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Cut Lines | Tutorial: Final Cut Pro Multiclip Tricks for Ceremony Edits
Posted Jun 28, 2006 Print Version     Page 1of 1

Hello again, FCP editors! The heat of southern Louisiana summers is knocking at my door with its tropic-zone humidity and soup-thick stickiness. So this month we'll start getting into a sticky problem: Multiclip editing of long shoots like wedding ceremonies. Multiclip editing is a fantastic and very easy-to-use tool. It has cut my own multicamera editing time by more than you'd believe (unless you're using it as regularly as I am).

This tutorial will assume you know the basics of creating and editing Multiclips. You can find a great tutorial in Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro 5, chapter 14. But this is a specific problem that I've been asked about quite a bit lately, so I'm just going to dive into the solution for now.

Let's start with this scenario: you shoot an hour-long Catholic wedding with three cameras. Camera 1 is your main camera looking at the bride's and groom's faces while they're facing the priest. Camera 2 is at the back of the church looking up the aisle. Camera 3 is up on a balcony looking down on everything. You're all finished, it's Monday morning, and you're ready to sit down and edit. But to your horror, Camera 2's battery ran out in the middle of the ceremony and there's a time gap on that tape while the operator changed to a fresh battery.

I won't go into how irritating it is to find you suddenly have a battery that won't hold a charge any longer. That's between you and your hardware vendor. But the fact remains: it happens, and it leaves you with a big old irritating gap of time in Camera 2's tape of the ceremony. When your Multiclip gets to this spot, Camera 2's angle is going to be so out of sync after that it just ain't funny. So, what do you do? Even though the heat of summer is here, don't sweat it!

First up, don't panic, and remember you still do not have to go back to the old way of multicamera editing by placing each camera on a separate track, shrinking tracks, positioning them all in the Canvas, using the Blade tool to cut away stuff, etc. That's just a waste of time. You can still use the new Multiclip tool and get it done faster.

Capture to Timeline
Let's start from the beginning. You capture your three hour-long tapes from each camera. Well, Camera 2 is around 55 minutes due to time lost changing that bad battery. Then you make your Multiclip, right? No, not yet.

Remember the DV Start/Stop Detect feature I wrote about in last month's Cut Lines? It's going to come in handy here. I'm going to assume in our example here that you have nothing but the ceremony on your three tapes. Select your Camera 2 capture in the Browser and go to the Mark menu. From there, select the DV Start/Stop Detect function. Let it run. It'll take it only a few seconds to create your two Segments (detecting the time-of-day metadata gap on the tape).

Next, make a new Bin (Cmd+B) and title it something meaningful to you. I give mine the name of the Master Clip followed by the word Segments. This way you can remove the markers from your Master Clip if needed and still retain your two separate Sub Clips intact.

Create a new Sequence in your Browser (Cmd+N) and title it Ceremony. Now create your Multiclip. Set the sync between the clips as you normally would. Usually you'd use In Points. There's just so many ways to do this, I won't cover them all in this limited space. Getting multicamera shoots in sync is something you need to figure out how to do in a way that works for you.

Let's say you have a camera flash you can use, and you set In Points for all three cameras (ignore Camera 2's second Sub Clip for now). Highlight Camera 1, Camera 2's first Sub Clip, and Camera 3 clips by Command-clicking each. Right-click on any one of them and select Make Multiclip.

Double-click your new Ceremony Sequence to open it in the Timeline window. Open up the new Multiclip in the Viewer by double-clicking it. Then drop it into your new Multiclip in the Timeline (F10).

Double-click the Multiclip in the Timeline to open that copy of it back up in the Viewer, and edit your Multiclip as you normally would. Don't forget to set the Playhead Sync to Open (Figure 1).

figure 1
Figure 1. When editing your Multiclip in the Timeline, don't for get to set the Playhead Sync to Open.

When you get to the end of Camera 2's first Sub Clip, edit for a few more minutes. We want to cover the time missing from Camera 2's tape. You'll have to determine beforehand how long that gap is. Then, with your Playhead in the Timeline at the end of where that gap should be, hit Ctrl+V. This will cut everything at that point in the Timeline. Delete the remaining unused footage for Camera 1 and Camera 3 in the Timeline.

This next step is very important, so do not skip it! Select all (Cmd+A) and then right-click on the highlighted footage and select Collapse Multiclip (Figure 2). This leaves you with the first half of your hour-long ceremony as a normal-looking edit in the Timeline, rather than a Multiclip in the Timeline.

figure 1
Figure 2. Select all (Cmd+A) and then right-click on the highlighted footage and select Collapse Multiclip.

Syncing Camera 2
Now, back to the Browser. Here's where you'll have to do some work on your own. You need to open Camera 1 in the Viewer and find a point that corresponds to where Camera 2's second Sub Clip picks up, and set a new In Point there. Do the same for Camera 3. We need In Points (or Out Points) to match up between Camera 1, Camera 3, and Camera 2's second Sub Clip. Once that's done, you're practically on the home stretch!

By Command-clicking, select Camera 1, Camera 3, and the second Sub Clip of Camera 2 all together, right-click (for some of you that means Control-click, but if it does, please get a two-button mouse with a scroll wheel—it makes FCP editing so much faster and easier), and select Make Multiclip (Figure 3).

figure 1
Figure 3. By Command-clicking, select Camera 1, Camera 3, and the second Sub Clip of Camera 2 all together. right-click, and select Make Multiclip.

Nesting Clips
Once you've created this second Multiclip, double-click it to open it in the Viewer. With your Playhead in the Timeline at the very end of the first half of the ceremony, hit F10, or the Overwrite button in the Viewer, to drop it into the Timeline just behind the first half of the ceremony (Figure 4).

figure 1
Figure 4. With your Playhead in the Timeline at the very end of the first half of the ceremony, hit F10, or the Overwrite button in the Viewer to drop it into the Timeline just behind the first half of the ceremony.

Now, double-click this second Multiclip in the Timeline to open it in the Viewer, set the Playhead Sync to Open, and edit as you normally would a Multiclip. Cool, eh? I mean, who ever said you can't have a bunch of Multiclips in one Sequence back to back?

Just remember to Collapse your Multiclips in your Timeline window when you're done. It will reduce the CPU overhead of trying to play them back—especially if you have more than one Multiclip in a Timeline at once.

When you've finished, you are ready to move on to the rest of the wedding video. I recommend not putting anything else in the Ceremony Sequence, just for organizational purposes. Treat this Ceremony Sequence as your Ceremony Clip. Drop it into your Master Sequence with all your other Sequences and edits in the appropriate place. Remember, you can drop Sequences into Sequences that are inside other Sequences.

It's important to remember that Sequence is just another word for Nest, as in when you highlight a bunch of clips in a Timeline and nest them. Multi-layered Photoshop files are treated as Nests, too. The Timeline is the window in which you open Sequences to edit them. Being clear about these distinctions will help you plan your asset management more easily and efficiently.

I hope this helps you take advantage of the wonderful time-saving benefits of the Multiclip functions in Final Cut Pro 5. Happy editing!

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