Music Video with Multicam Editing in Final Cut Pro X

Music Video with Multicam Editing in Final Cut Pro X

Last summer I was in Sundance and had an afternoon to shoot a music video for Ryan Holdaway, a local musician. Final Cut Pro X was just released and I thought it would be a good opportunity to see if I could cut this in FCPX.

Use Transform Tool for Split Screen

Use Transform Tool for Split Screen

At the time there was a lot of hubbub about the lack of multicam editing in Apple’s replacement for FCP7. The Pluraleyes solution released last month was not on the horizon yet, so with all the crying out there I thought I would see if I could make multi-cam in FCPX work.

We had only one afternoon to shoot, and strictly speaking this was not a multi-cam setup. If it were, it would have been a lot easier to do. I just shot the artist singing the tune from various angles highlighting the backdrop of Mount Timpanogos and the beautiful scenery. We had some problems with sync as the iPod radio booster didn’t have enough volume for Ryan to hear very well. We set it close to the camera so that I would have the sound to use in post. For the most part I was able to use the sync capability built into FCPX.

Basically it was a pretty simple setup. I found a take that would serve as the main storyline. The used the M key to mark the beats so I could cut to the beats of the music. I just added all the takes and laid them on top of each other. I used the blade tool to cut it up in time with the markers. This is how it looked before I added much b-roll. You can see the markers, the cuts and some of the videos greyed out. (Click on images for more detail.)

Music Video with Muti-cam Editing in Final Cut Pro X

Then added b-roll and deleted the sections I wasn’t interested in in order to make it a little cleaner. I used the Transform tool and cropped clips and resized them to make the split screen effects and grouped them as compound clips. I then selected the compound clips and overwrote them to the primary storyline. That seemed to help me get my head around things, but it was not necessary by any means.  Here is a shot midway through the process:

Music Video with Muti-cam Editing in Final Cut Pro X

I decided to bring all the compound clips down to the main storyline to keep things organized. Since that time I keep compound clips above the main storyline. With FCPX there are several ways of accomplishing the same thing. My final project looked like this:

Music Video with Muti-cam Editing in Final Cut Pro X

To share on YouTube since this time I have experimented with every conceivable sharing method. I have sent the job to Compressor then used default YouTube setting in Compressor to export, as well as custom settings of my own. I have Exported from FCPX using various settings, as well as Export from FCPX using Compressor settings. After Exporting from FCPX or Compressor I would separately upload the video to YouTube. What I found that works the best is what I tried last, Sharing directly from the Share menu in FCPX, Share–>YouTube… If you use this make sure you use the Best Quality (multi-pass) option.

This was a relatively simple shoot. If I had time I would have had a couple of dozen takes layered on top of each other instead of 9 or 10. Not sure how a multi-cam solution would really be any better. I got pretty good at hitting the B key and cutting then deleting stuff I didn’t want to use. Before I deleted the unused stuff I used the V key to disable (make invisible) unused media just so I knew what went where because once you start deleting portions of clips FCPX drops the visible media down to the lowest possible level to tidy things up.

If you haven’t already you might want to read my post about mult-cam editing with Pluraleyes in Final Cut Pro X. It wasn’t available at the time of this production, but as you can see Final Cut Pro X can handle multi-cam pretty well without it. Here is the finished product:

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  1. Christopher Swainhart
    April 30, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    Please note that this technique was used before the multi-cam feature of FCPX was released.

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