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Old November 8th, 2006, 05:55 AM   #1
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Multi Cam editing

Having a bit of a problem with multicam editing in FCP pro

- im going to be filming a situation with at least 5 cameras. All cameras will need to stop and start recording to save tape. But they all need ot be synced up in post for a fast edit.

Using Free running time code on the cameras is ideal, but causes problems when capturing in final cut- it doesnt like the timecode breaks. I was hoping multicam editing would 'chop' up the clip from one camera, to sync the time code with the other cameras, but it seems to only be set up to take in sigular clips from each camera. Perfect for a studio setup, but not out in the field.

The other option was to sync using free running user bit time code. The normal time code would start and stop as the cameras start and stop, so can be captured without hassle, then use the user bit infomation to sync them manually.

Does anyone know a way of calling up the user bit timecode in final cut?

What other solutions have people come across for camera syncing?

(I cant use a TC generator as my cameras dont have inputs for them, and good old clapper board wont work as cameras are too far apart)
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Old November 8th, 2006, 08:19 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ford
(I cant use a TC generator as my cameras dont have inputs for them, and good old clapper board wont work as cameras are too far apart)
Nate Weaver has done a lot of this so he can help if he sees this post. As to syncing cameras that far apart...I'd suggest using a still camera strobe flash. When fired off...it gives a visible reference.

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Old November 8th, 2006, 10:14 AM   #3
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Camera Flash

I've used the camera flash several times to sync up to three cameras. Make sure that you fire off the flash twice though, at least once I had the flash fire between frames and missed it. This also works great for syncing up multiple cameras when taping live events. Nobody ever thinks twice about seeing a camera flash, no heads turn to see what's happening. It's just ignored by everybody, even the speakers/performers.

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Old November 8th, 2006, 01:01 PM   #4
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Hi Peter,

Greg's right, I do this day in and day out. But if your cameras don't have facility for TC, you might have to do it the "manual" way.

When I shot all my multicam stuff on DVXs, I used to just have the guys roll constantly, and only stop for tape changes. If you can at ALL do this, instead of having them stop and start constantly, I recommend this. I know you mentioned saving tape, but every time they stop you're going to have another point to sync.

Which brings me to the issue of syncing methods...you're really not going to have much to work with. I use audio, generally. Camera flashes are not picked up by every camera...sometimes the flash will fall in between frames since the flash is only about 1/10,000th of a sec long.

So when all the cards are stacked against me (no TC, etc etc), I just put all the cameras on a timeline, each camera getting it's own track. I then sync them all up, and put slugs in the gaps. I then trim the beginning and end of the timeline so each track, when exported will be EXACTLY the same length.

So you then export each track separately to it's own Quicktime Movie. Camera A, Camera B, etc.

Then bring them back in, and group them as a multiclip. There will be no choices as to how to sync, since they will all be the same length and inherently in sync.

This is a pain, but it works.

I was curious if you were maybe using the HD100, so I went though your old posts and saw that indeed, you might be using that cam. Last time I used that cam for a multicam shoot with FCP I had TC breaks ALL over the place (digitizing native HDV). I vowed never to use the cam again for that purpose.

What a mess:
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Old November 10th, 2006, 03:04 AM   #5
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Thanks for the response guys

Nate- Good research, I may have to use a hd101, which after i read the fcp manual, i realised would be a pain for another reason- Multicam only works with clips the same size and format. Out of all the cameras i'll be using, the 101 has the best lens, so would be a shame not to use it- i might record in dv instad of hdv, to get rid of the capture problems.

I'd probably be using the 101, 3 or 4 pd170s and a dsr-250

Looks like i'll get some extra tapes and make sure none of my cameramen stop recording- it does seem the easier way- A few more tapes will cost far less than an extra few days having to re-sync every clip when the cameras are cut. And if i sync the cameras roughly at the beginning, with free running time code, then even when they change tapes, it'll be easy to sync up after.

i'll threaten to stamp on they're fingers if they stop recording halfway through a tape though! FCP cant capture from afree running time code if they're are breaks in the middle of the tape.

Thanks guys for helping me figuure this one out. In post, i'll fix the breaks caused by tape changes, then do multi cam editing
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Old November 10th, 2006, 03:09 AM   #6
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woops! double post. edited
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Old November 10th, 2006, 12:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ford
Nate- Good research, I may have to use a hd101, which after i read the fcp manual, i realised would be a pain for another reason- Multicam only works with clips the same size and format. Out of all the cameras i'll be using, the 101 has the best lens, so would be a shame not to use it- i might record in dv instad of hdv, to get rid of the capture problems.

