random access). Any suggestions regarding this?


    > If buying new then Studio v11 Production Suite is sensible, costing maybe under £50. This version also has 1080p options, I understand. Sony will grant you a 30-day "Trial" but for the money the real thing is less hassle.
    We definetely need 1080p, if possible at 50Hz.


    > Finally, a word of warning...do not believe the sync on the Preview - Editors have far too much data to accurately lock the vid action and audio...so it is only the timeline that is your guide (although curiously you can play the vid at 1/4 speed, there is no audio). When you burn a DVD use a dedicated player and TV set-up..... do not use a PC to assess the sync.
    Although we don't aim for a DVD, nevertheless thanks a lot for this useful hint.

    > Markers are available in Vegas Studio, I think it manages 99 (DYOR) and they can be named as well as numbered (sequentially?). However, much of what you describe is way to techy for someone starting out fresh with an Editor - and I think you need to get used to that and then see how it measures up.

    We would actually only need two markers. The BIG question is, is it easily possible to say "export - but only what is between the two markers"? Or do you have to actually cut away what you don't need (i.e., virtually everything, since our clips are only 0.5-2sec long), export, re-open the whole thing (i.e., all 3 video and audio tracks), then select the next thing we would like to cut out, cut/crop the remaining, export, re-open, etc. Just think of the workflow we are facing that you have recorded the news, and you want to have each word the newspeaker says in an individual, very brief, video-clip (and with a new sound-track). Of course, we don't need every word in our case, otherwise we would cut for centuries

    > Of course you could pay an Editor - then you'll get a finished DVD and no issues in-between. But learning the program is fun for some and you may find tweaks that make the exercise more useful for the final work.
    To be honest, I think an Editor is over-qualified for what we are looking for. In addition, we don't have the money As I said, Universities...

    > Hope that's not too much....
    No, it was very informative, thanks a lot.

    Andre

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