FCP 7: Setting Up a Multicam Clip

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the August, 2005, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Multiclips are new with FCP 5 and provide the ability to see multiple camera angles at the same time. However, while they are easy to use, they can be tricky to set up. So, this technique explains the steps you need to follow to get everything working smoothly.

In this example, I have a ice-skating performance from four cameras that I want to cut into a single segment. The audio was recorded directly from the audio board onto one of the cameras. These clips are from my up-coming book (Hands-on Training for Final Cut Pro 5) and are courtesy of Greene HD Productions (http://www.greenehdtv.com).

1. Import your clips. Either capture or import the clips you want to include in your Multiclip.

2. Create a multiclip. Select the clips you want to group together. Then, control+click on one of them and select Make Multiclip. You can group up to 128 clips in a multiclip, and you can view up to 16 at once. However, the more clips you view, the faster your hard disk needs to be. If you want to play more than four or five clips, you’ll need a RAID.

3. Select how you want to sync the clips: In, Out, or Timecode. If you are using an In or Out, you’ll need to set the In or Out prior to creating the multiclip. A clapper slate, or camera flash or someone’s hands clapping all make good places to set an In, provided all cameras can clearly see it at the same time.

4. Drag the multiclip from the Browser into the Viewer.

You can select how many angles you want to see at one time by choosing from the top right pop-up menu. In this case, we want to look at four angles at once. The maximum is 16.

5. Set the In and Out of the multiclip. Care to guess how to set the In and Out? Right. The exact same way you’d set an In or Out on a normal clip. You don’t have to set an In or Out; but it’s nice to know you can. In this case, we will.

6. Edit the clip to the Timeline. If you try to drag the clip to the Timeline, or Canvas, it won’t drag. Instead, I’ve found it easiest to click the red envelope in the lower-left corner of the Canvas to edit the clip to the Timeline at the position of the playhead.

You can also Option-double-click to load the multicilp to the Timeline.

7. Sync the Timeline to the Viewer. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to double-click the multiclip from the Timeline to load it into the Viewer. Then, select Sync > Open from the center pop-up menu in the Viewer.

8. Set your starting track for audio in the Viewer. Go to the Sync pop-up menu and select Sync > Audio > All. Then, click the camera angle you wish to use for audio. Generally, I’ve found that I either want to switch audio and video together (which we are not doing in this example) or I want to lay down a single audio track and cut video against it. This is what we are doing here.

9. Set your starting angle for video in the Viewer. Now that we have the audio selected, we need to set our opening angle. Apple calls changing the opening angle, “switching,” and it calls changing the angle during playback, “cutting.” I disagree with the terms, but I can learn to live with it over time. In this case, go back to the center pop-up menu and select Sync > Video. Then, click on the shot you want to use to start the clip.

Notice the green and blue rectangles around the image? The green rectangle indicates which camera your audio is coming from. The blue rectangle indicates the current video angle.

10. Select the Timeline and move the playhead to the beginning of the clip. Here’s where I often have problems. Double-click the clip to make sure it’s still loaded into the Viewer, then make sure the Sync pop-up is set to Open.

11. Play the clip and click in the Viewer on the shots you want to edit to the Timeline. (You can also use the keys on the keypad or click mouse buttons. I’ve found clicking the Viewer to be the fastest and best.) As you select different camera angles, they are automatically edited to the Timeline.

Tom Wolsky sent in the following additional information:

Another way to set the audio, which I almost prefer as I don’t have to think about it, is to edit the audio only into the Timeline from the correct camera, and then edit the video only from the multiclip.


Clicking the clips to cut only seems to work during playback (i think was was changed in 5.0.2 as my recollection is it didn’t work in earlier versions). If you aren’t playing the director but choosing your edit spots and then cutting you have to use either the buttons or the keyboard shortcuts.

12. If you are unable to play the multiclip without dropping frames, go to the RT pop-up menu in the upper-left corner of the Timeline and set it to Unlimited RT, with BOTH Dynamic Frame Rate and Dynamic Video Quality checked. Multiclips are very taxing on slower systems. The new version of Unlimited RT, called Dynamic RT, makes it possible to play very complex effects on slower computers in real-time.

