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Old Dec 13, 2010, 2:57 PM   #1
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Default Olympus DS-40 Synchronize Audio With Hybrid Video

I have an Olympus DS-40 that I use to record field audio.


- Very good quality audio that is far better than the audio recorded by most hybrid camcorders
- relatively inexpensive
- very small and light
- can be used with external microphones
- earphone jack for monitoring during recording

This recorder records to .WMA (Windows Media Audio) file format.


The .WMA files produced by this recorder don't line up perfectly with the audio recorded by the onboard microphones of my camcorders. In other words, I can use a clap board to sync the beginning of the two audio tracks in my non-linear video editor (Magix Movie Edit Pro on Windows and iMovie on OS X). However, the track of the Olympus recorder slowly drifts out of sync with the camcorder audio track.

Fortunately, Magix Movie Edit Pro has a feature that makes it easy to synchronize the two audio tracks by either stretching or shrinking the DS-40 track.

For those who don't know how this amazing Magix "object stretch mouse mode" works, it's quite easy:

Suppose you record a long audio track with a device that records to the Windows Media Audio format.

So you load that audio clip into the Magix timeline.

Suppose you simultaneously recorded a long audio track with your camcorder's crummy onboard microphone.

Suppose your goal is to replace the low-quality camcorder audio with the
high-quality audio recorded by your stand alone recorder.

But, after importing the stand alone recorder's file into your Magix timeline,
you realize that it is slightly different in its timing.

Suppose you used a clapboard and you line up the "clap" waveforms at the
beginning of the recording so that they are synchronized on the Magix timeline.

Suppose you *also* used a clapboard at the *end* when you were finished

But then you realize -- as you play both tracks simultaneously -- that the audio from the stand alone recorder steadily drifts out of sync with the audio from the camcorder.

Well, it's an easy fix in Magix.

After you sync the "clapboard" sound at the beginning of both tracks by using
your mouse to position both clips so that the audio waveform peak in one track is directly above the audio peak in the track below, all you have to do next is click the Magix "object stretch mouse mode" icon above the timeline. Next, hover your mouse above the end of the clip recorded by the stand alone recorder. Your mouse cursor will then change... to look like two small arrows pointing left/right with a sprocketed film frame between them. When you see this icon, it means you can then click and drag the end of the audio clip so that the end "clap" waveform peak lines up perfectly with end "clap" waveform peak of the camcorder audio clip. This makes everything sync -- even those "in between" portions of the two audio clips! It's that simple. And it's an amazing Magix feature.

Now, can this also be done on the Mac?

Well, yes, but it's more expensive.

As far as I can see, iMovie won't do it nor will Garage Band.

However, Apple's "Logic Express 9" *will* do it.

I've tested Logic Express 9 over the weekend and it works in the same way. It allows the user to stretch or shrink a waveform with one's mouse. Logic will then allow the user to write the high quality waveform to any video file, effectively replacing the low-quality camcorder track.
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Old Dec 14, 2010, 10:09 AM   #2
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P.S. The DS-40 is now an old model. I also have the newer Olympus DM-420 and WS-700M models and they are terrific as well.
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