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Three Cameras into one edit?

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RobertThree Cameras into one edit?
by on Aug 30, 2003 at 1:05:15 am

I have been asked to 'Film" a drama stage production, if we use just the one camera would be boring so the actors are providing their own DV camcorders so we will have three DV's covering the entire stage, easy.

I then have to download the three digital outputs (fire wire)into my PC for a final edit, using either pinnacle V7 or premiere V6 (perhaps you can suggest another software here).

now we don't have a video mixer (hardware) so is it possible to use segments from these continiuos coverage streams to cut and paste on the PC down to final product?

How would you do it?
What is the best software that handles 3 Video tracks? (if any)
How to use the Dv Time code or whatever to maintain real time continuity?
Sound will be difficult to record cleanly, should I use a seperate Stage mic to record on cassett for later lip synch? if so , would a DAT be helpfull for lip Synch and how do you use all the time codes?

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John CuevasRe: Three Cameras into one edit?
by on Aug 30, 2003 at 3:03:33 am


If at all possible, I would set up one camera to record the sound. Preferably you can imput audio into the camera, So I would try to hide one or two mikes, run cables to that camera and use that as the sound source.

Camera wise, I would imagine you would be best served by putting one camera on a fairly wide shot, to cover yourself. Cameras 2 and 3 probably would be good to have an operator on both, following the action. Camera one then would give you a nice wide shot to cut to when needed.

Now Best case scenario, all three cameras work fine...what you do is find a good moment where you can match the action, has to be exact. At this point lay your 3 cameras into the timeline. Now if all 3 cameras are recorded fine(shouldn't be a problem with newer dv cams) you should be able to pick the camera with the best shot at the time and cut out the other 2. If all works well your video and audio will always stay synced.

Hope that makes some's a bit late

Johnny Cuevas

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Mark SuszkoRe: Three Cameras into one edit?
by on Aug 30, 2003 at 5:52:24 pm

Well, this is not for beginners, but here goes:

Premiere should be fine for this. My experience is in Discreet Edit, but the principles are the same. Edit* has a neat feature that actually lets you synch up all three tracks and then use the number keys as if they were camera buttons on a switcher, so in effect, you're live switching, but can go back and clean up any mistakes... best of both worlds, and very fast....once the footage is all imported.

There's a plug-in for Premiere that does this, but I think it's like 300 dollars or something... anyway, you don't really need it.

Make sure everybody runs their cams continuously, no stops, at least, not until an intermission. To synch the three cams, you can use someone setting off a still camera flash unit near the stage, or just swivel the manned cams towards the unmanned one, roll all three, then have someone kick a flash or clap their hands together like a film clapper, you'll have your synch point. Be sure all the cameras and your mini-disk for audio are recording audio at the same sample rate, or there will be drift later.

You should definitely bring all three cameras to the dress rehearsal, where it won't matter that you're up in people's faces or blockign seats in the audience. If you want, make the shots from dress rehearsal from places other than where you'll have cameras for the real gig, then your multicam edit can look like you shot with SIX cameras!;-) I did this on a ballet recital, 2 cams looked like four after I mixed dress rehearsal footage with actual show stuff.

Another issue is how much storage you need for editing this: if it's a 2-hour show, do you have storage enough for six-plus hours of footage?

Once all that has been handled, you're now in the edit session.
Make your three video tracks together, and your three audio tracks under them, make the audio waveforms very visible, to aid in alignment by sight. Essentially, you will pick one track as the master (usually the wide shot), and synch the other two tracks to that by sliding them around near the point of that camera flash until the audio doesn't echo or phase-shift. Once all three tracks are aligned, save everything on the timeline. Now, set up all three video tracks( audio is not touched at this point) so they can be divided with one keystroke. Set up the monitor to watch thr track that will be of most interest, that will be on screen the most. You will play the timeline, and any time you feel like switching, like the chot is bad, or you need a wide shot to show an entrance, etc. you hit the key that makes a split or divide in the timeline. Some people call this "knifing" the track, like cutting thru three stacked sticks of hard butter with a sharp knife: you're leaving the slits down thru all three tracks, but you're not yet moving or deleting anything, just cutting the tracks up into chunks.They remain synched, because you're editing everything in over-record, not insert/bump.

In my setup, what I can then do is go back over the timeline and click on a knifed section in one track, hit delete, boom, that section between the knife cuts is gone, revealing the cutaway shot on the track below. If that shot's no good, zap, it's gone, the other shot beneath it is revealed. Another way I can do this with just the mouse is to merely drag one section up from a lower track into the same spot above in a higher track, and it automatically "snaps" into place, without a change in synch. I don't run premiere, so you'll probably have to modify my approach slightly to agree with Adobe's way of doing things and your personal style and preferences. I will say, however, I find this a very fast way to work, because I can mark up my tracks on the fly as the show plays out, then go back and whip thru the shot replacements in about half realtime. After this main pass, I can go back and shorten up things here and there, add cutaways and stuff from rehearsals, add transitions and tweak the sound.

Have fun!

"Oh, you wanted to RECORD that?"

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RobertRe: Three Cameras into one edit?
by on Aug 31, 2003 at 7:22:43 pm

Dress rehersal shots as "fill", now why didn't I think of that?
I have 40 Gig available on HD Mark, and the play is 30 minutes. I guess I'll find out soon if it's enough space for 90 minutes for the three cams.

and johnny your right, I have one camera operato, so she will be following the action on 3, Camera 2 will be sitting stage left and cam one is the wide shot you suggested.

