FCP's Multicam

This past summer I finally had my first opportunity to give Final Cut Pro's multicam feature an extensive workout - cutting (4) one-hour shows for TV One. From initial rough cut through Media Management and final delivery, I was eating and sleeping with this new feature and the overall experience was pleasing.

Before I dig into some of the nooks and crannies, I want to mention Ripple Training's Essentials of Multicam Editing and Advanced Multicam Workflow downloadable Quicktime tutorials. You can buy both for $30. If I didn't think they were worth the money, I wouldn't be linking to them. If you're like me and you had 45 minutes before the client walked in the door to become conversant with Multicam on FCP, these two tutorials will make that happen... and you'll have 10 minutes to spare.

The multicam feature has the bells and whistles a professional editor would expect: On-the-fly camera switching; video and audio independently switched (or simultaneously); 1-up, 4-up, 9-up, 16-up split screens; cameras can be repositioned in the source window; cameras grouped by timecode or in-point; and more.

I had two issues with the feature:
  • make_multi_tc
    When grouping cameras together there's no way to arrange the cameras so they'd appear together how I wanted. Since there were tape changes during the course of this shoot, I had to go to the 9-up display and scroll through the multiclip, option-dragging windows and rearranging the order of the clips. It was annoying, more than anything else.

  • Menu Item : Keyboard Layout
    After laying down my initial edit of the sequence, selecting my cameras and trimming the content, I'd start working in a hybrid mode; sometimes I'd be working in multicam selecting cameras, other times I'm doing traditional editorial (slipping, sliding, tweaking). Not a problem except to work efficiently in multicam you need to pull up the multicam keyboard - where common editorial operations are replaced by common multicam operations. Then I'd have to switch back to my custom keyboard for normal editing. I found myself constantly stumbling between the two layouts, never quite sure which one I was in. Again, it's more annoying than anything... takes me out of my rhythm.

Overall I was quite pleased with this feature. It worked as advertised and now with FCP version 5.1, Final Cut is extremely stable. Good show, Team FCP.

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