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Throughly modern multi-cam

COW Forums : Apple FCPX or Not: The Debate

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Bill DavisThroughly modern multi-cam
by on May 21, 2012 at 5:12:48 am

I mentioned awhile ago that I'd directed and shot a project that ended up using 14 cameras to cover a 5 piece Jazz band performance.

I'm trying to shoehorn the edit for it inside other work but I thought the group might be interested in a quick initial report since most people who've done posts on FCP-X's multi-cam have been working with less than a half dozen sources.

The shoot involved 7 DSLR's (5dMkIIs) - and an another 7 GoPro Hero 2's.

The initial shoot went much better than I expected - not without issues since wrangling 4 directed cameras - 3 fixed position DSLRS - and 7 fixed position micro-cams means a LOT of logistics issues. (took us well over a minute on each take just to confirm all were running properly!)

I've included a screen shot of an early test to see if X would bog down with 12 angles of Proxy media (it handled it like a CHAMP) and I've been working with all 14 since then. On my older MacPro with the 30" Cinema Display there is a modest bit of switching lag to get used to - but the clips all play back in sync in the interface really well!

I'm going to move it onto the laptop this week and see if the i7 Duo makes things even smoother.

Bottom line is that Yes, Virginia, FCP-X can handle bunches of multi-cam angles pretty amazingly well for a $300 editing package.

I also haven't had a single editing issue of any kind since 10.0.4 hit my machines including on this complex beast.

My biggest issue so far has been working out naming conventions for my assets and clips. With 12 cameras times two songs, times two performances each, Plus a "behind the scenes" steadi-cam shot that went from setup through the songs and beyond - plus another GOPro doing time-lapse covering the production, the tagging scheme has not been as straightforward as I initially thought and I had to puzzle out stuff like whether I wanted to "bucket" things by instrument, or angle, or solo, or camera position or whatever - in addition to the song/take info.

But I've been having a whole lot of fun - and I'm learning a whole lot about this new world.

More to come as I dig deeper.



"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Greg AndonianRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 21, 2012 at 6:23:26 am

Is there ANY WAY to turn off that "filmstrip" look that all the clips have in FCPX? Because having to look at that mad jumble of images you have there along with 12 clips playing in the monitor would drive me bananas...

In the normal timeline, it even plays the frame you're on while you skim over it. I sure hope it isn't doing that here too.

This is one of the things that really turns me off from wanting to use FCPX- there's too much animation and stimulation going on all over the place. Every time I try it I feel like I'm in a casino or something. It just doesn't feel like a professional environment.

I've heard that a lot of that stuff can be disabled if you don't want it, but I'd rather not have to deal with that. In Premiere I can sit down and get to work right away without having to turn off a bunch of saturday morning kid stuff first...

______________________________________________
"THAT'S our fail-safe point. Up until here, we still have enough track to stop the locomotive before it plunges into the ravine... But after this windmill it's the future or bust."


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Bill DavisRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 21, 2012 at 3:40:12 pm

[Greg Andonian] "Is there ANY WAY to turn off that "filmstrip" look that all the clips have in FCPX? Because having to look at that mad jumble of images you have there along with 12 clips playing in the monitor would drive me bananas...
"


Sorry.

After so long here, I just assume that people understand how X works, and that's usually a huge mistake on my part.

You're looking at the Angle Editor. It's a separate workspace in X for multi-cam preparation. It's the place where you can re-name, re-position and look at your individual camera shots.

It is NOT where you switch your program.

That's done by dropping the multicam clip into a single timeline, then you can switch shots by clicking on the angle display to make your shot selections.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Bill DavisRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 21, 2012 at 4:58:27 pm

Just to help you understand, here's a quick grab from the screen where you actually do your "post switching" in X.

The Multi-clip gets dropped in it's own timeline, the editor clicks to the clips they want, with or without their attached audio. Then that "cut" is written to the timeline for further refinement.

The Angle editor manages angles. Editing gets done in a Primary Storyline consistent with how X operates for day to day editing.

Your initial confusion was understandable. You're seeing the X interface in terms of how it relates to other NLE interfaces, and it's foundational concepts are somewhat different. Alternate metadata views of the same content is pretty easy in X, and that's all the Angle Editor is - a construct for managing the same database information for a specific task.

In this case, multi-cam.

The whole multi-cam construct in X is pretty amazing, IMO. Primarily because like many Apple constructs it builds on foundational concepts that are consistent. For multi-cam, you prep tag and arrange your work in one place - and use that preparation to populate as many "edits" as you like in multiple timelines/storylines.

The same can be said of the Event Browser/Timeline relationship.

FWIW.



"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Richard HerdRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 21, 2012 at 5:34:27 pm

Looking at your keywords.

Have you tried keywords: "chorus" "solo" "verse"? Thinking of jazz structure, you get the "head" where the riff is established, then the "solo" then the "end."


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Bill DavisRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 21, 2012 at 6:30:59 pm

Richard,

I wouldn't grt too analytical in regard to the posted keyword structures of these. That s what's changed the most as I've dug into the project.

As I expected, this is new territory for me, and I've already spent quite a bit of time revising and re-thinking my tagging strategy - and some of what I initially thought would be useful wasn't at all. While other strategies turned out to be truly foundational (a good example is the simple S1T1, S1t2, tag for Song 1 Take 1, etc) which was a big winner in enabling me to "bucket" takes rapidly and properly in separating so many discrete clips.

