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I shot a piece of video where someone was moving in rhythm with music. The audio is pretty terrible so I want to replace it with the actual song, since there is nothing else interesting to hear there anyway. So far what I did was I imported both soundtracks in Audacity and then manually moved it around until it seemed about right. Then I selected the part that I needed (didn't need the whole song) and exported that.

This worked OK, but was pretty tedious, aggravated by the fact that I'm not very proficient with Audacity (I often have problems moving around and losing my selection). I suspect there must be some easier way and more precise to do it, because aligning music with a video should be a pretty common task, I think. I expect that I will have to repeat this task a few more times, so I'd like to find a better alternative.

What would be the standard way of doing something like that?

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If you don't start with timecode, or even a 2-pop or clapper, I can't see any other way than lining it up by eye; finding a common beginning… then hoping they stay approximately in sync.

I've never tried this in Audacity, but in any regular DAW or video suite you can just drag one track against the other roughly by eye, then keep increasing zoom & therefore accuracy as you drag by finer degrees until you reach sync. If you struggle to hear precisely which track is which, hard-pan them left & right initially.

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There are tools to do this kind of syncing in video editors. I am currently learning to use a free editor (not free source code though), Davinci Resolve. If you search for Multicam sync you will find alternative solutions (the tools allows you to select to sync on audio).

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