If you’ve ever experienced audio and video that doesn't sync up while watching a podcast or YouTube vlog, you already know how distracting it can be. An audio delay can completely ruin otherwise great content and turn off viewers. We'll explain why audio and video get out of sync when recording and provide options for how to sync audio and video using different methods and editing programs.
Synced Audio and Video Is Important for Great Content
To create an enjoyable podcast, you’ll need to sync audio and video. Otherwise, your audience will get distracted and find it hard to follow your show. This article will walk you through the steps of syncing audio and video, so you can do it manually or using auto-sync tools.
Audio and Video Syncing At-A-Glance
- Quality recording starts with the right equipment: we suggest using a separate, external microphone which reduces unwanted background noise.
- Using an external mic means you have to sync your audio and visual. You can do this manually or automatically with auto-sync.
- You can easily sync audio and video by looking at the audio waveforms from the two recordings. Spikes in waveforms, from a clapboard or other notable sounds, will help match both recordings.
- You can get quality synced audio and video with either manual or auto-sync. We suggest learning both to really master the editing process.
- You can find free video editing software to sync your audio and video files. However, if you have some extra cash, you can better quality programs with premium features that make syncing and video editing even easier.
Recording Quality Audio and Video
Creating great content starts with quality audio recording and video footage. This usually means having the proper equipment to record your interview, vlog, or other content. While you can record decent audio using your computer camera's built-in microphone, using a separate, external microphone offers a better option to capture quality audio.
An external audio recorder gives you options when recording - you can move it and angle it in the proper direction to record. Having an external mic also allows you to take advantage of polar patterns so you can reduce unwanted background noise.
Here’s the catch: Having a mic separate from your camera provides the best quality audio. But, you’ll also need to sync audio and video tracks during post-production.
Why Do Video And Audio Get Out Of Sync?
When you record audio and video separately, you end up with a video file recorded by your camera and a separate audio file recorded by your external microphone. Unless you time it perfectly (which is nearly impossible to do), your audio and video will be slightly out of sync. You'll have to use an editing program to synchronize them.
If you only use the internal microphone on your camera or webcam, you won't have to worry about having to sync audio and video. However, your audio quality will suffer, and you may end up with a recording you can't use.
How to Sync Audio and Video Sources
Audio and video synchronization isn't rocket science, but it can take time, especially if you don't take certain steps when recording. After you've recorded, use a reliable video editor with features that match the audio with video. Then you can synchronize audio and video clips either manually or automatically.
Tips For How to Sync Audio and Video
Using a video editor to sync your audio and video files improves with practice. When you incorporate the following three tips into your process, you'll spend a lot less time and energy on getting your audio and video synchronized.
Use a Clapboard When Recording
“Lights, Camera, Action!”—You probably recognize the iconic clapboard used in movies. Filmmakers use clapboards as an easy way to synchronize audio and video. The loud sound created by a clapboard makes a spike in your audio waveforms. These sync points provide points of reference to begin lining up sound with video so you can easily match this spike with the visual of the clapboard in your video.
Record Audio On Your Camera and External Mic
Just because you use an external mic for recording doesn’t mean you should turn off the audio recording for your camera. When you have the audio from both sources, it cuts down the time you spend on synchronization. You can match up the audio waveforms from the two recordings.
Using a video editor, place one track right over the other and match up the peaks to sync the separate audio and video files. It may take some additional tweaking to get it synced just right, but approaching synchronization this way can save time and free you up for other post-production work.
Pay Close Attention to Audio Waveforms When Editing
Use your eyes and ears when syncing your audio and video. Listening is important, but visuals of the audio waveforms and video frames help to get an accurate outcome for your content. Look for spikes in audio waveforms to match up with video content. If you don't use a clapboard, you can find other sync points created by distinct sounds, like if someone coughs, sneezes, or laughs. These sounds create peaks that you can use for synchronization.
How To Sync Audio and Video In Premiere Pro
Premiere Pro offers a free video editing program that allows you to easily sync audio and video. This program provides different options for matching your audio to your video, including manually or automatically (with Premiere Pro sync).
How to Sync Audio and Video Sources Manually
With Premiere Pro, you can use the tried and true method of manual syncing to get your video and audio to match up. If you decide to go this route instead of opting for Premiere Pro's auto-syncing features, take advantage of the following tips to make your manual syncing experience easier:
- Find your audio and video files in your media bins.
- Drag the two files into your timeline. Position your video file above the audio file.
