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My music video multicamera workflow

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Andy Neil
My music video multicamera workflow
on Sep 22, 2014 at 9:14:13 pm

Hi everyone,

I cut a music video a few weeks back for LA singer/songwriter Sarah Pigion. It was an update for her song Ember and the final version is here:





Anyway, I wanted to share my workflow since it required multicam, but with my own twist. First the specifics: I work on a Mac Pro tower 2011 with 30 GB RAM and a sad-looking 20" cinema display. The video was shot guerrilla style with a single 7D camera in 3 set ups. In a studio, outside at Griffith Park during the day, and also at night. Production values aside, one of the challenges was audio playback during the shoot. They actually just played the song on an iPhone loud enough so Sarah could hear it and sing along. That was the audio I was synching to. Surprisingly, FCPX did great synching clips together.

Just to stress: this was NOT a multi camera shoot. It was a single camera shoot with many takes. Many, many takes. Sometimes full takes of the song, sometimes only a portion. But I felt that if she was singing along to a pre-recorded track, then a multi cam workflow might make it much easier to cut.

First, I organized my clips by set up:



All the studio clips in one place, Griffith Park footage divided by day and night. Then I created a multicam collection to temporarily store clips I was making into multiclips. I did this because there was some footage that was shot as general broll and wouldn't be sync-able to the music.

I made 3 multiclips (one for each setup) instead of one massive one because the large number of takes made working with a massive multiclip, difficult and not really a timesaver. I used a smart collection to gather my multiclips so I had easy access to them.

I began by cutting the studio footage as my foundation, into the primary storyline. Then I layered the other two multiclips as secondary storylines above the primary. Once all three multiclips were synced to the song, I started editing. By using 3 multiclips instead of one, I was able to use a 9-up window when cutting which was much easier for determining the best shot. I switched off multiclips and as long as I selected the secondary I wanted to work on, I could use all my multicam shortcuts. Here's what my finished timeline looked like:




Couple of things that were "gotchas" and required workarounds:

Keeping sync with the connected clips. I wanted to be able to switch between the various multiclips, but if I trimmed them at all, I'd lose sync down the line. Also, if I deleted a section of the topmost multiclip (leaving a gap) in order to see the layer below, it would keep sync, but then I'd lose the ability to go back and use that portion of the multiclip. So I created a NULL track:



This is an angle in the multiclip with nothing in it. I just labeled it EMPTY TRACK. Whenever I wanted to reveal the layers below, I would cut to the empty layer. This allowed me to work really fast in all three multiclips, cutting virtually at real time playback. Worked wonderful. Here's what it looked like in the sequence:



Layer visibility. Sometimes I needed to disable one or more multiclips while working. The EMPTY TRACK layer works great for the cutting stage, but it registers as a clip to the playhead and it's bouncing ball which meant it was sometimes difficult to use shortcuts like trim tool on the primary storyline without having to manually click on each clip I wanted to work with.

So I created a multiclip role and created sub roles:



I assigned the sub role 02 to the secondary multiclip directly above the primary, and 03 to the one on top. Then I could turn them off in the index and use my shortcuts.

Even with the separate multiclips, I still ended up with 13+ angles in each. Switching banks is a bit of a hassle when you're cutting multicam because I always forget about the angles in the 2nd bank.



Luckily, the angle editor makes grouping and naming angles really easy, so I just tried to keep the shorter sections to the 2nd bank.

When I was done, I did a base color with the color correction tool and then made it dreamy with the help of some really cool FilmStyles plugins that I got from DV Creators.



My thought process was that two of the locations were dreamscapes and only one was reality. So I used these film looks to give it a soft, blurred edges feel to the dream shots. It also helped with the fact that lighting on the shoot was very sparse.

All in all, I thought it turned out really well. The song is ethereal and catchy and I wanted the look of it to be that way too. I've never really used multicam in that way before although I have since on another video I cut that's going to be coming out soon. That one was more difficult though because the different takes were all live performances and needed to be synched to a final recording which used more than one of the takes. That required much more tweaking during the cut because the takes weren't based on a single version of the song. Still, it made the cut go easier, especially during notes and fine cutting.

Sorry about the long post, but I thought it was interesting so I decided I'd share.

Andy

https://plus.google.com/u/0/107277729326633563425/videos


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Bill Davis
Re: My music video multicamera workflow
on Sep 22, 2014 at 10:25:37 pm

Nice Job Andy.

One of the amazing hallmarks of X is that it's structure doesn't force you to work the same way each time you approach a project with different needs.

Yours is the first storyline I've seen working with multiple multi-clips. But it makes perfect sense the way you describe it.

On my more complex multi-cam music projects, I tend to actually do my initial cut with as few as 4 angles, even if I have 40 overall. Then I switch to a second bank of 4 and essentially take a second pass, watching to see if any of my new 4 are superior to the shots I've selected on the first pass.

