I have been using Red Giant’s PluralEyes software for many years now first of all with Adobe Premiere, then with Grass Valley’s Edius and more recently with DaVinci Resolve 17. If you are not familiar with PluralEyes it is a program that makes synchronising multiple video and audio feeds a breeze! Sure, you could do it all on your NLE (Non Linear Editor) timeline and match up your clapperboard sync points but what if you are using several cameras and audio sources? I shoot a lot of weddings as well as other live events and am typically using at least 2 cameras, sometimes 3 or 4, and 2 external audio recorders. That can just get a bit messy when you come to synchronise it later.
But since moving to Resolve earlier this year I ran into a slight issue with how it processed PluralEyes, based on how Resolve creates multicam sequences. The specific issue is that Resolve creates a sequence . When I am filming a wedding reception speeches I usually connect the frequency of the wireless microphone being used to my Sennheiser receivers on the same wavelength, and then recorded onto a Zoom H1, Podtrack P4 or Tascam DR-40. But what if their mic dies or somebody makes a spontaneous speech without using the mic? I also like to use the in camera ambient sound from a cut away camera feed and blend it in with the main mic so that I can get some of the guests’ laughter, applause and witty remarks! What I need is to be able to choose which audio track I need as I edit. The method I am about to expand on is the one I use to reach that goal.
So let’s dive into the process.
I am using PluralEyes version 4.1.11 and DaVinci Resolve 17.3.2 on Windows 10, so I can’t say how this works on a Mac.
I have included screenshots for those, like myself, who find it easier to learn by seeing rather than reading. To see a full size version of each screenshot, click/tap on it and it will open in a lightbox. I also hope to create a video version of this tutorial some time in the future.
Step 1: Create a New Project in PluralEyes
You can do this either by going to File – New Project or using the shortcut CTRL + N
Step 2: Import your video and audio assets into PluralEyes
There are many ways of doing this. You can add all clips together, but in my experience this often leads to PluralEyes thinking that they are all the same camera or audio feed and can cause a sync error. My preferred way is to add each clip one by one, either by going to File – Add Media or you can drag and drop from your folder onto PluralEyes. If you have all your video footage in one folder, you can select multiple clips from the same camera by clicking the first one with your mouse then press and hold the CTRL key. While holding the CTRL key, select all the files you want to add. This will ensure that PluralEyes imports them all on the same camera track. Repeat this for all cameras. Obviously, if you only have 1 video clip for each camera this doesn’t apply.
Step 3: Synchronise your assets.
PluralEyes will then start to line up the video with all the corresponding audio tracks. With long clips, sound and video can slide out of sync. PluralEyes can detect this and automatically corrects that drift. This is such a handy feature and one of the reasons I love using PluralEyes.
Step 4: Export the Timeline
Choose the destination for the exported file. Make sure you select DaVinci Resolve for the Export Format. I find it useful selecting ‘Move unsynchronised clips to the end’ as it makes it easier to see which ones you will need to manually synchronise later on the timeline. PluralEyes colours any unsynchronised clips red so visually it is easier to see.
Step 5: Import Into DaVinci Resolve
Now we need to import the XML file that we exported from PluralEyes. Go to File – Import – Timeline
In this next part pay attention to the Timecode. You need to make sure that the timecode values here match those in your Preferences in Resolve.
Make sure that your Timecode is set as in the screenshot below:
Now we have all our audio and video files imported and synchronised perfectly in a new sequence.
But we can’t start editing yet. What we need to do now is to create a Multicam sequence from this synced sequence. Resolve is a bit quirky in that you cannot just create a blank multicam sequence. The way to do it is to select any clip in the bin that contains the footage you are synchronising and right click ANY video or audio file. It doesn’t matter what it is as you will see soon. Then right click and select Create New Multicam Timeline Using Selected Clips.
Note that you may need to reset the Timecode to match what you have set in your Preferences. Your Frame Rate may be different to mine as I was shooting at 50 frames per second. I also untick the Move Source Clips option as they are already in the bin that I am using.
This will create the sequence we need as the shell for our synchronised multicam clips.
We don’t need this 1 clip that was created, so you can delete it from the timeline. Now, go back to the synced sequence you created using the XML imported from PluralEyes. Then go to Edit – Select All or use the shortcut CTRL + A and then Edit – Copy or CTRL + C to copy all clips on the timeline. Now go to your multicam sequence and Edit – Paste or CTRL + V to paste all clips into the timeline.
Tip: Use Stacked Timelines so that you can have both the synced and multicam sequences open side by side.
Now we are going to insert the synced sequence into the multicam sequence. Click and drag the multicam clip from the bin to the end of the synced sequence timeline.
We now have the nested multicam sequence but that is needed is the video tracks. So we are going to delete the linked audio and use the synced video with the 4 other audio tracks. On the timeline unlink the audio and video of the multicam sequence by right clicking and untick Link Clips or CTRL + ALT + L.
Next, delete the video clips from the original synced sequence by unlinking them.
And finally, move the video file to line up with the start of the audio files.
Now you are all ready to start your multicam editing! To do this you will need to be in Dual Viewer Mode. The easiest way is to use SHIFT + X.