- Use peaks in the audio wavelength to line up the audio from your mic and the audio from your camera. If you used a clapboard, line up the two audio wavelengths using the peak at the beginning created by the clapboard.
- Manually drag your audio file so that it lines up with the video audio.
- Play your clip to make sure the audio and the video are properly synced. Solo your audio track to check that audio and visuals match up.
- Make any adjustments necessary to better sync the audio and video.
- Delete the audio from your camera, but keep the audio file from your mic.
- Link the audio and the video.
How to Sync Audio and Video Sources in Premiere Pro Automatically Using the Merge Feature
Premiere Pro's merge feature allows you to sync multiple audio files with a single video file. If you regularly record multiple audio files, the merge feature is invaluable. Instead of having to manually sync multiple audio files to your video file, you can automatically merge all of the files with a few clicks.
- Locate the audio and video files in your media bins.
- If using a PC, hold down the "Control" button on your keyboard. If using a Mac, hold down "Command".
- Select the clips you want to merge. You can merge up to 16 audio files with one video file using the merge feature.
- Once you've selected the files you want to merge, the “Merge Clips” menu will pop up. Name your track and select "Audio" from the "Synchronize Point" radial menu.
- Premiere Pro will compare your audio file to your video file and automatically sync the clips for you. The program will create a new file with the synced audio and video.
- Drag the new clip to your timeline and select "Remove Audio From AV Clip" to remove the audio from your camera and leave just the external mic audio.
How to Sync Audio and Video Sources in Premiere Pro Automatically Using the Synchronize Feature
The synchronize feature in Premiere Pro syncs multiple video files with one audio track. If you record in a studio and use multiple camera angles, the synchronize feature will automatically sync the video from all of your cameras (much easier than syncing each video track to the audio manually and separately).
- Drag the audio file you want to synchronize onto your timeline. Place the audio file leaving space in the timeline above and below it. Lock the audio file in place.
- Add the video files you want to sync above the locked audio file and the audio from the video files below the locked audio file.
- Unlock the audio file. Hold "Control" and press "A" on a PC or "Command" and "A" on a Mac to select all of the clips in the timeline.
- Right-click and select "Synchronize".
- Name your track and select "Audio" from the "Synchronize Point" radial menu.
- Premiere Pro will compare your audio files to your video files and automatically sync the clips for you. The program will create a new file with the synced audio and video.
- Select "Remove Audio From AV Clip" to remove the audio from your cameras and leave just the external mic audio.
Manually Syncing Vs. The Easy Way: The Auto Sync Process
So is it better to manually sync your audio or use auto-sync features? The short answer: You can get perfectly synced audio and video with either method.
If you plan to go with manual, make sure you understand the syncing process. You can practice syncing manually by using the auto-sync feature of your video editing program. That way, you can see what the waveforms look like when they line up properly. You’ll have an idea of how they should look when manually syncing your external audio with your video audio.
Video Editing Programs For Synching Video and Audio
Premiere Pro offers free video editing software to sync your audio and video files. However, if you have some extra cash, you can find quality video editing programs with premium features that make syncing and video editing even easier.
Riverside.fm is known for its podcast and video recording software that produces crystal-clear audio and video. They recently came out with a feature that provides a constant frame rate file. This ensures that all files remain in sync—a huge time saver for creators. Read more about it here.
PluralEyes has something for everyone - from the new video editor to the pro who is looking to take their videos to the next level. If you don't want to sync your audio and video files manually, you can use the program's automated features.
In addition to auto-syncing, PluralEyes has other features like keyboard shortcuts, auto drift correction, track comparisons, and clip spanning. This software is great for anyone who records events or podcasts using multiple camera angles as it makes syncing your audio to multiple video sources a breeze.
This editing program has an easy-to-use interface and comes at many different price points. You only pay for the features you need as a video editor or content producer. You can view multiple video and audio files all at once for easy syncing. Other features include effects and transition, video stabilization, and color tuning capabilities. VideoPad is used by many musicians who make music videos and many podcasters because it allows you to share your videos directly to YouTube.
Ideal for professionals who want advanced control, Wondershare Democreator has a full suite of tools for editing your files that includes noise removal, voice-over capabilities, captioning capabilities, and video speed control. The software will let you separate the video and audio tracks from a video file so that you can edit the audio separately and then sync it up with the video again once you finish.
The Right Way to Sync Your Audio & Video
If you only sync a single audio file to a single video file, a few small steps, like using a clapboard and external, can make things a whole lot easier.
But why wouldn’t you use auto-syncing, if the quality is warranted? Luckily Riverside’s constant frame rate files do exactly that.