I'd probably be using the 101, 3 or 4 pd170s and a dsr-250
No reason to shoot HDV on only one camera if the rest are DV!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ford
Looks like i'll get some extra tapes and make sure none of my cameramen stop recording- it does seem the easier way- A few more tapes will cost far less than an extra few days having to re-sync every clip when the cameras are cut.
I promise you this is the way to go. It'll be difficult enough to do all that syncing with only the bare minimum of stops and starts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ford
FCP cant capture from afree running time code if they're are breaks in the middle of the tape.
Along these lines, the one time I shot free-run for an event, I swore I'd never do it again. It slowed down the capture process so much, it was unbelievable.

My experience is that even though having everybody run free-run TC that is "vaguely" identical, there will always be at least one joker with freerun TC that somehow gets completely different than all the other cameras, therefore rendering the whole exercise useless.
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Old November 10th, 2006, 12:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Weaver
Along these lines, the one time I shot free-run for an event, I swore I'd never do it again. It slowed down the capture process so much, it was unbelievable.

My experience is that even though having everybody run free-run TC that is "vaguely" identical, there will always be at least one joker with freerun TC that somehow gets completely different than all the other cameras, therefore rendering the whole exercise useless.
Every wedding I shoot, I shoot with 3 cameras in free run. I have made it a habit of resyncing the cameras right before filming and I try not to stop recording if possible.

That being said, its still a few frames out of sync, but still FAR more useful to me than not. Normally I can just slip a clip a bit in the multicam to line it up perfectly. I do have to use "Capture Now" instead of marking clips, but this has sped up my editing time considerably.
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Old November 10th, 2006, 01:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Pike
Every wedding I shoot, I shoot with 3 cameras in free run. I have made it a habit of resyncing the cameras right before filming and I try not to stop recording if possible.

That being said, its still a few frames out of sync, but still FAR more useful to me than not. Normally I can just slip a clip a bit in the multicam to line it up perfectly. I do have to use "Capture Now" instead of marking clips, but this has sped up my editing time considerably.
It's fine if the camera don't start and stop too much. But with FCP and a lot of TC breaks, it gets really slow.
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Old November 10th, 2006, 01:56 PM   #10
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I've never noticed a slowdown during capture with this workflow as compared to loging tapes with continuous timecode.

One thing of note that I also do during editing, is to line up one "set of clips" then on a peice of paper note the timecode variation on each camera. Then, for each additional "set of clips" I can quickly adjust each camera according to the variation. Once i have the variations written down, I can create a new synced multiclip in under a minute.
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Old November 10th, 2006, 09:41 PM   #11
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I used to do boxing and kickboxing events with three wild cameras. The standing order was to never stop the tape from the start of the fight to the end of the fight. That way I had one sync point to worry about for the particular fight. After doing the multi-cam switch I would cut the fight down to need for air.

This way I would capture only the fights needed for air and they were in similar spots on the three tapes which made finding the footage easy.

Fortunately the fights always started with a bell before the announcer introduced the fighters. That was a great sync point.
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Old November 16th, 2006, 03:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Weaver

So you then export each track separately to it's own Quicktime Movie. Camera A, Camera B, etc.

Then bring them back in, and group them as a multiclip. There will be no choices as to how to sync, since they will all be the same length and inherently in sync.

This is a pain, but it works.

Nate, Why would you export to quicktime? With the slugs added, can't you create a multiclip from the original sync'd media?

Also, any tricks on what to do if during the multiclip edit I go to say camera 2 and realize the shot moves and I need to choose a different angle after I selected cam 2? I am almost thinking that not only should I need to resync at all of the t/c breaks but get all unusable frames cut out (cameras in the way, pointing at the floor while moving to next shot etc) so when I start a multiclip edit, there is no chance on me switching to a bad shot. The only issue is that after the multiclip is made and I am only seeing the one multiclip track, after I switch to one angle, I realize the shot doesn't last long enough and I have to stop, figure out what other angle to go to andstart my rythem again. Any comments?

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Old November 16th, 2006, 03:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Mack
Also, any tricks on what to do if during the multiclip edit I go to say camera 2 and realize the shot moves and I need to choose a different angle after I selected cam 2?Jeff Mack
Jeff-

You can always right click on a multiclip to change the angle. I commonly use that technique and roll edits to correct "mistakes" when using multclips.
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Old November 16th, 2006, 04:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Pike
One thing of note that I also do during editing, is to line up one "set of clips" then on a peice of paper note the timecode variation on each camera. Then, for each additional "set of clips" I can quickly adjust each camera according to the variation. Once i have the variations written down, I can create a new synced multiclip in under a minute.
Patrick, I haven't personally done so, but I'm fairly confident I remember reading in the FCP manuals that you can assign an offset to the TC from each of the cameras to remove that 'visual variation'. IIRC, it doesn't actually change the timecode, just displays an offset so that you don't have to go through those mental gymnastics on your own.

I'll happily stand corrected if I'm wrong, but something jogged in my memory when I read your post.

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Old November 16th, 2006, 04:32 PM   #15
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Greg-

Im fairly certain you're right. To be honest, I havent taken the time to look back through the manuals and test it out, and I'm more than a little scared to haphazardly mess with timecode.
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