[00:00:09] “[Shouts] Why should you record in 32-bit float? [Whispers] Just in case.”
The dialogue you heard in the introduction was only recoverable because it was recorded in 32-bit float. If you’re not familiar with 32-bit float, think of it kind of like a RAW photograph where with a RAW photo, even if you overexpose it and you blow out your highlights, odds are pretty good, you’ll be able to recover most — if not all — of that highlight detail.
[00:00:37] 32-bit float audio is similar in that you have a lot more data to work with than a conventional recording, and if you clip your peaks, odds are pretty good you’re going to be able to recover them, pull those back. Similarly, you can take really quiet audio and lift that up much better than you can with a conventional file.
[00:00:54] I’ve got the audio file from my recorder in my NLE. So, let’s have a look at it and see exactly what we’re working with. Here you can see very clearly that the audio is completely clipped. That’s the loud part and then over here, the quiet part, there’s barely anything going on. Let me play this through for you and don’t worry, I’m going to turn the volume down so we don’t blow out your ears but listen to what we have to work with.
“[Shouts] Why should you record in 32-bit float? [Whispers] Just in case.”
[00:01:19] Just like you can see on the timeline, the loudest parts of that audio are completely cut off and you can hear that. You can hear that clipping happening. And with the conventional recording, while I could of course turn down the volume, I wouldn’t be able to recover all those peaks — all that extra data up there. But watch what happens with this 32-bit float file.
[00:01:36] As I grab the levels and pull this down, look at how all that data is actually there. Check that out. Now, let’s listen to it again.
“[Shouts] Why should you record in 32-bit float?”
[00:01:48] So, obviously I’m still shouting but the levels are not so loud that they’re clipping. We hear all of that information. Now, let’s look at the quiet part. I’ll split the file in two so I can raise this part separately and look at what happens as I raise that up. Look at all the information there.
[00:02:05] Now, we’re also seeing all the background noise and my studio is far from quiet, so there is some background noise in here but we can get rid of that with a noise reduction plug-in if we needed to, but just listen to the dialogue.
“[Whispers] Just in case.”
[00:02:17] The audio is recoverable. That’s pretty incredible. Okay, so you want to record 32-bit float audio and to do this, you’re going to need an external recorder. You can’t do that in the camera. So, the recorder that I have here is this guy, the TASCAM Portacapture X8. Now, the Portacapture X8 is pretty cool because first of all, it has two built-in microphones, which can be removed if you want to save space, but also on the sides, it has two pairs of XLR inputs, which allows you to connect up to four additional microphones — Lavalier, Shotgun mics, whatever you like.
[00:02:46] So, if you’re recording your 32-bit float audio in an external recorder like this one here, and you’re recording your picture in the camera, how are you going to sync the two together? Well, for the most part, this is actually really easy. As long as you have audio in the camera, pretty much any modern NLE is going to easily synchronize these.
[00:03:02] The software will just look at the waveform from the audio from here, and the waveform from the audio from here, and line them up. Even if you’re just recording audio using the built-in internal mics, it’s probably going to work. It doesn’t really need much to make that alignment. But, what if you don’t have audio in the camera? Now, first you might think “Well, why wouldn’t you have audio in the camera?” and we’ll come to that. I’ll cover a lot of different scenarios where this is a real concern but for now, let’s just talk about the solution.
[00:03:27] If you have audio here and no audio here, how do you synchronize them? Well, for regular viewers of the channel, you probably know the answer to this because I’ve been obsessed with it lately and that’s timecode, which brings us back to the X8 and one of its newest features, the ability to support timecode.
[00:03:42] The timecode support on the X8 requires two things; first of all, you need the Bluetooth adapter. So, there’s the little Bluetooth adapter that just plugs right into the bottom of the recorder, and you’ll need the latest firmware update version 1.2 and I’ll put a link to that down below in the description. So, once you’ve installed the firmware update and added the Bluetooth adapter, what are you going to sync it to? Well, that is where the partner comes in and that’s ATOMOS.
[00:04:04] The TASCAM will sync with the ATOMOS timecode systems, and you might have seen videos that I’ve done before about ATOMOS timecode, and that is exactly what I’m going to show you here. So, there’s a few different ways we can go about that. We’re going to start with these guys: The ATOMOS UltraSync ONE and the ATOMOS UltraSync BLUE. Let’s start with the BLUE.
