PluralEyes 4 from Red Giant is a really cool and powerful tool. I remember seeing an early version of PluralEyes several years ago, and it impressed me as it was the first tool that I had seen that would allow easy synchronization of footage from multiple video cameras or separate audio and video recordings without time code. My typical workflow for the video that I produce is to record the video on either my Canon DSLR or my Sony video camera and record the audio to a separate field recorder. I have found that the built-in clip synchronization in Final Cut Pro X has generally met my needs. That is, until recently.
My friend and colleague (and Production Expert group founder), Russ Hughes, had told me about his experience with the new version of PluralEyes, he has previously reviewed an earlier version of PluralEyes for this blog. I had a current project where I used my Sony 4K camera as a primary, my iPad AIR as a secondary, and my Zoom H4n for audio on the shoots. I downloaded the trial of PluralEyes 4 to give it a try. Although I hadn’t heard the expression in awhile, I have to say that PluralEyes 4 is elegantly simple. It is very powerful and flexible, yet it is amazingly simple to use.
The video from the Sony camera was shot at 4K and 29.97 fps. I had not explicitly set the frame rate on the iPad AIR (I still haven’t determined whether or not it is adjustable), but it was shot at 24 fps. The audio recorder was set to 48kHz/24-bit stereo. I started and stopped each device separately.
I copied the files from each of the devices to my computer (as always). After the very easy installation of the PluralEyes software, I opened the application. The blank project window opens waiting for media to synchronize. I dragged each of the video files and the audio file into the project window. In my case I dragged them one at a time, but you can drag several together. Once the media files are in place, clicking on the prominent “Synchronize” button quickly analyzed and synchronized the media files. In this case, it was very basic, but it still performed that task much more quickly than the FCPX built-in clip synchronization process, and it allows for fine adjustments and much greater control over the process should you need it.
Once the media is synchronized you’re ready to export the timeline to your NLE of choice. I do my work primarily in Final Cut Pro X, so after clicking the “Export Timeline…” button, I selected Final Cut Pro X from the drop down menu then selected my options. As long as Final Cut Pro X is open, PluralEyes 4 can create an FCPX Event, copy the media to the event and create the project from the exported timeline with everything already lined up. All I had to do from there was to add my titling, decide on the timing for cuts between cameras, and other normal editing functions. I did some digital push ins as I was using 4K footage on a 1080p timeline.
PluralEyes really helped me to turn this project around quickly. I didn’t even touch some of the more advanced functionality of the product. I give it a huge thumbs up! It’s definitely worth the price. Red Giant also offer great tutorials for PluralEyes and the other products in their Shooter Suite.
More information on PluralEyes 4, check specifications and download a demo