I thought somehow you can use codec for Synch? Oh I don't know, It should be fun


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Tim KolbRe: Three Cameras into one edit?
by on Sep 1, 2003 at 3:51:37 am

The best way would be to start the cameras rolling and to come out ten minutes before the performance a create a distinct a hand clap that was also visual...then sync all shots to that.

United Media makes the Multicam plugin...2 cameras is a deal at 199.00 US, but the four cam version gets pricey...I think it's 699.00 or something like can actually sync the clips and just switch it like a switcher with all two or up to four cameras showing...and it cleans up the timeline.

With DV you are using a Gig for just under 5 minutes, so 90 minutes (3 cameras x 30 minutes) would take at least 18-20 Gigs of harddrive space.


Kolb Syverson Communications
Class On Demand Premiere Trainer

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RobertRe: Three Cameras into one edit?
by on Aug 31, 2003 at 7:06:33 pm

Thanks Mark and Johny

Your advice is great, marks slice first and number key pad technique sounds good I will have to now read that manual to see if I have the feature.

This is just a hobby for me, they asked me to do it as I am the oldest and bussyest person the amature group know !


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Mark SuszkoRe: Three Cameras into one edit?
by on Sep 1, 2003 at 3:17:56 pm

I call it slicing or knifng, I think Adobe users call it "razor" -ing, and there might even be an icon for it.

As to the plug-in, if it's just 2 cameras, my opinion is it's overkill, unnecesary. For four cams, only if this is going to be a regular thing. For the occasional one-off multicam gig, I'd save the money for a plug-in of more utility.

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Martin RowellRe: Three Cameras into one edit?
by on Sep 2, 2003 at 1:15:02 pm

White balance all the cameras at the same time on the same white card!!!!!

Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

Martin Rowell

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Scott C.Re: Three Cameras into one edit?
by on Sep 2, 2003 at 1:31:16 pm

I don't mean to be the boogie man, but if you all are licensing this show, then you also need a license to videotape it. Generally, they don't allow it.

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RobertRe: Three Cameras into one edit?
by on Sep 3, 2003 at 6:47:40 am

This is only amature stuff we will be doing, just to please the actors, you know how vein actors can be :-)

So the video of the performance will not be sold commercially.

But I am an electronic engineer by trade (Comms) I feel that the best way to learn about your DV / PC edit hobby is just to go out like this and volunteer your spare time and give your local amature acting club, or even the more pro stage actors something for free.

even if you are a pro, you do the first one for free then the next time they will pay you, remmember, most actors improve their craft by watching.

I also get a pleasure chating up one of the actresses !

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Scott C.Re: Three Cameras into one edit?
by on Sep 3, 2003 at 1:58:44 pm

I applaud your spirit and generosity. I have been many times tempted to do the same. Just be aware of what you are doing. Videotaping the show is a copyright violation, even if the players are the only ones to see it. Granted the fewer people that see it, the lesser the chances of being caught. But getting caught is not the issue that I raise.
Perhaps one day you will have creative property of your own out there that you would like to protect from bootleggers. When the shoe is on the other foot, the song has a differant tune. It's kind of like Kazzaa suing for copyright infringement... what hypocrisy!
When you work for free it is easy not to think about it. But when you have a crew to pay you may see it differantly.

It's only 2 cents... pick it up if you want it.

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Frank OttoRe: Three Cameras into one edit?
by on Sep 4, 2003 at 6:54:30 pm

Umm Scott, not to be auguementitive, but...

I've signed several contracts for stage shows and although your point may be vaild for commercial release, concert or other copyrighted work, they (meaning Sam French and TCI) have always allowed private recordings of their licensed work. It is not for public (and by that they mean the "general" public) viewing, (quoting now)"nor are you allowed to sell, diseminate or transmit the licensed product via ANY medium be it film or magnetic reproduction, telephonic transmission, radio transmission or internet."

They understand the concepts of "rehersal replay or post mortem viewing" and scrapbook archiving.

And Robert did not mention the title of the work - it may fall under the public domain rules and only the printed version (the Sam French script format)or the original performance is copyrighted.

I, too as a victim of intellectual property theft have an interest in copyright being followed. But there are exceptions and this sound like one of them.


Frank Otto
Unmarked Door @ Flamingo LV
Sandbox Ent. Enterprises

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Scott C.Re: Three Cameras into one edit?
by on Sep 5, 2003 at 1:15:58 am

Yes Frank,
Perhaps it was my language that seemed argumentative. I wasn't trying to make a determination for his case as he hasn't said enough about the show. I only raise the point in case it had not been taken into consideration, and that is simply; If the owner of the show asserts a legal copyright, it is your responsibility to obtain permission before you record it for ANY purpose.
So many people give naught a thought to copyright infringement these days. Worse yet, so many young folks see nothing wrong with it. It seems that either public perception or business models have to change with regards to this issue. Otherwise we might all be reduced to starving artists.

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Frank OttoRe: Three Cameras into one edit?
by on Sep 5, 2003 at 3:41:34 pm

[Scott C.] "Otherwise we might all be reduced to starving artists. "

You mean, we aren't already?

"Honey! Have you seen my royalty check?"

"No Dear, remember? Techicians and skilled artisans and the people doing backbreaking labor don't get royalties - only cattle and their agents."


Frank Otto
Unmarked Door @ Flamingo LV
Sandbox Ent. Enterprises

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