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At our hackerspace, we have a full HD video camera (Toshiba Camileo X200) with a crappy microphone input. Therefore, we use a Thomann SC450 USB microphone to capture audio on a computer. Buying new equipment is not an option due to small budget.

After recording, the only post-production we have to do manually is synchronizing our good audio file to the video. We would like to automate that step away.

I thought about the problem a little and came up with the idea of a "magic video clip" which contains an easily recognizable sound and video sequence.

Do you know of any tools (free and open source software is a requirement!) which can help us with that? I would also be grateful for hints to tools or libraries which can be easily scripted so that we can implement synchronizing ourselves. I briefly looked at libavcodec/libavformat, but it’d take me at least a few weeks to implement it using libavcodec.

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I'm sure I will get penalized because I'm answering with a paid product but I shoot several times a week with DSLR and record with a quality device(zoom h4n).

I spent close to a year doing it by hand. The cheapest freest way is to get your subject to clap on camera, or step in to shot and clap your hands. I have a programmer background so I had hoped for a free automated solution and I don't shy away from ugly UI's.

I was recommended Dualeyes, the demo works fully and I used for the full 30 days before buying it. http://www.singularsoftware.com/dualeyes.html

Sorry but I don't think there is anything out there for free but maybe you can study the demo of dualeyes.

If you find a solution that's free , I will definitely be interested.

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Just a quick note. We're not against paying for software, we just don't like to pay extreme amounts of money for a program when there is one that works just as well for our needs that is either free extremely cheap. For instance, I use Reaper ($60) instead of Pro Tools ($700). –  Friend Of George Jun 18 '12 at 13:44
    
+1 Great answer by the way. –  Friend Of George Jun 18 '12 at 13:45
    
Thanks! I recognize that people sometimes just don't have the cash to drop on fancy software. Reaper eh, I might need to check that out as an upgrade for Audacity. –  Phasefire Jun 18 '12 at 17:00
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