FROM THE ARCHIVES: Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #47

(originally published May 23, 2005)
Real-time Multiclip Editing in Final Cut Pro 5

One of the best new features in Final Cut Pro 5 is multicam editing. This handy feature allows those do multiple camera productions to gang the clips together to make editing a breeze. In this Final Cut Pro Quick Tip, we?ll quickly look at how it works.

Final Cut Pro 5 allows you to create a multiclip that can group up to 128 camera angles together and switch between them in real time. When working in this mode in FCP5, the first thing you need to do is create a multiclip.

This is relatively easy to do by highlighting the clips in the Browser window, then right clicking and selecting Make Multiclip or Make Multiclip Sequence.


After making the selection a new window pops that allows you to determine sync points for the video clips. In this example, I am simply creating a multiclip.


If each of the cameras used to capture the video were slaved to a common Timecode, or if each camera was set to the same Timecode, you can select Use Starting Timecode from the drop down menu.

However, as is sometimes the case, not all of your clips will have the same Timecode. If you are stuck in a situation where you have to sync everything via a slate clap, Final Cut Pro 5 allows you to set In and Out points on your clip and use that as the sync point. I found this to be most useful on a recent project where the camera operators did not set or sync their Timecode, but the production assistant was smart enough to capture a slate clap.

The blue bars in the middle of the window show the relative alignment of the clips. This is a good way to see the relative alignment of the clips to each other. If a bar is shorter than the rest, it can be used to indicate where footage will run out during the edit.

When you click OK, your Browser Window displays a new clip.


With the multiclip created, it is now time to edit it in the Timeline. Drag the clip from the Browser window to the Viewer, where you can select how many clips you want to view simultaneously from the View pop up menu.


You will notice that you can see all of the clips in the Viewer and one of those clips will have a green and blue box around it. The green box represents the angle the audio is coming from, while the blue box represents the video angle.

In this example, I am going to use one camera – or angle as it is known in FCP5 – as the primary audio source for this clip. From the Playhead Sync drop down menu, select Video instead of Video+Audio.


Now if you click on another camera angle, you will see the green (audio) box remains on Angle 1, while the blue (video) box moves to the new camera angle.


Option+Click in the Viewer window and drag the clip to the Canvas window or the Timeline. You will end up with only one clip in the Timeline, but that is okay, because it is the magical multiclip.


There are a number of ways to edit a multiclip sequence in Final Cut Pro 5, but the way you will use it the most, especially with the Director or client sitting next to you, is in real-time.

First, make sure your sequence is set to Unlimited Real-time, and Dynamic Playback Quality.


If Timeline is active and you press the Spacebar to begin playback, you will notice that the multiclip in the Viewer window are not moving. How can you edit a multiclip sequence, if you can?t see the shots?

From the Playhead Sync dropdown menu (in either the Canvas or Viewer window), select Open from the Sync modes.


Now if you drag your Playhead in the Timeline, you will notice both Canvas and Viewer window playing.

In order to edit, make sure the Playhead is at the beginning of the Timeline, press play, and when you want to switch cameras, click on the appropriate angle in the Viewer window.

Don?t worry about making these edits frame accurate, you can go back and fix them at the end. When you are finished with the rough edit, you will notice your once single clip in the Timeline has been edited.


Don?t worry about making these edits frame accurate, you can go back and fix them at the end. When you are finished with the rough edit, you will notice your once single clip in the Timeline has been edited.


You can now use Final Cut Pro 5?s edit tools to go in and refine your edit.

What if you need to replace on angle with another?

Simply Right+Click the clip and select the new angle from the pop up window.

If a clip is too long and you want to add a new angle, split the edit with the Blade Tool, then Right+Click and select the new clip.

As with everything in Final Cut Pro, there is more than one way to skin a cat, or in this case, edit a sequence. Explore the various keyboard shortcuts, Button Bars, and other timesavers to make your Real-time multiclip edit session a breeze.

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher is one of those guys that has always loved comics but never got into them until really late in life - like high school in the 80s. He just missed the Crisis on Infinite Earths, but has been around for every major crossover since. Stephen knows his way around video and film production having been a director, producer, editor, and motion graphics artist for projects ranging from small promotional pieces for Wachovia all the way up to regional videos for the Division of Emergency Management. As a prolific writer, Stephen began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen also freelances for the Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog. When not writing, Stephen shares his knowledge as a tenured faculty member at Fort Hays State University. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. Favorite Writers: Mark Waid, Geoff Johns, Paul Dini, Adam Beechen, Bill Willingham, Matthew Sturges Favorite Artists: Dan Jurgens, Alex Ross, Adam Hughes, Freddie Williams III

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