Back in March when we

Back in March when we were editing Souvenir November 2001, we spent some grim days dealing with sound. We'd recorded audio on the DV camera and on Mini-Disc (not DAT), using slate (not timecodes) to sync the sound. Then at the last minute we had problems loading the MD's into Final Cut Pro and had to transfer them to CD. Sync'ing the audio was supposed to be easy, but it was a huge pain. Why mention this now?

In the newest issue of Filmmaker Magazine, there's a roundtable with Steven Soderbergh's team from Full Frontal where they talk shop. Here's what Susan Littenberg (1st asst. ed.) says they did (note: they had two Final Cut Pro systems, which sounds luxe.):

  • Digitize DV in 45-60 minute chunks.
  • Digitize each DAT take separately
  • Create a FCP sequence with a starting time code set to first digitized frame of the DV.
  • Line up each DAT sound file in the sequence.
  • Create a new DV tape ("a clone with better sound") with timecodes using a Sony DSR2000 deck.
  • Then don't redigitize the clones. Edit from the sync'ed subclips; unlink and relink the files when they get screwed up; "tax the system and cause more crashes than it might have had we done it the other way."

    In the last paragraph: "Is there anything that you can think of that filmmakers should avoid? Any advice you can give filmmakers before they get started on a project like Full Frontal?"
    "Don't sync audio to video in Final Cut! Take the extra time up front to do the sync dailies and reload them."

    Two takeaways: 1) We're doin' it more Soderbergh-style than we'd imagined (or wanted to, frankly), and 2) Finish the article before you start typing your weblog entry.

  • Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

    Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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    greg [at] greg [dot ] org

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