Post Production: How To Edit a Multicamera Footage

Many times multicamera footage is used for a single event. This is used to save time though it can make editing the footage difficult. A great example of multicamera shooting is sports coverage. There are several different cameras constantly shooting the game. Another reason that multicameras may be used is because the event can only occur once, such as an explosion in a battle. All major films will use some type of multicamera editing as there are many different takes of each scene to work with.

Step 1. The Footage

It is important to have all of the film labeled properly before shooting. This makes keeping the film and audio organized and makes editing much easier. Once all of the footage is shot, input the film into the desired editing program. Today all editing is done digitally on the computer.

Step 2. The Timeline

With multicameras there will be a lot more footage to work with for each clip or event. It is best that the clips are stacked within the timeline. This way the tracks are synched properly and it is easy to keep track of what is happening when. There may be a special synchronization function in your software that makes it easy to have the footage stacked properly. Many times having a synchronization point such as the clapper tells the editor the correct point to start the synchronization. Sound can also be used as a synchronization point.

Step 3. Cutting the Footage

The easiest way to cut the footage is by shrinking the video tracks down so all of them can be seen on your screen. However, this takes a long time and requires a lot of rendering. A quicker and easier way to cut the footage is to turn the sections of the track on and off depending on which camera footage you want to show. Normally it will be necessary to designate one of your camera tracks as the master shot.

Step 4. Edit Markers

Another way to combine the footage is to watch each track separately and place editing markers. This way it is possible to see which sections of the track are good or bad. Cut out the bad shots and combine the good shots for a single track. The best camera editing software will allow the user to drag and drop the clips into any order they want.

Step 5. Transitions

It may be necessary to include some transitions between the different camera tracks. Generally for fast action cutting this is not necessary though it is recommended that you experiment a bit to see which transition has the best desired effect. Many times some small cuts and fine tuning of the different clips will be necessary in order to make the transitions flow properly.

Step 6. Preview

It is important to watch the newly spliced film. It can take many different cuts until a satisfactory track is found. This is actually what can take the longest when editing a film. With so much footage to choose from there are endless shot possibilities. Previewing the track will show what works and what doesn't. Keeping the energy constant through a scene can be difficult with many different camera tracks to choose from.