So you’ve got your first video shot and it’s ready to be edited; now what? Well before you go and upload your work to YouTube or Vimeo, you’re going to want to edit it a bit. There are many different video editing softwares available for you to choose from, such as Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, and Pinnacle Studio. We’ve done a lot of research and found that Adobe Premiere Pro works best for us. For the rest of this article I will be giving you tips on video editing for Premiere Pro, but this information can still be useful if you decide to go with a different video editing software.
First things first, you are need to create a new project and import your video and audio files. I highly recommend using an external hard drive to store all of your video, audio and project files. Your computer will quickly begin to run out of memory space if you are storing all your files. So assuming you have your external hard drive, the first thing you will want to do is to make sure your new project will be saved to that same hard drive. Once you have clicked “New Project”, click “browse” and select your external hard drive, and start your project. Pretty simple so far.
Once the project has been opened you will see the default editor panel, this can be adjusted later on in the “editor” section of the menu, but for now we will be working with the default settings. The first thing you are going to want to do is import your video and audio files. Drag your cursor to the bottom left panel of the editor screen and right click. A small menu will pop up, and you will click “import”. Select the video and audio files you want to import from your and you’re good to go.
Now, finally to the reason you are here, the reason you clicked on this article in the first place, syncing your audio. Open your video files and drag out the clip you want to use to your timeline. Next open your audio files and and find the corresponding file. Hopefully you remembered to format your SD cards before you filmed, otherwise this can get annoying. If you did format the card, or are using a new one, then the audio file you need for your video clip should be one of the first at the top. If not, you will have to spend time listening to both the audio from the clip, and the audio files themselves.
Once the correct audio file has been found place it directly underneath the video clip in your timeline. Highlight both of the clips in your timeline and right click. You will be given a large menu, find “synchronize” and choose this option. A small menu will pop up, make sure you unselect the “clip beginning” option, and choose the “audio files” option, press okay and you are good to go; the files should have adjusted themselves to be in sync with each other. Select the entire video clip, right click, and select “unlink”. This will make it so the video and audio files that came from your camera are no longer linked together. Most likely you are going to want to delete the camera audio, as is is never very good, then highlight both the video and remaining audio clips. Right click once more, and this time press “link”; now your video file and audio file should paired together.
Now unfortunately this does not always happen. If the audio from your recording device is not loud enough, or the audio from the camera has too much interfering background noise, the clips will most likely not sync on their own. If this happens to you, you are going to need to sync the audio by eye and ear. This is one of the reasons professionals use clapboards when filming. A clapboard will provide the editor with a loud short sound that will make it easier to find when viewing the audio sound waves on your editing software.
To sync your audio by hand you will need to find a spot on both the video clip that you are going to use as a reference point for the audio. If you used a clapboard, this should be your reference point, if not, try and find a spot on the video clip that has a unique sound or or is loud enough that it draws your attention momentarily. Once you have found a good reference point mark it on your timeline by pressing “m” on your keyboard. Next you will want to mute the audio from your video clip, as you are just going to be looking on the audio file. Once you have found the reference point on your audio clip, select the entire clip and press ”m” again. This will mark that specific location on your audio clip, and you will be able to match it with your marked video clip reference.
Once you’ve dragged your audio file to the reference point you are most likely going to notice the video and audio are still a bit off. By zooming in on your timeline you will be able to get a better view of the audio waves on both audio files on your timeline. Find the matching waveforms and drag your audio file to match the camera’s. You may notice that is is still just a little off, you cannot get that waveform to match up perfectly. Chances are that this small error will go completely unnoticed, as we are literally talking about fractions of a second, but if you are a perfectionist and want it to match up seamlessly, there is a solution. Right click on the tab just above your timeline, shown here. This is called your sequence, and this holds all of the clips you drag into your timeline. Once you have right clicked a menu will pop up with “reveal audio time channels”; select this option. You now have the ability to search through your clip in microseconds. Drag your audio where it needs to be, deselect audio time channels, and link your clips together. Don’t forget to either delete or disable the audio from the camera if it is unusable!
And there you have it, now you have the ability to sync audio like a pro. If you have more than one of the same cut, just taken from different camera angles you do not have to do this step again. Place the video files on top of each other and sync the audio like you just learned. Syncing audio is not the most enjoyable part of video editing, and it can be time consuming when you have dozens of different clips you need to sync before you begin cutting, but it is a it is absolutely vital for you to know if you are going to have a higher quality video.
If you found this article helpful, or are thinking of getting Adobe Premiere Pro to edit your videos, consider getting Adobe Creative Cloud. With Creative Cloud you not only get Premiere, but you will get After Effects, Illustrator, Photoshop and the rest of Adobe’s creative software bundle for as little as $49.99 a month. You can purchase this software here to begin editing like a pro.