How to Sync Audio and Video in Avid

Many projects will require you to sync audio to your video without any real sync marks in your footage. One instance in which this often occurs is in music videos. The singer will have been lip syncing to a recording, and now you need to sync her lips back to the song. If you are not working on a music video, this process will still work, only it will be much easier.

Step 1: Timing

You have the recording in the timeline, and you want to match the performance in the video from the same point in the song. So, you will need to note how far into the song you are trying to add your clip to. There is a timecode at the bottom of your timeline, but make sure you take into account the 30 second preroll before noting the play time. So, we will say that you want to add video at the timeline timecode of 1 minute. This should actually be 30 seconds into the song. Now, go up to your video footage and use the singer's behavior to figure out when the song is starting. Then, move 30 seconds ahead in your clip. This is the approximate spot that you want to be in.

Step 2: Scrubbing

Listen to the song near the point you want to cut into. Try to pick out a distinct note where the singer's voice comes in. If this is not the moment that you want to cut to, do not worry, you can adjust it later. But, a clear reference is important. Now hit Caps Lock. This turns on what is called scrubbing. Now when you are in your timeline, hit a right or left arrow key. As your cursor moves, you hear the sound from each frame. Find the frame when the singer's voice comes in full force. It may take some practice to understand exactly what you are hearing. Hit "E" to make this your mark in point.

Step 3: Matching Video

Now go back to your video clip and use your arrow keys to find the point where the singer starts his phrase. Again hit "E" to make this the mark in point, then set a mark out point at your discretion. Go ahead and add the video to the timeline.

Step 4: Trimming

Since you actually wanted to have your cut before the singer started the phrase, go to trim mode at the cut you just made. Drag out the front side of your clip until you get to the point that you wanted to cut into this shot. Now, hit play to test your sync. It probably will not be perfect so pay attention to see which direction you need to adjust in. Go back into trim mode, this time surrounding your video clip, and slide the video over a few frames to perfect the sync. It may take a couple of passes of fine tuning, but you will find it.

Sync marks are often forgotten on set, and you end up being the one who suffers. However, there is always a way to get the job done, tedious as it may be.

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