Tutorial: Efficient Multicam Editing With Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Posted Jul 20, 2011

Grass Valley EDIUS 6 on EventDV.tvEvent shooters frequently shoot with multiple cameras to get optimum coverage for their customers. Without a multicam interface in an NLE to streamline the process, mixing footage from multiple cameras can be daunting for the editor. Most pro-level NLEs today incorporate a multicam feature that helps event editors by making their edit process simple and quick. Grass Valley EDIUS is no exception. It has a robust multicam feature set that is difficult to match in other NLEs. I hope this tutorial helps you speed through your multicam edits and accomplish more work in less time.

Step 1: Place Your Clips
The first step to any multicam edit is to place your clips on the timeline. Of course you will have to get them all synced as well. If your cameras and footage have running timecode, EDIUS can sync by timecode. The option is in the mode menu. Most event editors will sync their footage based on sound and/or a photographer's camera flash. With the release of PluralEyes for EDIUS, there is now a their-party plug-in that syncs your footage for you and can save you even more time. Once all my clips are on the timeline and completely synced it's time to start editing. For this tutorial, our timeline will look like the Figure 1 before the edit begins.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6 Multicam
Figure 1. Our 8-layer timeline before editing in Multicam mode

Step 2: Set the Number of Cameras
The first thing you need to know about EDIUS' Multicm mode is that you have the ability to set the number of cameras you want to use. As you can see on the timeline here, we have eight different layers of video, which means I'm editing an eight-camera multicam shoot. You can set the number of cameras for you edit by selecting Mode > Number of Cameras and selecting from the Number pull-down (8 + Master in this case), as shown in Figure 2.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6 Multicam
Figure 2. Setting the number of cameras in addition to the Monitor

If you notice in the menu EDIUS even has an option for 16 cameras for a 16-camera multicam edit. That's a bunch of cameras. In this example, we're dealing with only 8, but it's good to know that EDIUS could handle 16 if you have a big enough event.

Step 3: Work in Dual-View Mode
Once you select Multicam Mode, EDIUS will appear as shown in Figure 3. Note that if you're in Single View mode, your monitor will display the 8 cameras plus the Master in the Monitor. If you're in Dual-View mode your 8 + Master will display in the Preview monitor and the master will show fullscreen in the Recorder/Output monitor on the right. For our tutorial, we're using Dual-View mode.

Our project also has a ninth layer of audio: an audio track from a DV camera. It has been placed on the bottom of the audio timeline and will become our master audio at the end of the project.

Another thing you'll notice about this project in the screenshots is that I'm working in Proxy mode. Proxy mode allows you to edit with low-rez proxy files. In Multicam mode, you have to get multiple streams of video into the application. In full-rez video mode, those 8 streams represent a lot of data, and will need a fast RAID 0 system for efficient operation. If you use Proxy mode to edit an 8-stream multicam project, you'll be able to edit the entire thing easily off an external USB laptop drive on an i7 laptop. To learn more about Proxy mode editing, see my Proxy Mode video tutorial on Vimeo or on EventDV.net (with text).

When I play the timeline in Multicam mode, there may be a slight stutter on playback because of the data stream. EDIUS offers the ability to skip frames to make playback smooth and easy to edit. With an 8-camera multicam shoot off a USB drive, I'll select to skip only 1 frame to make it play smoothly. Figure 3 shows how to access the Mode > View Multicam > Skipped Frames option.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6 Multicam
Figure 3. Choosing how to preview Multicam footage

Step 4: On to the Edit
Now that your timeline is playing smoothly you're wondering, "How do I actually edit this multicamera shoot in EDIUS with Multicam mode?" It's very simple: Start the timeline playing back by hitting the space bar or pressing the Play button on the Recorder window. As it's playing, I can simply click on the window I want to go live on my output. You can also select the "live" camera by just pressing the associated track number on your numeric keypad.

Now that I've made a few cuts in the edit and as you can see on the timeline, small upside-down triangle markers are placed at each cut point as shown in Figure 4.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6 Multicam
Figure 4. Cut points on the timeline in Multicam mode

You'll also notice that some of the clips are brighter, and the others are dark. Those bright ones are the actual camera track that has gone live in your Output monitor. Essentially, EDIUS is muting the tracks you don't want, and leaving live the tracks you do want.

Another great feature of EDIUS is how simple it is to modify an edit if you miss a cut point or decide to move an edit point. Instead of having to stop and undo and redo everything, all you need to do is grab one of the marker triangles and drag it to where the cut should be. All the cuts on each track will move along with the location of the triangle marker.

Step 5: Compressing the Timeline
Once you've completed your the multicam edit, EDIUS has a few more tricks in store for you. If you go to the Mode menu again you'll find an option called Compress to a Single Track, as shown in Figure 5.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6 Multicam
Figure 5. Compressing your edited multicam timeline to a single track

After selecting the Compress to Single Track option, you're prompted to either add a new V track or VA track at the top of your timeline. After selecting what kind of track you want to add, EDIUS takes all the "live" clips from each track and places them on the new track you just created. All your original tracks are still in place underneath in case you need to make any modifications later. Figure 6 shows the timeline after the Compress to Single Track has been completed.

multicam 6
Figure 6. The compressed timeline

Step 6: Adding 'Soft Cuts'
There is one more nice trick EDIUS has waiting for you. Let's say you want to put a dissolve on all your clips. First, you put a lasso around all the clips to highlight them. Once all the clips are highlighted, you can drag a dissolve onto the new track and all clips will now have a dissolve placed on the cut point. You probably aren't going to want a long, 1-second dissolve on all your cuts for most edits but often a shorter 6-10-frame dissolve can make your straight cuts more of a "soft" cut that is a little easier on the eyes of the viewer. Figure 7 shows the timeline zoomed in after a dissolve has been added to the upper track.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6 Multicam
Figure 7. The timeline zoomed to show the dissolve added to the uppermost track

One other thing I do with my multicam edits is to mute all the underlying original tracks. This will keep any of the footage in lower tracks from showing through some of the transparent sections of our dissolves. I will also tweak my audio as needed to get my project sounding right. Most times my master track (remember that ninth audio track) is the final audio but, sometimes, I'll use one of my original tracks for a little ambient mix to give a more realistic sound.

This is a good summary of the core EDIUS Multicam functionality. I hope it helps you get comfortable with the application's Multicam functionality and, in turn, helps speed up your edit. If your current NLE doesn't have multicam functionality, it may be time to speed up your edits and give EDIUS a look.

You can see other video tutorials in our ongoing series of EDIUS 6 tutorials on EventDV.tv's EDIUS channel on Vimeo.

Philip Hinkle (philip at frogmanproductions.com) runs Madison, Wis.-area video production company Frogman Productions. A 2008 EventDV 25 honoree and nationally recognized EDIUS instructor, he won a 2008 WEVA CEA Gold in the Social Event category and a 2006 4EVER Group AAA Diamond. He was a 2009 WEVA CEA judge and a featured speaker at WEVA Expo 2009. He is co-founder and vice-president of the Wisconsin Digital Media Group.