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Old July 22nd, 2010, 06:01 AM   #1
New Boot
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Kent, UK
Posts: 6
Need tips for multi-camera editing with Final Cut Express

I'm trying to edit a 3 camera video of a school production (about an hour of video per camera, shot on HDV, DV and horrible JVC mod format). I have 10 years of amateur NLE experience using various Windows software including Adobe Premiere but am now using a Macbook Pro (13" late 2009 model) with Final Cut Express. Sadly I can't afford FCP, which I know has a special multi-camera editing function. I would love some hints and tips so that I don't head off in the wrong direction. I have very few hours with FCE so although most of what NLEs can do is familiar to me I am far from a power user of FCE and any of its special functions.

Here's what I have done so far:

1. Made sure that all my cameramen recorded continuously so that I have uninterrupted footage
2. recorded audio separately through the mixing desk at the venue
3. Captured the HDV and DV and converted the mod file to DV
4. Put all 3 clips on 3 overlaid video strips on the timeline and synced them using a camera flash
5. Put the audio on a new audio strip and synced that to the video

Then I wanted to see all 3 channels simultaneously so I could choose which to use at any give moment (planning to cut between them - there is a steady wide view of the whole stage, a panning and zooming shot taken from a gallery and a front row camera taking closeups). So what I did was to adjust the canvas using wireframe view to show all 3 shots at the same time so i could judge which is the best to use at each moment. This works but now I need to do the actual cutting...

I tried using the blade tool and then opacity to hide the higher clips when wanting to see the lower ones. But the problem with this is that I can't judge the result in my canvas. Is there a way of setting up a second canvas to show the end result? Is there a better way if doing all if this?

Any help would be greatly appreciated because it's looking like a big and slow job at the moment!


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Old July 22nd, 2010, 03:43 PM   #2
Inner Circle
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: New York City
Posts: 2,501
Without multiple-cam you'll have to try a different way of cutting.

Place the camera files (once you've found the sync point) on different tracks. If one camera functions as a cover shot (wide angle) then that should go to track 1. Put the spottiest camera on track three. Go down the timeline and using the razor tool remove all the bad shots from track three. Then hide track three and do the same with track two. Be careful not to drag any of the remaining clips out of sync. Turn track three back on and you now have a very, very rough switch but at least you will have all the good shots ready for comparison in sync. Not much different then what you described but you can double click the track in question at the point in question and see the footage in the viewer immediately. I have done edits like this and it works, not as well as multi cam but you get the job done.
William Hohauser - New York City
Edit/Camera/DCP production/Animation
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Old July 23rd, 2010, 02:51 AM   #3
New Boot
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Kent, UK
Posts: 6
Thank you William for the practical advice. The concept of throwing out the bad shots before starting to work on the good ones is something I do all the time with still photography (in this digital age of 1000 frame shoots) but for some reason it never occurred to me to approach video editing in the same way!

I will just need to make sure that my cuts don't automatically close gaps (and destroy sync) which is something I'm sure I can do by reading the manual...


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