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Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #28

Nudging – or How I Stopped Worrying and Started Editing Multi-Camera Shoots with FCP By Stephen Schleicher
I was recently asked to edit a multi-camera interview show. One the base level it doesn’t sound like that big of a deal until I found out that none of the cameras used the same time code, talent and host audio were recorded separately on each camera, and the third camera was using the built in camera mic. This of course could lead to all sorts of headache and hassle, but a few keyboard shortcuts and some meditation before editing solved my problem, and maybe yours too in this Final Cut Pro Quick Tip.

One of the big failings with the release of Final Cut Pro 4.0 was the lack of multi-camera views while editing a multi-camera production. In my case I was asked by a few of my students how they could easily edit a three camera shoot where the host audio was isolated on one camera and the guest audio on another. The third camera didn’t use any on talent mic, but instead used the on camera mic. So audio was all over the place and needed to be brought together into a single show.

The first thing I did was to open up all of the clips, switch over to the audio tracks, and look for the audio of the director counting down – 5...4…3…2… I then set an In point right after the final number on all of the clips.

Each clip was then placed on its own track in the Timeline. Even though the In points were set after the audible countdown, there is still the risk that the tracks could be slightly out of sync with one another causing visible lip-flap on the camera referencing room sound and a very audible echo between the audio tracks of the other two cameras.

To solve this problem, I played the Sequence and listened to the talent speaking, and then nudged the offending track left or right in the Timeline until everything lined up.

If you haven’t heard or used track nudging before then you are in luck with this Quick Tip. Nudging a track allows you to move it left or right in the Timeline one frame at a time until you get it in the proper location. You may want to nudge tracks to get precise alignment for an edit, a layered composition, or in my case, to make sure the audio is synced with the video.

To nudge a track, select the track that needs to be altered in the Timeline. Press and hold the Option key. You will notice that the cursor changes to the Move Tool with a little Plus Sign next to it.

When you see the added symbol, use the Left or Right arrows to move the track left or right in the Timeline.

By using the Nudge Tool, I was able to listen to the tracks playing and when the audio was lined up correctly, the delay disappeared, thus ensuring all of the tracks were in sync.

As far as editing the multi-camera program, there are different methods depending on how you like to work best. Some editors will suggest resizing each of the tracks in the Program Window so you can see all the clips at once, while others will suggest loading all of the clips sequentially in the Preview Window and then using the option to quickly jump between the clips. Because of the nature of this simple talk show, I knew the host shot would only be used on occasion (questions and reaction shots), while the guest clip would be used most often, followed by wide shot cutaways and close ups captured by the third camera. To quickly jump back and forth between the guest and third cameras, I selected the uppermost track in the Timeline (the guest camera) and toggled visibility on and off with the Command+B key.

To quickly make the edits, I used the Blade Tool to slice all three tracks in the Timeline at points I thought a cut should be made, then I went and deleted all offending clips, turned visibility for all tracks back on and played the sequence. If I needed to alter a cut, it was a simple matter of trimming the clip on the track in question.

While it may seem like the long way to do this type of editing, it is actually quite fast once you get the feel and pace of the program. With this method I was able to edit the complete show in about two hours (complete with color correction, graphics, and additional audio tweaks). With the understanding of how nudging works, you will be well prepared the next time you need to line up tracks in your Final Cut Pro Timeline.

Looking for past Final Cut Pro Quick Tips? Click Here.

When not working deep in the labs of the DMN Central Division testing the latest and greatest software/hardware products Stephen Schleicher can be found at the local university teaching a few courses on video and web production. He can be reached at
[email protected]. You can also visit him on the web at www.mindspring.com/~schleicher

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Stephen Schleicher has crossed the country several times over the last couple of years going from Kansas to Atlanta , Georgia, and Southern California. In his time traveling, he has worked as an editor, graphic designer, videographer, director, and producer on a variety of video productions ranging from small internal pieces, to large multimedia
corporate events.

Currently, Stephen shares his knowledge with students at Fort Hays State University who are studying media and web development in the Information Networking and Telecommunications department. When he is not shaping the minds of university students, Stephen continues to work on video and independent projects for State and local agencies and organizations as well as his own ongoing works.

He is also a regular contributor to Digital Producer, Creative Mac, Digital Webcast, Digital Animators, and the DV Format websites, part of the Digital Media Online network of communities (www.digitalmedianet.com), where he writes about the latest technologies, and gives tips and tricks on everything from Adobe After Effects, to Appleâ??s Final Cut Pro, LightWave 3D, to shooting and lighting video.

He has a Masters Degree in Communication from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. As a forward thinker, he wrote his Thesis on how Information Islands and e-commerce would play a major role in keeping smaller communities alive. This of course was when 28.8 dialup was king and people hadnâ??t even invented the word e-commerce.

And, he spends what little free time he has biking, reading, traveling around the country, and contemplating the future of digital video and its impact on our culture. You can reach him at [email protected]

Related Keywords:nudge tool, final cut pro, editing, timeline, schleicher

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  • Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #28 by DMN Editorial at Aug. 04, 2004 12:33 am gmt (Rec'd 2)

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