13. Stop at any time and trim individual clips on the Timeline as necessary. All the standard trimming tools, such as Roll or the Selection Arrow, work on multiclip edit points.

14. When you are completely finished editing the multiclip, choose Modify > Collapse Multiclip(s). This disconnects the clips in the Timeline, so that only one clip plays at a time. This significantly reduces the work your hard disk needs to do and speeds overall system performance. You can recreate your multiclip at any time by selecting the clips and choosing Modify > Uncollapse Multiclip(s).

And that’s it. I’ve found cutting multiclips to be great fun — especially when I remember what it was like directing multiple cameras from a remote truck.

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14 Responses to FCP 7: Setting Up a Multicam Clip

  1. Chris Mead says:

    Larry, Must have been karma. This old explanation popped up right after reviewing a FCP X article. I just did am multi clip where three of the cameras were time code sync’d but I had a forth that was not. I was under a tight deadline so I didn’t use the forth. Is there a way to sync a non-time code camera to several others that are done that way?



  2. Larry Jordan says:

    Yes, but not using multi-clip. You’ll need to use Pluraleyes. Do a Google search to track it down.


  3. will says:

    Hello Larry,

    I just filmed a concert with 6 cameras. They were sync’d to each other with a timecode. Because they ran continuously, the Sony camera created multiple vid-clips instead of one huge video.

    I imported each camera’s footage FCP 7 and labled each clip’s Angle for the camera it was on.

    Now when I try and created multiclip it lists each clip as its own camera, instead as a later part of the timecode for the same camera. It also lists each clip separately in the viewer instead of placing it in the same Angle in the viewer.

    Any advice on how to correct this?

  4. Andrew says:

    Hi Larry… I had a multi-clip/ marker question.

    I have making a multi-clip from only two clips. One with markers, the other without…

    The clip WITH the markers is set as angle 2 in the logging info.
    The clip WITHOUT the markers is angle 1.

    When the clips are arranged like this, the markers do NOT come over to the multi-clip.

    If I switch the angles so that the clip WITH markers is angle 1, then the markers DO get transferred to the multi-clip. (But because of the arrangement of the angles on the screen, it’s harder to edit.)

    Is there a way to get the markers to transfer over to the multi-clip when the markers are on the clip marked as angle 2.

    Sorry if this is a confusing mess!

    Thanks in advance!

  5. Brian says:

    Hi Larry, I have a little problem.
    At first everything eas working perfect, I cut it all, but then when I started to work with the multiclip allready trim the canvas window when I press play in the timeline it only shows me one view, I alredy put open in the sync option.
    It´s driving me crazy

  6. Brian says:

    sorry not in the canvas window, in the viewer

  7. David Barski says:

    Hi Larry.!!!
    after I finished my multicam editing…is there a way to have a final timeline with the individual clips (with the original names) that I choose in the multi cam process?
    in other words…a regular timeline, not with just one clip name…

  8. Larry, do you read these anymore or have you moved on to FCX?

    • Larry Jordan says:


      I read every comment on the site. If I don’t respond, its because I don’t have a specific answer to that question.


      • Okay, Great!

        I can see how that would eat up all your time.

        And I would hope that you could answer everything that people ask,
        as you are the guy to ask – and if you don’t know, who could know?

        This multi-clip thing is still perplexing to me, as in, if I stop doing the multi-clip,
        I have NOT IDEA how to get it back working, as I click here and click there.
        Almost clicking everywhere.


  9. Trig Simon says:

    Hi Larry. In FCP7, I drag my effects into a multiclip on the timeline; wait for a second and use “apply to source angle”, so the effect stays with that angle after cutting.

    What is the other option, “apply to multiclip” for? Is there a way to add the effect to all four angles at once?

    • Larry says:


      Its been a while since I used this. However, my understanding is that one option applies the effect to a single angle, while the other applies it to the containing multicam clip.


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