So I do what can be seen as "additive passes" rather than ever try to assess everything in real time.

But it's always fascinating to see how other editors see and react to these things.

No one RIGHT way - just multiple possible ways. That's the magic of a tool like FCP X.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Andy Neil
Re: My music video multicamera workflow
on Sep 23, 2014 at 12:31:48 am

Interesting. I would not have thought to try and do several passes at it. As it is I doubt my computer would've been able to handle a 40+ angle multi clip. I had to transcode to proxy halfway through the project because it was having a hard time playing back 13 streams of pro res.

Andy

https://plus.google.com/u/0/107277729326633563425/videos


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James Ewart
Re: My music video multicamera workflow
on Sep 23, 2014 at 8:29:02 am

Hello Bill,

So you will have all in sync and then enable four more?

How do you do this exactly please? Curious about this workflow.

I recently completed a 12 camera setup and do many many passes stopping frequently to asses whether I have made the best election or need to add another cut but your way was how I used to do it in the days of tape and makes a lot of sense.

http://www.jamesewart.co.uk


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: My music video multicamera workflow
on Sep 23, 2014 at 9:23:33 am

What I think he means, and it's also roughly how I do it, too, is: you have ALL angles in one MC and you do a first pass edit with the angles you can see in the first bank (be it 2, 4, 9 or 16), then switch to the next bank and do a second pass and cut to possible alternative angles you like even more.


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James Ewart
Re: My music video multicamera workflow
on Sep 23, 2014 at 12:27:48 pm

Ahh OK.

I was wondering if there was a way to disable the clips in the angle editor without losing the bits you have used in the edit for this workflow. But just changing the view mode in the angle viewer I guess works just as well.


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Bill Davis
Re: My music video multicamera workflow
on Sep 26, 2014 at 7:09:55 pm

Actually, the show all angles but just mentally concentrate on the first 4 is what I did initially. And I was stupid to do that.

Cuz I soon realized that the way X works, when you make a pass in the angle editor, it writes those choices to the Multiclip. If you then simply re-rack back to frame 1 in the multi clip, and play it again while switching, it ADDS those new choices to the prior ones. AND (and this is critical) there's no penalty for changing views when you re-rack. Do a pass in 4-up. Then do the next pass in 9 up? No problem. If you screw up, you can just to to the Storyline and clean it up with roll edits or delete cuts as needed - back up and re-cut at will.

When I realized all this, I realized that the number of angles I was showing in the angle editor when I made a cut was irrelevant.

Understanding this - I figured I could pop into the 4 angle view to rough cut my 4 manned cameras - then ELECT whether I wanted to display my secondary angles in 4, 9, or 16 angles for inserting those shots.

And I could always easily back up and correct any mis-switch.

The Multicam suite in X is almost INSANELY flexible and powerful. You're never stuck in time, or in view, or in reversibility.

in short, it really, truly ROCKS.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: My music video multicamera workflow
on Sep 26, 2014 at 7:26:57 pm

[Bill Davis] "it ADDS those new choices to the prior ones."

Not if you hold the ⌥-key. :)


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James Ewart
Re: My music video multicamera workflow
on Sep 27, 2014 at 11:09:06 am
Last Edited By James Ewart on Sep 27, 2014 at 2:56:16 pm

I have been doing a first "live pass" and then going through from the head stopping at every cut, tidying and assessing which is the best angle and either switching or adding cuts. But I like to see all my options I must admit.

Just finished one with 12 angles. It works so welt but my machine is on the edge and only runs in real time with proxy.


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Robin S. Kurz
Re: My music video multicamera workflow
on Sep 23, 2014 at 7:11:43 am

Great post! Always interesting to see how others go about solving certain problems. :) Thanks for taking the time!


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Edward Fiebke
Re: My music video multicamera workflow
on Oct 24, 2014 at 12:35:11 am
Last Edited By Edward Fiebke on Oct 24, 2014 at 12:39:15 am

First, I enjoyed listening & watching the video, the finished product. It's aways nice to hear well-thoughout and well-arranged music, especially newly written music. Secondly, I do appreciate you sharing your work-flow in creating this video. (I can't afford going back to college to take videography courses. Reading these how-to posts and watching the how-to videos is my main method of learning videography at this time.) Thank you. And, well done!

________________________________________
Early 2009 Mac Pro (2 x 2.26 GHz Quad-Core); Yosemite 10.10; 32 GB RAM; NVIDIA Quadro K5000; 7 internal SSDs; 1 external SSD via eSATA; 2 external RAID 0 set-up via eSATA; MOTU's 2408 MK3 (2 of them); Adobe's Creative Cloud; Logic Pro X; FCP X; MOTU's DP 8; AKAI MPK88 keyboard controller; lots of Virtual Instruments; Panasonic's AG-HPX170 (2 of them).

Too Live Nurse
http://www.toolivenurse.com


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