I use Panasonic GH4 cameras in a majority of my shoots. For audio, I used a Tascam DR-70D but have recently upgraded to a Zoom F4. I can do a lot with this gear. One issue is the fact that I need to sync two video clips and up to four audio tracks for each take. I use Red Giant’s PluralEyes app to sync these clips using the audio waveforms in each file.

PluralEyes works quite well. I’ve got no issues with it… except for the time it takes to prep and conform the clips. I want a better way.

I thought of using timecode and looked at various solutions such as the TentacleSync devices, but the cost was still a prohibiting factor. While it’s a nice to have, it’s not an immediate need. So, what’s a person to do?

More research led me to the following blog post by Emm of Cheesycam.com. In it he explains how he uses the Panasonic Image App on his phone to wirelessly connect to his three GH4’s and sync their timecode to the time of day from that mobile device. His results are very close to being frame accurate. I’m going to test that out myself later in the week and see what results I get.

The issue now is audio. While the Tascam doesn’t have timecode capabilities, the new Zoom F4 does, but how to sync the time of day from my phone? I have an Android phone and searched the Google Play store for timecode apps. I fount the free LTC Timecode Generator app. This free version only runs using time of day and only with 30/25/24fps options. Drop frame and other frame rates are available with the paid version. The free version is adequate for testing purposes.

I purchased a 3.5mm to BNC cable to connect the phone to the Zoom. Playing with the settings, I found that I was able to jam sync the timecode (time of day) from the phone to the Zoom. I’ll have to test the frame accuracy of this as well.

I feel that if I can get frame accuracy for, say 8 hours, then I can reasonably assume that my recordings will be easy to correctly sync. I’ll post more after I get my results this weekend. If it fails, no worries. I’ll only be out the very small price of the adapter cable and I’ll still have PluralEyes to fall back on.

More to come!