17 Replies Latest reply on Jul 25, 2009 9:18 AM by the_wine_snob

    Audio Synchronization

    rtk1958 Level 1

      I apoligize if this has been asked before, but I am looking for some slideshow production software that is capable of tight synhronization between audio and photo tracks.  Probably would need to be able synchronize a visual event with a specific frame of audio.   Adobe Premiere Elements talks about synchronizing to "beats" in the audio track, but I doubt this is tight enough.  For example, if you want a photo to appear the instant you hear a particular sound/note in the audio track, to prevent any noticeable mis-alignment, a frame-level synch capability is probably needed.

       

      Anyone know if Adobe PE is capable of doing this or what other SW packages would be?

       

      Thanks,

      Todd

        • 1. Re: Audio Synchronization
          Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

          If your end product is to be a video slideshow, Premiere Elements will give you the functionality you're looking for. In Timeline mode, you can synchronize audio, video and music precisely!

          • 2. Re: Audio Synchronization
            rtk1958 Level 1

            Thanks for the quick reply. 

             

            I want to create a moving slideshow using still photos (not video) as my visual source and synchronize the photo display and transitions very precisely with any place in the audio track.  Don't know if you'd call that a "video slideshow" or not.  If by "video slideshow" you mean using a video source and being able to synchronize video frames with audio frames, then that's not what I want to do.

             

            Are you saying that Elements can tightly synchronize a video source with and audio track but not as tightly synchronize a series of photos with an audio track?

             

            Thanks,

            Todd

            • 3. Re: Audio Synchronization
              Kodebuster Level 3

              Todd, yes it can be done (as Steve stated).

               

              For example if you know that a particular sound begins at a precise time (on the timeline), you can place your photo to have the first frame align to this exact point.

               

              The length (time) the photo (video) will play will be dependant on the default Still Image time (in seconds) set under Preferences.

               

              Or you can grab the end of the Photo on the timeline and stretch to your desire.

               

              Keep in mind that this will be a manual process to get things sync'd to such precision...

              • 4. Re: Audio Synchronization
                rtk1958 Level 1

                Thanks for the info Kodebuster!

                 

                Sounds good to me.

                 

                I assume there's an easy way to mark the audio timeline to precisely correspond to the audio moment you want to synchronize to?  Then, you can adjust your photo display to the mark on the timeline, or at least be able to do something like that?

                 

                One thing that makes me leery about this is that with all the demos on the Adobe site I've seen, I haven't seen one yet that shows precise synchronization of photos with the audio track.   That could be just a coincidence, but makes me wonder nevertheless.

                 

                Would be great to see a slideshow created with Elements that actually has examples of precisely synchronized photos with an audio track.

                 

                Thanks,

                Todd

                • 5. Re: Audio Synchronization
                  Kodebuster Level 3

                  Another option is to download PE7 for the 30 day trial period and play with a couple of photos and your soundtrack.

                   

                  Nothing beats seeing to believe, and if it meets with your desired results, you can then take the plunge and purchase...

                  • 6. Re: Audio Synchronization
                    Kodebuster Level 3

                    Regarding finding the precise point in time of a sound on the Audio Timeline, this will be a function of stretching the TimeLine (out to Max, if you got good eyes and hearing).

                     

                    Then it's a combination of a visual inspect of the (stretched) Audio waveform, and a well tuned ear.

                     

                    It's probably harder to describe then actually perform, but the net is it's not automagic (you must look and hear to find that precise point in time)...

                    • 7. Re: Audio Synchronization
                      Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

                      And, as I said, Todd, you'll want to work in Timeline rather than Sceneline mode. In Timeline mode, you can synchronize audio and video to the frame!

                       

                      But, as I said, remember that, if you use Premiere Elements, your output is going to be video. It will be a slideshow -- but it will be a VIDEO slideshow.

                       

                      The reason I stress this is because video is a fairly low resolution medium. (Your TV is made up of essentially the equivalent of a 640x480 pixel image.) And sometimes people are a little surprised to find that some of the finer details of their photos are lost in translation.

                       

                      On the other hand, it's precisely because it is video that you will have the synchro control over the presentation that you'll have!

                       

                      All of this will become clear, as Kodebuster says, when you experiment with the 30-day trial.

                      • 8. Re: Audio Synchronization
                        the_wine_snob Level 9

                        PE will do what you want quite nicely.

                         

                        Now, for the precision that you are looking for, you will need to do some of it by hand and ear. The Detect Beats is OK, as a starter. Many feel that it is not accurate enough however. Many of the same users believe that they are better, and use the * key [asterix] on the numberpad to "tap" to the beat and add markers to the timeline. Once the markers are in place, whether by Detect Beats, or by tapping the *, they then go in and tighten things up.

