I've been editing iPhone footage in FCPX for years and I have recently encountered an issue since some version of FCPX 10.4. I don't remember exactly which version. The iPhone footage is out of sync with ITSELF. The audio plays around 4 frames in advance of the visual in both the browser and the timeline
I checked the footage in the Finder and it plays in sync. I have no idea what's going on here but it necessitates unsynching all the footage and pushing the audio down in order to synch it back up. This isn't specific to one computer as with FCPX 10.4 it was happening on both an iMac and a MacBook Pro.
I am now working in FCPX 10.5 and have the same issue.
If anyone has any insight into this I'd appreciate it. I can't imagine what would fix it aside from an update as it seems to be a bug.
Can you give the media specifications and the project properties? iPhone is very problematic because of its unstable frame rate. You might try optimizing the clips, that helps with a lot of iPhone media problems.
Sure I can tell you but for context I've been using the same media specifications for years without this issue. I have never had any issue with iPhone footage and I've found it to be the opposite of problematic with no issues I can recall. Keep in mind I'm not syncing it with externally recorded audio, it's the audio recorded with the footage I'm talking about. It's consistently out of sync with itself so I really don't think it has anything to do with dropped frames or drift. And since it's out of sync in the browser, I realize now the project properties are irrelevant, but I'll tell you everything I've tried just to see.
I've been shooting 4k on the iPhone for as long as I've been able to (High efficiency for as long as it's been available) and my project properties match the footage, 44hz audio,. Used to use 30p, now I'm using 24p, the issue is the same with all of the footage regardless of frame rate, High Efficiency on or off. I recently started using HDR footage and it's the same as SDR footage. Consistent issue no matter what's imported. I tried changing the frame rate and the issue is the same. Tried changing the audio from 44 to 48 even though 44 matches it, same issue. Nothing affects how out of sync it is, browser or timelineSame 4 frames no matter what, unless I watch it in the Finder.
Thanks for your response, and I appreciate any invite you might have. I've submitted feedback to Apple a couple times now as well.
flaminghick wrote: So I tried it with a couple clips and I'm getting the same issue. Very strange.
I haven't seen this but I rarely edit iPhone HEVC material. This video discusses the problem (which may not be unique to FCPX) and suggests not using HEVC and for existing material, transcoding to constant-frame-rate using Handbrake:
Hey thanks for your response. He seems to be talking about drift here. The issue I'm having isn't drift. The audio that is recorded on the actual iPhone is out of sync with itself, and it's consistently out of sync. Within the first few seconds of the video it's 4 frames off, and later in the clip it's 4 frames off. But it's the original audio recorded with video from the same file on my iPhone. It's in sync when I watch it in Quicktime or on my phone, it's just out of sync as soon as it's imported.
It's a little suspicious that it's almost immediately 4 frames off and this doesn't increase over time. That is similar to typical video processing delays of HDMI interfaces and external monitors.
Do you have any outboard video display hardware - hubs, converters, monitors, etc? Any outboard audio, inc'l wired headphones or wireless AirPods? As a test can you disable Bluetooth on the computer and try that. Do not use any external video hardware or headphones (esp. wireless) for this test. I realize that doesn't explain in-sync Quicktime playback, but it's an easy test to do.
What if you transcode the HEVC material within FCPX to optimized media? Does that make any difference? That could avoid HEVC decoding overhead.
If you had another NLE such as the free version of Resolve it would be interesting to see if it happens there.
These are honestly all great troubleshooting ideas. I disconnected my monitor and headphones and it's still the same. I restarted the app and it's still the same. Since it's also happening on my iMac I didn't think it would be the monitor. But I do find it interesting that it's around the same amount of delay as with bluetooth headphones. Except...with bluetooth headphones wouldn't the audio be delayed, rather than ahead of the footage? Here the audio is 4 frames ahead.
Your idea to test another NLE is a great one. I was also thinking I should pull in some footage from a different source to see if there's something about the iPhone footage itself that could be causing it. It doesn't seem like this is a widespread issue at all.
Hello. To fix the problem on your iPhone, you could firstly force restart your iPhone to see if the error is removed. If it doesn't, please apply some ios repair software such as TunesKit iOS System Recovery, etc to fix it quickly and completely. And no data will be lost during the whole repairing process.
I'd not recommend TunesKit, I know three folks who's phones got totally messed up and lost a lot of data using that. There is no reason for these software apps, they're mostly scams. And it will not fix the OP's issues, anyway.
flaminghick wrote: .. it's not an issue on my phone. The audio is in sync in the Finder, it's just out of sync in FCP by 3 frames consistently.
As stated above seven weeks ago, if you could upload a test clip from your iPhone, I'd be happy to examine it on various hardware and NLE versions. You can upload it to here:
flaminghick wrote: Thanks for the offer. Uploading a clip now.
Checking the sync again in Quicktime I feel less sure that it's in sync outside of FCP. It's hard to tell since I can't go frame by frame...
It's not a FCP problem -- it also happens in Premiere Pro 14.7.0, also happens whether my iPhone 11 Pro records 4k/24 using H264 or HEVC. It also happens on Windows playing the file with VLC. VLC allows slowing down the playback so you can easily see & hear the mis-sync.
I think it is caused by smart phones using variable frame rate recording. Some have suggested transcoding to CFR (Constant Frame Rate) using Handbrake, but I tried that and it didn't help.
I then tried Filmic Pro, which seemed to work somewhat better, although I've seen people say it doesn't really fix the problem as a 3rd-party app cannot force the iPhone to use CFR.
All my testing was at 24 fps, it might behave differently at 30 or 60 fps.
Wow thank you for testing that out! And did you find the sound was around 3 frames ahead of the video across the board?
I tried a clip at 30p and it was still the same. Tried changing timeline settings and nothing affected it. I guess my question now is...has this been happening for years and I only recently noticed or did it start happening at a certain point? 3 frames is easy to miss with "softer" sounds I find.
Thanks again, this is great information and I really appreciate you looking into it.
I shoot on iPhones a lot, every week for my jog (7, XS, 12 Pro Max) in 4K and have never had any issues. I'm transferring the files from the phones to my iMac Pro via AirDrop, so no transcoding there. Audio playing back ahead of the video immediately suggests playback issues, but you say that's been ruled out?
In my iPhone settings, I have 4K60 (more closely matches our output for broadcast) and have Auto FPS turned off.
I'll have to experiment with various frame rates and see, but this is really super odd in my long experience of using iPhone video for broadcast.
I'd also love to get a copy of a problematic video and test it myself.