[00:04:21] This as the name implies is a Bluetooth device. This can take its timecode and transmit it over Bluetooth to a compatible Bluetooth device like the TASCAM X8. But where does it get its timecode? Well, it can actually generate timecode. So, if you are only timecode-syncing Bluetooth devices, then this is all you would need, but that’s probably not the scenario you’re in. Most likely, you’re going to have this, and this guy here.
[00:04:45] This is the UltraSync ONE, and in this situation, let’s consider this one the master. This is the server that is creating the timecode for other devices to connect to. Now, this little guy, I can plug directly into my camera. Take my GH6, plug into the PC port on here and I’ve got timecode into the camera. This then shares its timecode with the UltraSync Blue.
[00:05:04] You see there it says “Server” and it’s on channel 5 and you look over here the UltraSync Blue is the “Client” also on channel 5 and, of course the timecode on these two lineup. So from here all I have to do is connect the TASCAM to the Ultra Sync Blue over Bluetooth, but that’s not the only way to do this. There’s another device from ATOMOS and that’s this guy right here, the AtomX SYNC.
[00:05:23] The AtomX SYNC attaches to the back of a Ninja recorder and the AtomX SYNC is both a timecode transceiver — so, transmitter and receiver — and also a Bluetooth device. So, if you’re recording on a Ninja, then, this is all that you need. This can generate the timecode, it can actually sync to other timecode devices like other UltraSync ONEs but it can also transmit the timecode over Bluetooth. So, that’s what we’re going to use to connect the X8. Let’s get this going.
[00:05:47] First, I want to turn on timecode in the X8. To do that, go into the Menu, go to General Settings, Other Settings, and then Bluetooth and we’ll set that to Timecode and now, as you can see, it’s waiting to connect. Alright, let’s move this out of the way and get the AtomX SYNC running. Okay, first up, you’ll see that there already has timecode going on it, and if I tap on the timecode number there, we’ll see on the timecode page that it has timecode and it’s getting it from the AtomX SYNC. That’s important. You want to make sure that it is getting it from the AtomX SYNC so you don’t have different timecode on different devices.
[00:06:20] On the next page, Sync Config, you’ll see where it’s getting its timecode. This is currently a Client on the network. It’s already joined the network and it’s on Channel 5. That tells me that it’s actually on the same network as this one here.
[00:06:32] Now, in this situation, I do have it synced from here. This is the server and this is a client. AtomX SYNC itself could be the server though. If I wanted to do that, I’d turn off the network and switch this over to Server Mode but I actually want it to be on this network, so I’ll go ahead and leave that on.
[00:06:47] At the bottom of this page, you’ll see it says “Bluetooth: Pair” and that’s how we’re going to pair the devices. So, I’ll go ahead and get that started. I’ll hit Pair on there, tap Connect on the TASCAM, and after a few moments, you’ll see that it connects to the TASCAM. We’ll go ahead and accept that and over here, we’ll see the timecode coming from the AtomX. You can see those two are in sync and then the frame per second is showing up here as well so we know that we have an accurate frame rate for the audio for our video and then underneath that, the device name, CAM-A, which is what the Ninja is called.
[00:07:20] Let’s take a look at some other options in the recorder itself. If we tap on the duration timer here, you’ll see that it can reveal the timecode so you can always verify that you’re getting the timecode there. Also, you’ll notice down at the bottom that the Bluetooth light is pulsing. If I bring over the UltraSync ONE, you’ll see that the light on it is pulsing in tandem with that. That’s just another indicator that these devices are in sync.
[00:07:41] Alright, so we’ve talked about how to get timecode onto here. In a little while, we’re going to talk about how you can then sync the files using timecode in your NLE but next, I want to talk about the situations where you would need timecode. What kind of situations might those be? Well, let’s think big picture.
[00:07:56] First of all, it’s just nice to have timecode. No matter what, whether you’ve got audio everywhere or not, it’s just nice. When you have timecode on all of your clips, all your video, all your audio, everything lines up in your editor perfectly, you know exactly when everything was shot, it’s just beautiful. So, if you can get timecode, I recommend it. It’s very nice.
[00:08:15] But what are the scenarios where it’s absolutely necessary? Let’s talk first about a really big event like a wedding — multiple hours long, multiple camera operators on set, multiple microphones rolling around. So, you’ve got different cameras, you got different mics, they’re all recording at different times, starting/stopping, not necessarily in sync and with timecode, you can have everything line up perfectly. So, that’s a pretty good scenario there.
