Multicam editing in Premiere Pro CS6 and its many quirks

So we (World Campus Learning Design Multimedia Specialists: Brian Strauss, Pete Warren, and myself) went on a very interesting video shoot recently. This was for a psychology class modeling some simulated psychotherapy sessions; we were able to get students from the Penn State theater department to do an excellent job as patients and therapists. This was a 3 camera shoot with primary audio from wireless lavalieres and a secondary room microphone as a backup.

I made many, MANY discoveries during the editing process that others may find helpful.

Here’s an overview of what our process ended up being.

  • Import all the clips into Premiere and organize them into whatever folder/bin structure works for you. This is important, because we will be creating a couple of intermediary sequences in order to get the job done.
  • Go through each clip and mark the in points (we used a clapper – not timecode).
  • Create a sequence from each scene/clip (some scenes may have more than one clip since our camera chunks them into 2GB files, so one scene may have two or more clips). This will also give us the ability later to set effects on the entire clip without going through the hassle of selecting multiple segments in the sequence when they have been edited/cut.
  • Create a multicam source from the sequences (not the clips!).
  • (optional)You can right click the multicam source and click on edit sequence in audition, which will bring up all the audio tracks in Audition in multitrack mode – AWESOME! You can then create a mixed down audio file that can be put into the audio track of the CamChanges sequence.
  • Create a sequence from the multicam source. We will call this sequence “CamChanges.”  This is where you will do the camera changes – Record multi-camera edits.
  • Finally, create a sequence from the “CamChanges” sequence. We will call this sequence “TimeEdits.”  This is where you can make the “time” edits/cuts.

Why did we have to do all that? Well, it turns out that if we just drop the multicam source into a sequence and start making time edits and camera changes, Premiere gets very confused. The audio/video kept going off sync. If you do things in a very specific order (make the camera edits first, then make the cuts), then it seems to work fine. However, as soon as you need to make any further changes to the camera chosen, it seems to go off sync again.

One big downside to this workflow is that you don’t see the camera changes and time edits on the same sequence. It’s abstracted.

An alternative way to do this would be to set up the sequences in a more logical manner – no intermediary CamChanges sequence, and use the razor blade and choose which camera each segment uses manually (instead of using the live multicam record tool). This is more intuitive, so you’re not dealing with two sequences to make separate camera change and time edits.

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