Problems with PluralEyes Synced Tracks in Premiere

Ramon Navarro, 3rd best big wave surfer in the world with the host of Juego de Roles, Elena Dressel.

These syncing problems and project collapse seem to be resolved with the combination of CS6 and Pluraleyes 3. Things are much better now.

We have now just finished our very first television show. 13 episodes of 23-25 minutes apiece for 13 consecutive weeks. If you want to check it out, our favorite episodes are Ramon Navarro, surfer, and Caterin Bravo, fencer.

It was brutal. Concurrently, Nacho was teaching, working his full time job at the Universidad de los Andes and also had to disappear to Colombia and Cordoba. We worked in hotel rooms and many hard drives. We did a serious computer upgrade because all of the footage made my trusty iMac want to weep, rendering it useless.

Fencer Caterin Bravo during the challenge with Juego de Roles host, Elena Dressel.

We used Adobe Premiere because it meant we wouldn’t have to transcode the 75-100gb of material we had for each show. We could throw whatever footage we wanted in there, and we could see it immediately. As noted before, our show was composed of 5d, 7d, GoPro, iPhone and externally recorded audio.

Premiere plays very nice, except where PluralEyes is concerned. What I think is at the root of the problem is that PluralEyes deals with stereo clips in a variety of ways, not always in a consistent manner, and not in a manner Premiere always recognizes.

We were using PluralEyes 2 for Premiere. To use this, one must export a Final Cut XML file from premiere and then find the desired sequence to sync within PluralEyes. These sequences would have to be made into new XML files that had to be reimported into the Premiere program.

When we reimported the new, synced sequences to Premiere, the audio we recorded on the 5d, 7d would be split into separate tracks. We had split our externally recorded audio into two separate tracks prior to syncing.

5d audio tracks before syncing. One stereo clip on one track.

5d audio tracks after syncing. Two mono audio clips on different tracks.

These things messed with Premiere, terribly. We were working on two machines – Nacho editing separately, and passing his sequences back to me. (With Premiere, you can only open one project at a time, which means to bring anything into a project, you must import, and then select sequences to import.)

Our externally audio, recorded on a Zoom H4. We would split the audio into two different tracks. There are two methods of doing this. One can choose audio channels from the modify button in the clip menu. Or one can use Audio Options in the Clip menu and choose Breakout to Mono. Neither of these made better the problems listed below.

One way of separating stereo tracks using the modify option in the clip menu, or by right clicking.

Step two of separating stereo audio tracks into mono - choosing mono (instead of the default stereo.)

2nd way of separating out Zoom stereo clips to mono.

When Nacho would pass sequences back to me, although the audio – two distinct tracks, would be perfect on his computer, on mine, they were a mess. With our separately recorded audio, many times, instead of two separate tracks, there would be one the same one, duplicated. Audios from our Canon videos, which we needed for ambient, or because someone wasn’t mic-ed, would disappear entirely. I would try to replace the footage missing with the same clip, only to have the program, crash and crash and crash.

Oh, error.

This is the error that came up a lot before the crashing ensued. It could be ignored, unless audio was missing.

2 very different tracks from the stereo recordings of the Zoom from 2 lav mics. This is how the Zoom tracks would look when Nacho received them.

Instead of two different audio clips, I have the same one repeated. This is how the separated stereo tracks would look (sometimes, often, but not always) when Nacho would pass me back sequences he had worked on.

We devised a number of work arounds – I would resync based on audio clips I had with the originals in Premiere. Once, Nacho exported the audios from his computer and we replaced the bad audios. We never, never shut down the computer mid-project because we never knew what disaster we would find when we opened it.

Towards the end, my crash comments deteriorated. They became, things like, “PluralEyes, boo” & “Fix, bad, crash, angry” and things of the sort.

I presume this will get worked out over time, more on the part of PluralEyes. I have no solutions. The one that seemed most probable – changing the mode of splitting a stereo track (see the two methods above) gave nothing. One thing I often did was create a copy of my original zoom track in my finder, then replace the audio footage with the duplicated clip. This often worked with audio only clips. With the 5 and 7d, the computer would crash.

We’ve just started trying with PluralEyes 3. Prettier interface, more work, more frequent Premiere crashes. We got the show out, and we’re proud and happy and satisfied and have achieved something. We’ll update Premiere to 6.0 and hope for improvements with both along the way. We’re sticking with Premiere, and we have no choice but to wait.

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