Many things on video are more convenient to shoot on several cameras at once. This allows, for example, not to make unnecessary takes. In addition, by gluing simultaneously filmed plans of different sizes, you can get a smoother and smoother editing. How to shoot video on several cameras, so that later it is easy to edit, and how to organize this editing, we understand this material.
Multi-camera filming and multi-camera editing are used, for example, when filming programs or interviews, where you need to show one speaker, then another. Or when shooting one person in the frame, if later it is planned to cut his performance into pieces and glue them together. This is useful if the speaker makes an unprepared speech, stutters somewhere.
How to shoot video for multicamera editing
Why sync videos from different cameras
How to sync videos from different cameras in Adobe Premiere
How to sync videos from different cameras in PluralEyes
Adobe Premiere multi-camera editing
When shooting, it can be from two cameras to infinity — depending on the tasks. As a rule, cameras are placed on plans of different sizes and at different angles to what is happening. For example, if this is a talk show, one can be set to the general plan, in which both speakers are visible, and two more to the middle one — in each of which one of the speakers will be visible.
If this is a recording of a concert, a cooking show, or any other video in which several people do something together, the scheme may be as follows: two cameras on tripods, one in the hands of a person. One writes a general plan in which all participants can be seen, another one is directed at the main participant (soloist, invited guest or presenter), another one (in the hands of a person) catches close-ups: the hands of a guitarist, a knife in his hands, and so on.
Let’s see how it looks on the example of a classic culinary show:
With a competent approach, one person can shoot with three cameras in this situation.
An important point: you need to find out in advance how much video your particular camera can continuously record. For some DSLRs and mirrorless cameras that are not positioned as cameras for video, these can be videos of 10–15 minutes. If you are recording a long interview, you need to keep an eye on it and restart each camera in time.
Also, the length of the video that a particular camera can record depends on its quality. For example, Fujifilm X‑T20 can record 15 minutes of video in Full HD, but only 10 in 4K. If you don’t take care of this, after shooting you may find that you have lost most of the video from one or more cameras.
As a rule, this feature is found in all cameras. The exception is different Panasonic Lumix models. They even have younger models have no limit on the length of the video.
Next, we need to synchronize video from multiple cameras. Synchronization of different videos goes by sound. What is manual, what is automatic — sound will always be used. Therefore, it is important that each camera record sound. If one of the cameras is far enough away from the participants in the process and you are working without a lavalier or an additional microphone, and the camera does not actually hear the voices of the participants in the show or interview, problems may arise further. They may not arise if the work is going on in a quiet room — a weak sound is enough for synchronization, if only it were.
If one of the cameras is far away, you should make sure that it is not standing under a humming air conditioner, a loud speaker, or that the operator next to it is not chatting on the phone.
The first and most important condition for trouble-free multi-camera editing is the synchronization of raw materials from different cameras. Without this, people in the video will move their lips without falling into words — this is always noticeable.
You can synchronize the raw material manually: for this you need to look at the peaks in the audio and adjust the tracks so that the peaks look parallel.
In the cinema, including for synchronization, crackers used to be used. The sharp and loud sound of the cracker is distinguished by a sharp peak on all sound tracks, it can be used to accurately synchronize the sound.
But in any case, you need to be able to work with a clapperboard, and even with it, making accurate synchronization manually is not the easiest skill to master. Plus it’s long. It is better to entrust this to automation, it will make synchronization faster and more accurate.
Before synchronizing the video, you need to prepare it: to do this, you need to decompose the video shot by different cameras — each into its own folder. Next, you need to make sure that all videos have the same resolution and the same frame rate — so that there are no problems later.
If the size or frame rate is different somewhere, you must first load this raw material into Premier separately and export it with the correct settings. But it’s better, of course, to make sure that the settings are the same at the shooting stage, and not waste time converting.
You can sync videos using Adobe Premiere. This is convenient if you do the installation in the same place. To begin with, we lay out the raw materials from different cameras on the tracks — each on its own.
Then select everything that needs to be synchronized, right-click on the selection and give the command Synchronize / Synchronize. Then the program does everything itself.
As a rule, Premiere manages synchronization quite accurately. The only problem is that it only works well with a small number of videos. A video for a minute or two, consisting of three shots from three cameras, he will assemble without problems. The speed of such an assembly can vary greatly and take from a minute to 15–20 minutes, depending on the power of the computer. But with such a thirty-minute program, it may not be able to cope.
In addition, Premiere’s algorithms make synchronization very slow and very resource-intensive for it. The more powerful the computer, the faster the synchronization will go. In addition, it depends on the length of the video and the number of tracks that need to be mixed. That is, if you have a large video of 30–40 minutes, there is a good chance that Premiere will just crash in the middle of the process.
