Optimizing multicam edit

This discussion was created from comments split from: Transparent Text intro.


  • edited April 2017

    I need some hints from you pros who do a lot of video recording. I'm trying to make my life easier when creating my husband's performance videos.

    What he's doing now:

    • We take the whole session, sometimes several full takes, from 9 camera positions...which results in hours upon hours of raw video.
    • Close-ups on this rolling thing, handheld, and on tri-pods, which also results in a lot of footage.

    What I want to do is map which places in the score of the audio file where he wants:

    • closeups (fretting hand, picking hand, the whole fretboard, the guitar from several angles, working the stomp boxes and effects units [both of us], plus several angles on the flute and me [hate it]).
    • motion, smooth or hand-held
    • us superimposed in one way or another.
    • ...and so on.

    I'm hoping this will result in less miles and miles of video to sort through on the trimmer. Four days and nights devoted to processing one shoot just isn't workable for me, not with my chores and my own projects, and that's what it's taking me to produce like 5 to 7 minutes of video.


  • Actually what you need is a video switcher and cut the performance "live".  Putting in all the dissolves and cuts where they need to be on the fly and laying that down as a stream on your recording device.

    Editing multiple B-rolls after the fact is horrendously time consuming (as you've discovered) but, of course that offers complete control.   However, switching it live gets you 80 to 90 percent there.  And since you still have the B-rolls at your disposal, then you can fix any miscues in post.

    The big question is how do you afford a video switcher or variant?  NewTek's Tricaster comes to mind but maybe Pinnacle has a solution.  Even going that route you will only have maybe 3 or 4 camera inputs.   That's where you need a "crew".  If you had camera operators you could direct over the headset then you could do the same show with 3 or 4 cameras getting multiple shot angles from each camera.

    What your husband is asking you to do on a regular basis is monumental.  That many cameras is overwhelming for a one person online production/offline post production scenario.

    If you only have yourself to depend on, then reduce the number of cameras.  Otherwise what is being requested requires a crew and a remote truck with a full on video switcher, audio engineer, 5 camera operators and a video engineer.   That's just for acquisition and no post.

  • OMG @Stargazer54 !!! We'd have to go shoot out in one of the barns to do that!

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Stargazer is, of course, correct. 

    However, that's also money and space.


    Occasionally you may have seen in the wishlist or in user threads a wish for multicam tools in Hitfilm--you've just learned why we want those.

    So... Your best bet for editing is to ignore the Trimmer Window entirely.

    Put ALL your cameras on different tracks in their entirety and get them synched up. Create a top track for your master edit. At that point it becomes scrolling through to the next edit, snip-snip from the needed track with the slice tool, drag the clip up to the top master track. Still slow, but a hell of a lot faster than the trimmer window.

    If you've not seen it, Digital Blast has this video on using colored planes as placeholders/markers on a track.


    To expand on what Aiden  says here, don't make your planes full size--make 'em small, like 200x200. Then they can live on a top track over everything else where you can always see them (Since you're cutting static cams, it's not you you REALLY need to see the angles). Assign colors to each camera (I recommend a ROYGBIV order by camera with camera 1 being red, 2 orange, etc. Use black and white for your cams 8 and 9). Assuming your husband is giving you a cut list ahead of time, you can quickly assemble a timing cut of these colored planes, which becomes a guide track as you snip all your camera layers and move them to the master track.

    Incidentally, BlackMagic Design makes some good, cheap switchers. Here's a thousand-dollar unit that will record/switch up to 8 cameras at once. It can either connect to a computer (useful if you have a laptop), or to a dedicated hardware panel. Only problem is only four of those are HDMI inputs.


  • Wow. Oka-aaay.  I guess I've got my work cut out for me and yet another set of insurmountable learning curves to acquire. Thanks for the advisements, @Triem23 . Maybe using the loafing shed and hiring a crew might be easier in the long run. I'm very sure the livestock would have all sorts of fun terrifying everyone with their curiosity.

  • Could some of the shots be made from others, just zoomed in?

    It seems that fretting hand, picking hand, could perhaps be done from the whole fretboard shot. Depends on your output, but if it was 720p, then shooting in1080p would provide almost enough resolution, if 1080p output, then 4k recording would let you crop in to 1080p and retain resolution. Maybe stick some blurs, light wraps, lens flares etc. on there to hide any low res artifacts?

    Someone on here said they shoot school recitals or something with only a few wide cameras and zoom in for fake mediums and closeups on the actors and no one's noticed.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @Palacono as you've figured, you do need a higher res camera to try to make that work. For the school recitals, those are probably actually still going out to DVD, so 1080 gives lots of crop room.

    That said, for extreme close ups--like fingers on frets--you won't get the shallow DOF that comes from getting the camera up close and opening the iris. It could work, depending on the final output resolution of the projet and those of the cameras, but, from what Dawn's said, hubby is enough of a perfectionist where HE'D notice the difference in look between a crop-zoom and actual camera placement.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator


    Sorry, Dawn, I was trying to merge two other threads and mis-clicked, so had to re-split. I shouldn't moderate with one hand while eating pizza with the other, I guess. I forget your original thread title.

  • @Triem23 : It's fine about the thread merge/demerge. That pizza must have been really good, is all I can say.

    @Palacono : We do shoot at a high enough rez for me to do zoom-in's, but this quote from Triem23 speaks to what happened when I did that:

    "That said, for extreme close ups--like fingers on frets--you won't get the shallow DOF that comes from getting the camera up close and opening the iris. It could work, depending on the final output resolution of the projet and those of the cameras, but, from what Dawn's said, hubby is enough of a perfectionist where HE'D notice the difference in look between a crop-zoom and actual camera placement." --Triem23

    Forrest instantly noticed that I wasn't using the close-in camera footage. There was a slight blurring of his picking hand...almost like zooming caused or seemed to suggest less frames per second, even though it's not. I don't know enough about this to figure out why it looks like that, but I do know that he noticed immediately and told me what I'd done...and he was right. I was cheating, and he caught it instantly. So I imported the other footage and he was happy, because his fingers were very clear. He does what's called hybrid picking on some of the pieces, and he wanted to show that clearly. 

    It's obvious to me that, once again, I'm in way over my head. What I had HOPED for was to be able to just take the music score, map the scenes much in the ame way as story-boarding, but more detailed, then just shoot what was needed, not have all this extra footage that has to be trimmed away just for maybe one or a handful of shots. We're coming up on a very involved, very long performance, and I'm so trying to avoid having all these huge files to sort through for the shots I need to stitch together what he wants.

    Anyway, thanks for all the time, effort, and suggestions. I think I'm going to bed, now.

Sign in to comment