                         

                        As you have no Video, with Audio associated, all you have to do is zoom horizontally (I'd also do it vertically, to see the Waveform Display clearly) on the Timeline and adjust the placement/Duration of your still images. The closest thing to a limitation that you will have is that all Video (this includes stills, as well as actual Video footage) will only edit to the frame level. This means that in an NTSC Projcet you're limited to 1/30th of a second. Considering the eye & ear-brain connection of a human, this is more than close enough. I've seen posts where users want to edit video to 1/1000 of a sec. Unfortunately, it isn't going to happen.

                         

                        When you do go to edit, you will want to turn Snap OFF, or you'll never be able to get things to work - Snap will do just as its name implies - Snap the Tail, or Head of an image sequence to the next. Just remember to turn it back on, when you're done.

                         

                        Good luck

                         

                        Hunt

                        • 9. Re: Audio Synchronization
                          the_wine_snob Level 9

                          Before you embark on producing your SlideShow, you might want to take a look at this ARTICLE from the Tips & Tricks sub-forum. It will give you a starting point for preparing your images, prior to Import.

                           

                          Good luck,

                           

                          Hunt

                          • 10. Re: Audio Synchronization
                            the_wine_snob Level 9
                            But, as I said, remember that, if you use Premiere Elements, your output is going to be video. It will be a slideshow -- but it will be a VIDEO slideshow.

                             

                            Steve,

                             

                            A very good point, and one that needs to be raised.

                             

                            Depending on several factors, mostly around delivery, one can do an HD Project, using larger still images, and then output to BD (Blu-ray Disc). However, the larger images will require more computer horsepower and resources. One also will be Burning to BD, and the recipients will need a BD player. The editor could Export as an HD file for uploading to Vimeo, or similar sites, that allow for HD material. This takes the BD burner and player out of the equation, though the Project would be set up, as though that was the final output.

                             

                            Though it is specifically for Adobe Encore (authoring application), HERE is a list of the Frame Sizes.

                             

                            Good luck,

                             

                            Hunt

                            • 11. Re: Audio Synchronization
                              rtk1958 Level 1

                              Wow, lots of great advice.  I'm convinced now I should at least give Adobe PE a whirl.  I haven't done this before so may take me awhile to figure it all out.

                               

                              I'll definitely want to use larger resolution photos than 640x480 as a 640x480 video slideshow won't look all that good on a 56" HD TV.   How much resolution can be stored in .wav files or compressed in .mpg files?  Any limits there?  Disk space is not an issue.  Don't have a BlueRay disc recorder/player, but playing a .wav on the computer and outputing to the TV via the external VGA computer output isn't too bad.  Have viewed hi-res photos that way many times.  Guess I could record to regular DVD like I have built into my PC which doesn't look too bad either.  Will have to get a Blueray soon I guess.

                               

                              Thanks for all the help and advice.

                               

                              Todd

                              • 12. Re: Audio Synchronization
                                the_wine_snob Level 9

                                Todd,

                                 

                                The PCM/WAV 48KHz 16-bit Audio will be uncompressed and will sound impressive, if mixed properly. This is the Audo standard for DVD-Video.

                                 

                                As for your Project, you'll need to think about this for a bit. If you are going to DVD-Video, then you will be limited to 720x480, with appropriate PAR for the aspect ratio, i.e. 4:3, or 16:9. If you are going from your computer, you can set up an HD Project (can later be used to create a BD), and size appropriately. Personally, I'd test this with some still images sent from the computer to the TV, as you have done. This FAQ article from the Encore forum will give you the pixel dimensions of BD Projects. The one thing to remember is that the larger your still images, the greater the processing power needed by any NLE program. If you went with the 1920x1080, I'd limit the image sizes to just that size. Obviously, the larger the images, the better they will look on your large-screen. The trade off will be the computing power needed to handle many images that large. It's a real balancing act and only testing on your equipment will give you the answer.

                                 

                                Good luck, and let us know how the Project goes, plus what you decide will give you best results.

                                 

                                Hunt

                                • 13. Re: Audio Synchronization
                                  rtk1958 Level 1

                                  I assume that PE can scale images down to any size you want?  Most of the photos I take are 3072x2304 pixels.  I was hoping to import all the pictures I want for a program then have them a scaled appropriately within PE.

                                   

                                  Not sure how much machine is needed.  I have a new HP Pavillion "Entertainment" laptop PC with an Intel Core Duo CPU T6400 @ 2GHz, with 4GB memory, and an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD with "up to 1759MB total video memory.  Not sure how much memory the card has when it says "up to" some amount of memory.  I know both system and accelerator memory sizes are significant factors in overall performance.  Unfortunately, the laptop is running Vista so there goes a lot of processing power there.

