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Thread: Having a shocker with my documentary - please help!

  1. #1

    Default Having a shocker with my documentary - please help!

    Having a nightmare editing my documentary!!!

    If anyone can help me I would be so, so grateful.

    I shot my documentary on a Panasonic HMC41E camcorder, which produces HD video, and attached a Sennheiser lapel microphone in order to record the audio from interviews. So far, so good. Well, nearly anyway...

    The audio has a slight hiss in the background, which is noticeable, and annoying on playback so I investigated audio editing software to help me eradicate the hiss.

    I downloaded a trial copy of Audition, and using the ‘Adaptive Noise Reduction’ feature managed to take the hiss out of the audio.

    Now though, I have an audio file to sync with the video image and I am working on an iMac, editing in iMovie 11 by the way.

    The increments at which iMovie seems to allow me to move the audio are far too large for me to successfully sync the audio to the visual, which obviously produces the effect of the lips moving at a different time to the sound – a bit like a European ad shot in German and then re-hashed for UK TV (badly)

    Does anyone have any tips on what I can do to get around this problem?

    I am up against a deadline and it is driving my nuts, so any help would be much appreciated!

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2


    Hopefully an Imovie user will be able to assist but this is one of those areas where Imovie is just useless at, If it does not allow you to move the audio frame by frame your at nothing using Imovie.

    Might I suggest
    Apple (United Kingdom) - Final Cut Pro X - Trial
    Installing the trial of FCP

    Then go to where Imovie is storing the movie edit files, Make a copy of them and place them in a separate location.
    Import them into FCP_X along with your edited audio, Synch up the audio using that software then export it back out as the exact same file format and size as it went into Imovie.
    Then move your original footage in the Imovie folder to a safe location on your computer just in case this process goes awry, You can move the originals back.
    Then put your "edited" video back into the Imovie video folder keeping the name of the edited one precisely the same as the original. Then when you re-open Imovie it will load the clips in the exact same point in the timeline for your project, even if you've made 100s of edits it should work.

    Unless Imovie has a REALLY annoying feature, This should hopefully work for you, I've done it many times with different pieces of software that work in a similar fashion to video editing packages.

    In the future can I suggest you upgrade from Imovie? It's a perfectly capable program for what it does but there will be many occasions when you hit a wall with the software, Might be worth exploring to see what is there if you would like to do lots more video editing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    Like Bpotter908 I have no knowledge of iMovie at all. However 2 settings in Sony Vegas will affect the ability to sysnc accurately and I wonder if iMovie has similar.

    First, the level at which ne is zoomed in on the timeline - the further one is zoomed out the larger the incremts in which one can move an event. Try zooming in (I can't imagine you haven't trie dthis but ...)

    Second, Vegas has a setting "Quantize to Frames". I turn this off when syncing audio - often you need to move audio in increments smaller than a video frame.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008


    Ok Ok OK

    Here is what to do:

    Step 1: see how close you can get the audio track to the place you really want it on the iMovie timeline, while keeping the audio AHEAD of the video (i.e. you hear the sound before you see it)
    Step 2: go back to your audio software and move the audio a smidge to the right (leaving some blank audio at the beginning of the track), then re-export the audio (it should be a smidge longer than before)
    Step 3: put the audio back in the same spot in iMovie and see if the audio now lines up with the video; if not, adjust the size of your smidge and try again; Newton invented this method so you should thank him instead of me
    Step 4: you have a nice camera -- time to go out and buy a nice editor -- FCP is perfect for you -- PPro is also good -- you can buy Vegas and get a nice editor plus a lot of extra bells and whistles to help you film office parties, children's birthday parties and maybe even a wedding


  5. #5


    you can buy Vegas and get a nice editor plus a lot of extra bells and whistles to help you film office parties, children's birthday parties and maybe even a wedding
    Plus you would get expert help from me and Tim etc.....

  6. #6


    Thank you all for your advice. I liked Vegas when I was editing on my PC, but I have bought a Mac now and I don;t believe Vegas is available on the Mac.

    Zam, thanks for the tip - it's just a massive pain in the neck to do that for every interview, but I am sure it would work if I can;t find an easier way - so thanks!

    I downloaded a free trial of FCP (which has now expired) and it wasn't the easiest to plug & play. I need to get this out ASAP (ideally by the end of next week) so I need to use an editor that is intuitive. I agree that FCP (with lessons) is the future though!

    Thanks again - I'll try again tonight!

  7. #7


    I thought you had someone else editing the documentary.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008


    I am actually surprised to hear that iMovie won't give you frame-accurate editing with jog and shuttle commands. My sneaking suspicion is that it doesn't like your file format. You could try converting it to seomthing else that iMovie likes better using StreamClip. Just a thought.

  9. #9


    As Tim has already said with audio you sometimes need smaller than frame size movements. Have you checked the setting to see if you can remove the "Quantise to Frames" as Vegas calls it.

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blue View Post
    I thought you had someone else editing the documentary.
    Hey Midnight, I was toying with that idea, yes, and I had a few people show an interest, including your good self of course, thanks again!

    The others didn't get back to me, and I decided I'd be missing out on half the fun if I didn't edit it, so I am trying to do it all myself.

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