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Building a song from a pile of clips recovered from an old drive.


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Pre-Covid, the band did a show on home territory - my theatre in yarmouth, and as loads of the gear was there, we put cameras out in the auditorium, follow spot box and took a multitrack feed from the audio desk. Then covid hit and the files all got mislaid, then when they turned up - to save space, I copied them all to one folder. Sadly, this left me with the clips from the editor where I'd gone through cutting out the camera movements and rubbish shots where people were in the way. I had hundreds of clips with titles like pandb3 - but no song name, and worse this meant there were duplicates with the same names, which the computer had added a '1' on the end. Sadly, our keyboard player passed away so we sort of retired - we just didn't fancy doing it without him. I thought it would be good to see if I could recover the edit - just for nostalgia really, and discovered one camera shot was start to end - the wide angle one from the follow spot box, but all the others were 20-30 seconds long, with a few maybe a minute - they'd all then have a gap before restarting. The ones close to the stage had really distorted audio as it was so loud, but it let me work out where in the song they came from. I think I did a reasonble job at getting them back on the timeline and in the right places. 


If you hate the Beach Boys, then you'll hate this but for those who know how tricky editing (Premiere) is you might appreciate how the clips and the audio track got back close enough to be watchable.


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I was interested to find that the kdenlive video editor has a function to automatically line up clips using their sound tracks (even if they don't end up on the timeline). It's not perfect, but it tends to be either very good, or miles off an easy to spot. I've no idea how well it would cope with short clips from songs with multiple verses / choruses, but it's a big labour saver when audio has been recorded separately from video, or when you need to group several camera shots of roughly the same length.

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