                                   

                                  Thanks everyone for all the advice and suggestions!

                                   

                                  Todd

                                  • 14. Re: Audio Synchronization
                                    the_wine_snob Level 9
                                    I assume that PE can scale images down to any size you want?  Most of the photos I take are 3072x2304 pixels.  I was hoping to import all the pictures I want for a program then have them a scaled appropriately within PE.

                                     

                                    This is the wrong approach for two reasons. The scaling algorithms in PE (and PrPro) are not the best. Quality WILL suffer. The second reason is performance. The additional workload on you computer and on PE will not be a good one. This ARTICLE will show you a much better method. It's written for PS, as that is what I have, but PSElements will do it well too.

                                     

                                    If you wish for diminished quality and also more stress on your computer and the NLE program, that is your choice. I choose to not make that choice and get the best results possible, but then my background is as an advertising photographer, so I am critical.

                                     

                                    Good luck,

                                     

                                    Hunt

                                    • 15. Re: Audio Synchronization
                                      Kodebuster Level 3

                                      If your camera is producing still images at 3072x2304, then you'll want to resize ALL photos to NO larger than 1024x768 prior to using the PE video editor.

                                       

                                      If I'm not panning or zooming a photo, I go for 800x600, since I'm targeting Standard Definition as my output, and the TV/monitor is typically the weakest link in the quality chain of events.

                                       

                                      Failure to do this will put extraordinary stress on system resources (especially the CPU and Memory, and it has nothing to do with how good your video card may be, or its memory size). It will result in very long encoding times, a hung application, or a frozen system.

                                       

                                      If you needed aspirin for the hardware, a failure to resize photos will move you to Prozac in short order...lol...

                                       

                                      If you do the math it kinda makes sense. A typical 30 minute video slideshow would equate to over 50,000 frames that the editor would need to downsize.

                                      (30 minutes x 60 seconds x 30 frames per second = 54,000)

                                       

                                      The nice thing about PE is that Photoshop has a kool feature to batch process a set of photos to the correct size. You can even use Photoshop to create the slideshow, then export it directly into the video editor for further refinement...

                                      • 16. Re: Audio Synchronization
                                        rtk1958 Level 1

                                        I get the idea about processing load when generating a video slideshow from still photos.  I would opt for highest resolution possible while avoiding hangs, delays, and/or other erratic behavior from PE so I guess it's 1024x768 or less.  I like the pan&zoom for some things, but I also want to create some precisely-sychronized video slideshows as I've always thought it adds a lot of punch to the show.  I assume that along with the drain on processing power, using larger photos for precise synchronization might also cause timing and synchronization problems since realtime playback will not tolerate time delays caused by lack of processing power.   For shows with lots of precise synchronization, I assume it'd be better to go with the 800x600 res?

                                         

                                        Thanks for the tip regarding the image scaling quality difference between the PE/NLE and PS, it makes sense I suppose.   Probably just one way Adobe gets people to purchase both PE and PS.  I don't have PS and would prefer not to purchase it.  I do have a photo editing program from Olympus, Olympus Master 2, that came with my Olympus digital camera.  It has all the photo editting capability I ever see myself using (I'm NOT a pro by any means) as well as pixel-level image re-sizing.  Don't know if it supports batch processing of mutliple images though, as I've found that most less-expensive photo editors don't include this capability.  Will have to check.

                                         

                                        Thanks,

                                        Todd

                                        • 17. Re: Audio Synchronization
                                          the_wine_snob Level 9

                                          Now, Adobe offers Photoshop Elements, which is a very powerful and inexpensive image editor. For the Video (SlideShow) work, PSE can do almost everything that the full PS does, plus more. It has a SlideShow function built in. My full PS does not. PSE is available as a stand-alone, or can be bundled with PE. In the bundle, and with the fairly common discounts on the package, one can get them both for about the price of either alone.

                                           

                                          As for the differences in the way that PE and PrPro handle still image resizing vs how PS/PSE handle it, remember, the frist two programs are Video editors. They are not still image processing programs. It's like PS's ability to handle Vector graphics. It gets better with each new version, but PS is still not Illustrator. Illustrator can handle Raster images, but it is still not PS. Instead of trying to create one monster program, that did everything, Adobe has concentrated on individual programs, that work well together. Imagine the outcry if one could only purchase the combined program, and they only needed to edit Video. The other functions would be useless to them, but the price of the combined program would be as much as all of the elements included - that would be those elements that would never be used.

                                           

                                          Actually PSE and PE combined, do things that even their big-brothers PS and PrPro cannot do, though they do lack some features of the bigger programs. That is pretty amazing to me, especially when one considers the price difference.

                                           

                                          Good luck,

                                           

                                          Hunt