Marking Soundbites

Last year, I came up a trick to mark soundbites as you record video interviews. Basically, you record a dummy tone into an unused audio channel anytime you hear a good clip to generate a form of metadata you can reference later in your edit suite. This tone can be made with a number of free apps for your phone or with any device that can input a tone into your camera. And best of all, this trick isn’t dependent on proprietary software.

It still surprises me that a basic marker feature (perhaps included as a sidecar XML file) isn’t a feature of most professional cameras marketed to documentary filmmakers. So often, as you’re hearing the interview you already know many of the soundbites you’ll use later. And while the Lumberjack System, for example, is a great alternative, I wanted a quick and dirty way to make this happen.

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