If you've been following the Final Cut Pro X debacle, you've probably come to realize that version 10.0 is far from perfect.
When Apple announced FCPX, It was exciting to hear that a synchronization tool was going to be included in the software. Though this was music to our ears, I was a little confused why the developing team didn't leave this to PluralEyes.
As a freelance editor, I was recently faced with a project where I was given material which was shot on a Canon 5D Mark II, with audio captured separately on a H4n Zoom.
Having used PluralEyes with FCP7, I was excited to see how "Synchronize Clips" would handle a similar situation. To my surprise, it didn't, I was absolutely shocked to find the following results.
Having torn my hair out for a few days, I would like to share the hurdles, and the workaround I use to overcome it.
Attention Final Cut Pro X development team, please put back the smile we once had on our face, even if it means allowing third party developers to build plugins that actually work.
FCPX Synchronize Clips BUG & Workaround:
To demonstrate how inaccurate Synchronize Clips works with native h.264 media, I've constructed the following test.
First I started a new event and imported 2x raw or un-optimized files.
- File 1 - Approx 10min video clip, shot on a Canon 5D Mark II - 1920 x 1080 25P codec h.264
- File 2 - Approx 10min audio file, recorded on the H4n Zoom - recorded at 44.1 kHz codec WAV
During the recoding, I created sync points by clapped my hands approximately every minute.
After importing them both into FCPX, I selected the two files, right mouse clicked and selected Synchronize Clips.
As you can see in my screen grab, the sync points are clear and should be easy to match, yet FCPX was unable to line up the peaks and synchronize the two.
Trying to brain storm what it could be, I decided to optimize the h.264 clip to ProRes 422 using the optimize media option in FCPX.
To my surprise, the results were exactly the same, the clips were still out of sync.
Further investigating, I noticed something fishy going on in the inspector panel, the meta data didn't seem to be changing. Read more here: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3272835?tstart=30
Not knowing what else to do, I decided to transcode outside of FCPX. Using MPEG Streamclip, I transcoded the original h.264 to ProRes 422, re-imported and re-synchronized.
Need I say more about the result.
FCPX Synchronize Multipal Clips BUG
In this test I set the H4n Zoom to continuously record for 5min. During that time I recorded 10-15sec clips approximately ever minute. Each clip had a different amount of claps, which should have made it very easy for FCPX to sync.
- 5min Audio
- 5x Clips 10-15sec each
- Every clip had a distinct amount of claps
- All clips converted to ProRes prior importing
Result..... There all stacked on top of each other.
If FCPX is unable to synchronize such an easy task like this, then I think I'm right to say synchronize clips has a BUG and needs looking at by the
Please keep in mind that these findings have been my own personal experience with FCPX, if anyone else has had a different experience, please share and don't forget to send Apple feedback.