How to Sync Video at 48 kHz with Audio at 44.1 kHz with Adobe Premiere Pro

Problem: My video is 48000 Hz and I have a separate audio track at 44100 Hz that slowly moves out of sync with the video.

I’m working on editing a video of our Instructor Conference for ProTrainings.  The video is very long, and the audio and video are different speeds and yet run the same length. I’ve spent that last couple of days trying to figure out this problem, and I finally came across an explanation that worked for me.  So, now I’m going to share that solution with you.  We’ll start with the post that helped me to find the solution.  It was posted by someone called mpiper on the videohelp.com forums:

I am not sure what caused the problem, but here is a solution I have used for similar issues in the past. as long and the change is minor, no one will notice.

First, find a FRAME-ACCURATE marker on the video track at the start. Perhaps the start of the first word from the lead singer.

Then, find a second Frame-Accurate marker at the end of the video track.

Write down the EXACT time difference between the start and stop markers in minutes, seconds and frames.

Now, Find the exact same start and stop markers on the audio track.

Write down the exact time for it as well, also in minutes, seconds and frames.

Now, divide the time of video by the time of audio to see the difference. For a simple example: 5.25 minutes for video and 5.0 minutes for audio gives a difference of 1.05 or 5% longer video. (I normally convert everything into total frames and use 9440 / 8991 = 1.0499 for 5% change!)

With this difference, change the speed of the audio (or video) by that percentage so they are exactly the same length. Now you have a match!

With Premiere Pro, you can stretch and shrink time on audio and there is a checkmark to maintain pitch, so everything sounds perfect.

Solution: Now I’ll explain exactly how to do this with Adobe Premiere Pro.

The first thing that I did was I took the 44.1 kHz mp3 files into Adobe Audition and resampled them to 48000 kHz wav files.  I’m not sure how necessary this step turned out to be, because it didn’t alter the speed of the vocals in the video at all, but when I accomplished the sync, it was with the files I had made with this.

I made sure to line up the audio file with the audio that is in the video.  That’s given, but I figured it was worth mentioning for the sake of completion.

Quick Tip: When you are filming, if you can do so, I recommend using a clap board to mark the start of a shot, and if you regularly run into this issue, also do the same at the end of the shot before you stop all of the recording devices.  This can be very helpful in lining up the audio when using multiple cameras and recording audio separately.

Now, what we’re going to do is pretty simple.

First, start with the timecode, hold Control and click it until it becomes a solid number.  This is the frame number.

Next, we’re going to make sure that the frame number lines up on any and all audio tracks that you’re trying to line up, toward the beginning of the track, and put a marker there.  Make sure to write down the number of the frame that you have set the marker at.  In my case that is frame 16181.

After that, we’re going to head down to the end of the audio and video that you’ve lined up on the timeline.  Find a keyword or the clapboard marker on the timeline, toward the end of the files and mark each with a marker in the same way as before.  Take down each frame number.  In my case, these numbers were 66139 for the video’s audio timecode and 66163 for the separate audio file.

Next it’s time to do some simple math.

We’re going to subtract the first frame number from each of the second frame numbers.

66139 – 16181 = 49958

66163 – 16181 = 49982

That’s not a very big difference.  In fact, in my case it’s only 24 frames different, but that makes up nearly a second of audio.

We’re doing to divide the frames to get a percentage.

49982 / 49958 = 1.000480403538973

Important: Move the decimal two spaces to get the percentage: 100.0480403538973%

That means we have to change the speed of the separate audio file by 100.0480403538973%.  This will then appear as 100.05% if you look at it again.

Now the audio should be lined up between the video and the separate audio file.  On mine, after it all lined up, for whatever reason, I had to grab the end of it and stretch it all the way to the end, but everything stayed put and was perfectly aligned.

Now, play back your audio with all of the tracks turned on and marvel at the synchronized sound.  Turn off the audio tracks connected to the video, and leave the clean separate audio file, and you’re good to keep editing at will.

Let me know if you have any questions.  I hope this helps you as much as it’ll help me in the future when I run into this again.