[00:08:38] But what about the ones where you simply don’t have audio on the camera? What would some of those scenarios be? Let’s take a look at some real-world examples. Let’s get out of here.
[00:08:49] Consider any situation where the camera or anyone of the cameras can’t hear the person talking. Here I’ve got the camera mounted outside of the car shooting through the car windshield. (Clearly, the camera can’t hear me talking.) What are we going to sync to? Timecode.
[00:09:03] Maybe your camera is simply too far away from the subject. You want that really wide shot and you can’t pick up audio from there. So how do you (solve that problem?) Timecode of course! Maybe your location has a lot of background noise. In an environment like this, (it’s virtually impossible to sync…) without timecode.
[00:09:25] Now that you’ve seen some examples of where you need to use timecode, let’s take a look at how to align your timecoded audio with your timecoded video using DaVinci Resolve. You can do the same thing in Final Cut Pro or in Adobe Premiere.
[00:09:39] First of all, here’s the original video from the car scene. As you can hear, it’s just a bunch of wind noise as you would expect. Here, I have clean audio from inside of the car. Let’s listen to that.
“Any situation where the camera…”
If I switch this over to List View, we’ll be able to see the START and END timecode, and as you can see on here, they’re very close to each other. 11:04:22:10 and 11:04:23:22. Of course, they didn’t start at the exact same time but that doesn’t matter because they’re timecode.
[00:10:05] Synchronizing them is really easy. All I have to do is select the two clips that I want to synchronize, right click, and choose Auto Sync Audio > Based on Timecode. If you don’t have timecode, you do it based off the waveform but of course, in this situation, that wouldn’t work.
[00:10:20] I’ll choose Based on Timecode and you’ll see under the column Synced Audio that it now shows that that video clip has that audio clip synced to it. If you don’t see the Synced Audio column, just right click here and choose it from the list.
[00:10:33] Now, if we listen to this clip —
“And hear the person talking.”
We can hear me talking and we don’t hear the wind noise. However, it is a little bit crunchy and as you might have seen in the wave form, that audio is definitely a bit too hot. So, let’s go ahead and add this to a timeline. Open that up and because it’s 32-bit float, I can go ahead and bring that audio down to the point where it sounds great.
“Or anyone of the cameras can’t hear the person talking”.
[00:10:59] So, that’s an example with just one audio track but remember, this audio recorder can record up to six channels of audio — the two built in microphones plus four additional XLR mics. So, when I shot that car scene, I actually had a mic plugged into each one of the inputs, so we captured all six channels.
[00:11:15] Within Resolve, there’s some pretty cool things you can do to organize those tracks, so let’s have a look at them and I’ll show you how I can bring all of them together into one clip. I’ll go back to my media tab and select the second bin and here you can see now I have a bunch more tracks. Each one of these is named as the track numbers. So, there’s audio 1+2 — that’s the pair coming off of the built-in mics on the X8 — and then there’s tracks 3,4,5 and 6.
[00:11:40] First of all, if I select each one of these and then go under the Metadata View and switch this over to Audio Tracks, you’ll see that I’ve named the tracks. So, that’s Mic Left and Mic Right, then on audio three, I had a Boom mic, on four, I had a Contact mic, five was a Wireless Lav, and six was a Wired Lav. To sync all of these to the original video, I want to first detach the original sync audio.
[00:12:03] So, I’ve selected that video. I’ll go to the Audio tab and under the Waveform view, this little link icon tells me that it’s synced to something. I’ll go ahead and click that, that unlinks it and you’ll see the synced audio is now gone. Now I can select all of these, right click, go back to Auto Sync Audio, again, based on timecode, select that.
[00:12:22] Now if I go to this clip and choose Click Attributes and then look under the Audio tab, we’ll actually see all the different audio tracks that were attached to it and if I wanted to get rid of one because I knew it was bad or I accidentally added it, I could simply delete it here. I’ll click OK and then I’ll go ahead and add this to a new timeline and we’ll immediately see all of those audio tracks on that timeline there. So now of course I can mix and combine those to make the perfect final mix.
[00:12:50] You can start to see just how critical having timecode can be in certain situations and even if you don’t need it, having timecode is super convenient. It just makes organizing all of your footage so much easier. Combine timecode with 32-bit float audio, and you have absolute audio perfection! Thanks for watching my video about timecode and 32-bit float, featuring the TASCAM X8, and thanks to TASCAM for sponsoring this video.