This process is all about changing my own thinking and exploring new possibilities, and I wouldn't want anyone to think at I have any special "proven" techniques reflected in these screen caps.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Jules bowmanRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 21, 2012 at 7:27:24 am

I can't believe, after all that setting up you had to do, they only recorded two songs. We do live sessions with bands,off our own back, usually 4 dslr if only using our gear but up to 6 cams at times and we make them do 5 songs and bundle 2 or 3 bands in a day just to make the most of the effort.

And though I am glad the edit is going well in FC10 for you I don't see the $300 price tag being relevant at all. Either the software is pro or it's not, which is a bulk of he debate in here. Cost is irrelevant, especially given apple could give it away for free and barely bust a sweat drop.


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Marcus Samuel-GaskinRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 21, 2012 at 9:32:58 am

Chris Fenwick recently blogged about his success with multi cam in fcpx.
Check it out http://chrisfenwick.com/home/2012/2/11/fcpx-might-work.html


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Jeremy GarchowRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 21, 2012 at 2:14:23 pm

One of my favorite aspects of FCPX is how easy and natural it is to work with groups of clips.

While I would not consider most of our shoots to be multicam shoots, there's no question that we have multiple cams on almost every shoot.

X makes it so easy (through a variety of grouping methods, such as compounds, multiclips, connections, auditions) to keep all of these things together through the edit and allowing angle/camera changes at a moments notice.

There's still a lot to be worked out mechanically with audio, but it still bodes well for a potential future.

Thanks for posting, Bill.


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Oliver PetersRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 21, 2012 at 2:17:57 pm

Bill,

How are you handling the audio? Is there a common mixed board feed that doesn't require remixing or editing on your part?

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Bill DavisRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 21, 2012 at 3:36:39 pm

Oliver,

Yes and No at the same time. (sounds like typical live recording, huh!)

The band was iso'd to six discrete tracks, Piano, Kick, Drum Overhead, Sax, Guitar amp - then Bass direct. The recordist delivered those stems plus a Stereo temp mix.

So that initial mix went into X as a "draft performance track" and has now become the timekeeper for video sync and edits.

(as an aside, it was kinda fascinating listening to all the direct audio takes from the different cameras and listening to how their positioning and enclosures affected the audio they recorded - but that wild audio certainly wasn't good enough to use for anything other than sync)

Anyway, the sound recordist has a copy of the discrete music tracks and when I've selected the actual performances, he'll do a proper mix down of the song finalists for audio replacement.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Bill DavisRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 21, 2012 at 3:48:44 pm

[Jules bowman] "I can't believe, after all that setting up you had to do, they only recorded two songs..."

Jules,

Look, I'm not sure what your issue is, but please, if all you can contribute is stuff like this, perhaps it's time for you to take a break from posting?

For the record, two songs is what I was able to secure performance and sync rights for from the composers and all the involved musicians.

I'm grateful to all those involved in this project for providing those rights to me, so that I can use this project for my training work and post it places like this without copyright issues.

Period.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Jules bowmanRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 21, 2012 at 4:03:31 pm

Bill, seriously mate, ou need to chill. I was being supportive. It seemed w shame after all the effort ou went through to only gt two songs. But hey, whatever mate.


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Richard HerdRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 21, 2012 at 3:05:59 pm

Are you on x.0.4?


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Bill DavisRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 21, 2012 at 3:42:07 pm

Yes.

It's been rock solid of me so far on both my machines.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Bill TsolaRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 25, 2012 at 7:47:06 am

Out of curiosity for someone still learning, what machines are those....what are your specs if you don't mind me asking...


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Bill TsolaRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 27, 2012 at 9:54:02 pm

so we don't share system specs on this site....just curious and straight forward..not sarcastic....
Im really just curious, because so many cams equals a computer hog. So in essence of science and proper comparison - I'd like to know what system you are editing your large numbers of cams on and have a great result with. It is a critical factor wouldn't you say....


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Bill DavisRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 31, 2012 at 6:56:39 am

Bill,

Sorry, I didn't see this until today.

I started the project on a Quad core Mac Pro 2.66 Ghz with 6 Gigs of ram. An older machine and not particularly high powered with a basic ATI Radeon HD 4870 512 MB graphics card.

The project sits on a portable Seagate Firewire 800 drive and so I can move it from machine to machine easily.

When I plug it into my dual i7 MacBook Pro - I have less screen real estate (the MacPro has a 30" Cinema Display), but the 14 cameras run more responsively.

And for Al, I created both standard Optimized Pro Res and Proxy media at ingest. So I can switch back and forth reasonably easily and the project populates with whichever files I choose.

I've been working largely in Proxy since all I'm trying to do is choose selects and figure out the approach I want to take to the edit - speed and the ability to do lots of experimentation is more important to me than full rez picture judgement at this stage. After I'm happy with an initial cut, I'll just switch X to the full rez files and I'll do the picture grading and final trims with those. Since both resolutions of files sit side by side in the Event - pointing the X metadata from one batch of files to the other (and back if necessary) is essentially immediate.

So unless storage space becomes an issue for someone (and $150 large fast drives makes that not a very big deal these days!) I just can't see a reason not to work this way.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Bill TsolaRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 31, 2012 at 7:03:49 am

THANK YOU! THANK YOU!


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Al BergsteinRe: Throughly modern multi-cam
by on May 28, 2012 at 3:38:41 pm

Did you have to go to a proxy to get it to edit this stuff? I only ask because when I do mulitcam on Pr I use the original footage with no time spent creating proxies. Or did I misunderstand your post?

Glad to hear that X is handling this stuff well. And yes, I agree that managing the clip names is difficult, especially when you get six months in with many shoots.

Al


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