Thanks to all of the people that attempted to give me a hand with this.

Update: Recently, we filmed a new program which included about 30 or so videos on Pet First Aid. We shot the entire program at 48000 Hz for the video, and 44100 Hz for the audio. We’re talking hundreds of takes, and using the above technique would have added a ton of time to the project. While the above technique is free, the opportunity cost far outweighed the cost of software that could do the same thing.

To correct it all, quickly, I used PluralEyes. At first, I tried the entire project, but it doesn’t work so well to do that. PluralEyes works best with a lower number of files. I wound up sorting this particular program by section of videos (we hadn’t yet sorted down to individual topics). On other projects, I sort down to individual videos and then run them through PluralEyes.

What it does is take all of the video from as many cameras as you used, plus the audio, and lines it up for you. You can then export to Premiere Pro (as well as other video editing software). It also creates new audio files that are labeled “drift corrected.” That’s right. PluralEyes changed the 44100 Hz audio to match the 48000 Hz video… in seconds… automagically!

After that, I import the file exported from PluralEyes, and use the timeline from that export as my video/audio source, that I copy from. Get PluralEyes and be amazed!

15 thoughts on “How to Sync Video at 48 kHz with Audio at 44.1 kHz with Adobe Premiere Pro”

  1. Is there a way to auto do it eg a percentage number that turns any 44.1khz track into a syncable 48khz track? assuming have a clap 48 sound with the video 44.1 sound recorded with a better recorder and want to match the audio of someone talking?

    I’m asking this as I’m considering a 44.1 portable studio recorder as it as all the options i want and more but is considerably cheaper than the nearest 48khz recorder with the options I want.

    1. Good question. Honestly, I don’t believe there’s an automatic way to do it. Adobe Premiere has a way to automatically sync audio tracks as of CS6, but I’ve never used it, so I can’t speak to that other than the demo that I saw of it working.

      One thing to take into account with the expense of the device is the cost of the time that it’ll take to make sure that the sound lines up. The question is really, is the cost difference in the cheaper device worth the value of the time that it’ll take to make sure the sound is in sync? To me, I think having sound that I don’t even have to worry about syncing issues is worth the cost difference. Because now I don’t even have to think about that, technically, and I can just edit and get the videos where they’re needed sooner. The cost savings by spending more, actually makes up for itself relatively quickly.

      Trust me on this: you don’t want to spend the time trying to line up the audio with the video every single time you go to edit. Some videos are so short it doesn’t make a much difference, but as soon as there is any amount of length over 5 minutes, it becomes necessary. After doing the sound syncing about 5 times, it became apparent that I couldn’t keep up with the work that we’re planning on doing if I had to do that every time. It was worth it for us to switch the recording to 48 to match the video.

  2. im gonna keep looking and see if can find an auto sync for it for now, the device thats a 44.1khz recorder that iv found for 210 quid has so many great features, so much more than the 48 khz recorder that iv found for 360 (cheapest found yet for a field recorder with xlr inputs and a knob that allows you to change audio levels during a video rather than + and – buttons that are no good for doing that). i can find cheaper 48khz xlr input recorders with audio level + and – buttons (from 160-190ish) and if i cant find some sort of auto solution to this, i think ill have to settle for one of them.

  3. I have cs6 on my ‘new’ (second hand from a friend) desktop anyway, although no monitor until next week. ill have to have a quick play with it see if can make auto sync work on there

  4. and see how complicated/annoying it is as far as whether i could accept doing it everytime sync audio, or would rather the cheaper recorder

  5. I’ve run into this issue only a few times in my years of editing and I’ve always had to go through some roundabout way of matching audio. I don’t use Premiere, but I’ll be interesting to see if the prinicples of your article apply to FCP (or really any other NLE). Thanks for the article!

  6. As you subtract the same figure (the start frame number, in your case, 16181) anyway from the two end frame numbers, you may actually skip the subtraction procedure and just divide the audio end frame (66163) by the video end frame (66139). Then the result (times 100) will be the value you put into the audio clip speed/duration dialog box.

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