[Updated 1/21/20 with additional comments from Adobe.]
BIG NOTE: Last week, I wrote about problems editing multicam clips in Premiere. What I learned from Adobe after the article was published is that the problems were caused by an incorrectly set preference. I’ve pulled the earlier article and have updated the process here.
Norlaine brought this to my attention.
She is editing a three-camera multicam sequence where two cameras are 1920 x 1080 and the third is 3840 x 2160. All are shooting 29.97 fps. How can she create a multicam clip with video of different frame sizes, yet edit them into a 1080 timeline?
I did a video that showed how to work with different frame sizes in a multicam clip here.
When I recorded the video, everything worked great. However last week, when I went back to test this, it didn’t. What went wrong? The answer is a preference setting. Let me explain.
A multicam edit is where you are playing and editing multiple clips at the same time. (Think of switching a live show.) If all your clips have the same frame size, frame rate and codec, multicam editing works great. I’ve used it a lot and enjoy the process.
The challenge is when you are building and editing multicam clips with different frame sizes. (I should stress, though, that it is really helpful to have all clips use the same codec and frame rate. It often makes sense to transcode them into the same codec and frame rate – though not necessarily the same frame size – if your editing gets too sluggish.)
CHANGE YOUR PREFERENCES
Here’s the first key step. Go to Preferences > Media and change Default Media Scaling to None.
For normal editing, I recommend setting this to Set to Frame Size. However, this totally screws up a multicam edit. So, for multicam editing, set this to None. (Preferences can be changed at any time, and are retained between projects.)
BUILD THE MULTICAM CLIP
Here are my three clips: two are 1080 and one is 4096 x 2304. (The differences in frame rate won’t matter for this example, because I’m not actually editing for this tutorial.)
Here’s the second KEY TIP: Go to the Project panel and select the clip with the largest frame size FIRST! Then select the rest of your clips. Next, choose Clip > Create Multicam Source Sequence.
What this does is create a multicam sequence that exactly matches the settings of first clip, then places all the other clips, centered in the frame, at their native frame size. This is exactly what you want to happen.
NOTE: You can also put all your multicam clips in a folder, select the folder, then choose Clip > Create Multicam Source Sequence. Premiere selects clips in alpha-numeric order to build in the list and all is good. (Remember, you can rename clips in Premiere.)
This dialog allows you to specify the parameters of the multicam clip. Always build the multicam clip to match the frame size of the largest clip inside it. This prevents any image cropping.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When working with clips of different frame sizes, set Sequence Preset to Automatic. This matches the multicam settings to the first selected clip.
If you are working with multichannel audio recorded to each camera, most of the time, change the Audio Channels Preset to Mono. By changing this setting, you can see and hear all audio tracks in each clip. Up to 32 audio channels can be stored in each audio track.
Leaving the setting to Auto will set the mapping to mono if the first clip is multi-mono. If the first clip is stereo, then you will get stereo mapping (which is sub-optimal for multi-mono sources) but you will still see and hear all source audio tracks (just not mapped the way you would want).
Once the clip is built, here’s what the clips look like in the Source monitor. (Double-click the multicam clip in the Project panel or timeline to display it in the Source monitor.) As expected, the 4K clip fills the frame, while the two 1080 clips do not. (As a note, I’m using screen shots from two different multicam clips. Sorry for the confusion.)
EDIT THE CLIP
Create a new sequence at the size you need; don’t create it by selecting New Sequence from Clip, that simply matches the size of the multicam clip. In this example, I’m creating a 1920 x 1080 ProRes 422 clip. The choice of codec and frame size is up to you. The important point is that the sequence need not be the same size as the multicam clip.
NOTE: Remember that scaling clips larger than 100% will make them soft and blurry.
When you edit the multicam clip into the timeline, you’ll see this warning. Click Keep Sequence Settings, otherwise the sequence will scale to match the size of the multicam clip.
Put the playhead in the multicam clip in the timeline. Click the Wrench icon in the lower right corner of the Program monitor and choose Multi-Camera. Notice, now, that the 1080 clips fill the frame, while the 4K clip is zoomed in. Don’t worry about this, yet.
Edit the multicam clip as usual.
NOTE: Here’s an article that describes multicam editing in more detail.
After editing is complete, look at each edit.
While the 1080 clips fill the frame, the 4K clip is zoomed in. To fix this, right-click the 4K clip in the timeline that you want to scale in and choose Set to Frame Size. (“Set,” not “Scale.”)
NOTE: This scales the multicam clip container, not the clips inside. This means that you need to perform this adjustment for each edit, not the master clips inside the multicam clip.
This scales the clip to perfectly fit your sequence, and shows the amount of scaling in the Effect Controls panel, allowing you to adjust the scaling as necessary.
The key is to change the scaling preference setting before you create the multicam clip, then create a sequence that matches the format you need to deliver.
At which point, multicam editing works perfectly.
Final Cut Pro X 10.4
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