Synch, jam, timecode, slate. Dry topics, I know. but as producers, you understand how important they are. Without synchronization, you just have a pile of video and a pile of audio, and one angry editor.
A surge in popularity of digital SLR cameras can be frustrating for the professional sound recordist. As camera manufacturers squeeze more video features into smaller packages they eliminate audio functionality. Cheap hardware connections and noisy amplifiers are the norm. Timecode and sync become someone else's problem. However, some very interesting tech has come from these camera limitations. Let's look at some of the good stuff.
A portable time code generator is a simple yet extremely effective device in today's fast paced production environment. We're always on the move, always making adjustments, swapping batteries. Clapping and waving slates around can be very cumbersome. Thankfully Mike Denecke, inventor of the time code slate, also had the idea to put his super accurate clock into a tiny box that could be attached to a camera directly.
Today these sync boxes are small, smart and affordable. Betso, a Czech company, have designed this beautiful box that will make your post production breezy. Jam it (translation: synchronize it) to your recorder, and plug it in to your camera's TC input, if you have one. Set and forget.
This thing is sturdy and will run for days on a pair of AA batteries and only drifts a fraction of a frame.
Sennheiser Evolution Wireless G3
This is a wireless system that has become industry standard for wireless sound; It's sturdy, inexpensive and sold everywhere.
In addition to wiring talent with a lavalier, soundies have adopted it in reverse: as a "camera hop". Translation: a wireless link from the sound recordist's mixer to the camera. We send our mix to camera as a guide track for synchronization purposes. This way the editor can get to work with the footage immediately, and your software (eg. Pluraleyes) will have an exact copy of the audio to accurately sync a high quality recorder file with the camera audio. It's a time saver, and a money saver. $20 in rentals can save hours in headaches in post.
Bonus: G3 mixes can also be sent simultaneously to multiple receivers. Give one to the director, one to the script supervisor, and one to each camera; All from a single transmitter. No need to rent a separate Comtek system!
You've probably got an iPhone, and an iPad or two. Well, then get this app. If you're a film maker this might be the best $2 you've ever spent.
It's cheaper than a latte, and not a replacement for a real digital slate, but at least your crew mates won't tease you for clapping like a seal. Something tells me you'll have a use for it.