There is an alternative software that is able to synchronize large volumes of videos without such problems.
One of the most convenient tools for synchronizing video by sound for multi-camera editing is Red Giant PluralEyes. The unequivocal advantages of this program: it copes with large volumes of video and works quickly. What Adobe Premiere will fiddle with for half an hour, PluralEyes will assemble in 10 minutes. Of the minuses: not too intuitive interface and lack of Russian language. The program is available under a general subscription to the manufacturer’s products, which will cost from 3 to 5 thousand rubles per month, depending on the tariff plan. There is a free trial version for 14 days.
The fastest and most accurate PluralEyes works with .xml files, which means that you have to do some preparatory work in Adobe Premiere first. In the same way, we upload videos from different cameras, as we did in the previous section — each on its own track. After that, the menu File choose a team Export — Final Cut For XML.
Then open PluralEyes and in the menu File select item New Project from Premier Pro.
Then you will have to wait a few minutes. The program needs time to import and render files with peaks. Depending on the power of the computer and the size of the project, this can take from a minute to 10 minutes.
When the files are ready, PluralEyes may give you an error like this because some files are too short. He gives out in 8 cases out of 10.
Click OK and move on. It remains only to give the program a command Synchronize and wait a little more.
Typically, the synchronization process takes 10–40 seconds. If the project is very large, it may take a couple of minutes. The synchronization result looks like this: the video is decomposed into tracks in accordance with the sound.
Please note that the amount of material that the program can work with depends on the power of your computer. If PluralEyes fiddles with the merging for a long time, and then gives out some kind of rubbish, where all the pieces of the video are mixed up, then you gave it too much.
As a rule, such problems arise only with very large volumes of raw materials — when it is, for example, a recording of a seminar for 6–8 hours.
To solve this problem, you have to do this:
- divide the raw material into two approximately equal parts — divide the files from each camera in half;
- create two projects in Premiere, each from its own half;
- repeat everything that we talked about in this section from the very beginning twice — once for each half.
If everything went well, you need to export the result in order to transfer it to Adobe Premiere, where we will mount it. It is impossible to mount in PluralEyes, this is a highly specialized software that is designed specifically for synchronization by sound. To export, click on the Export Timeline icon on the top panel.
PluralEyes has one unpleasant feature: it does not allow you to choose a directory for saving the file and likes to save it to a place where Makar did not drive the calves. For some reason, programmers solved this problem in a strange way — they offer to show where the file is merged. We show the magic button on the screen below.
Next, open Adobe Premiere and open our file in it through the menu File/File — there we select a team Open Project and choose what PluralEyes created. The result in Premiere looks like this:
Premiere has a special mode for working with multi-camera footage. To open it, you have to do a few things. First, select everything in the timeline (click on the timeline, then press Ctrl+A), right-click on it and select the command Nest/Embed.
Next, you need to right-click on the green bar of the built-in sequence to bring up the menu, and select Multi Camera / Multi-camera transfer — Enable / Enable:
That’s not all. Now we need to switch the video preview to the multi-camera display mode. To do this, right-click on the frame, call up the menu and select the command Display Mode / Multi-Camera / Multi-camera transmission.
If you did everything right, the preview will be divided into several cells, each of which will show video from one of the cameras.
Further, multi-camera editing is very simple: start video playback and switch between cameras using the buttons 1, 2, 3, 4 on the keyboard. Premiere will automatically cut the video after each switch. That is, it will cut off pieces according to the timecode after each switch to a new camera. Then you can continue to work with these fragments as with any video in Premiere: crop, stretch more over the edge, swap, and so on.
If you want to change the camera in an already cut fragment, you need to stop playback, click on the desired fragment and press the button, 1, 2, 3 or 4 on the keyboard to select the desired camera.
This method has one big drawback: if the computer is not too powerful, the program may freeze. Especially if you do not have two cameras, but three or four, and they all recorded video in high resolution.
If you cannot work in multicamera mode, you can work directly on the timeline, cropping and shifting unnecessary fragments. In any case, it is much more convenient to work when all video fragments are synchronized. So, for example, we get rid of the need to constantly monitor the phase of movement and adjust the pieces so that the movements look smooth — the automation has already done everything for us.
For multi-camera editing, all the same techniques are used as for editing from a single camera:
- Alternate wide, medium and close-ups. Do not glue two common or two large ones to each other.
- Show close-ups where necessary: where something is happening in the frame. For example, a person cuts an onion or tastes a ready-made dish. It makes no sense to show a large face if the person is just silent and looking at the cutting board.
- Use the size change where you need to cut out a piece of video — if the speaker stumbles or just nothing happens for a long time. This makes installation smoother.
- Try to make plans no longer than 10 seconds so that the viewer does not get bored.