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Tutorial: Multicam Editing in Apple FCP X, Part 1

Our Final Cut Pro X tutorial series continues with the first installment of a 3-part series on multicam editing in FCP X, addressing the basics like creating a multicam clip and cutting and switching audio and video using the Angle Editor.

Choosing Custom Settings

Now you can go into Use Custom Settings (Figure 4, below) and make some changes if need be. I usually don’t do so, but I’ll go over it briefly anyway. The first two--Angle Assembly and Angle Clip Ordering--relate to angles that include multiple files. So if your camera started and stopped multiple times during the shoot, choose Angle Assembly, and it will keep each angle clean. It will keep all of Camera 01’s shots in Camera 1 Angle and all of Camera 02 in Camera 2 Angle; it won’t mix them up. Right now we’ve added metadata to each of our cameras.


Figure 4. The Use Custom Settings dialog.

Keep in mind that Final Cut Pro has no way of knowing this is Camera 1 and this is Camera 2. We went into the Inspector and added this information. Because we did that, we can actually select Camera Name from the Angle Assembly pull-down, and once I click that, it’s using Camera Name Angle Assembly to keep them all sorted. Now, in this instance,it’s not really applicable, because I don’t have multiple starts and stops. We’re just using a really basic short project as an example.

Angle Clip Ordering concerns how the shots on the angle are ordered. To ensure that, say, the third shot on Camera 2 won’t be sequenced ahead of the first shot, it controls the order in which the shots play out. To make sure the shots play in the right order, choose to have FCP X maintain shot sequence by Timecode, Content Created, or Automatic (Figure 5, below). I usually use Automatic.


Figure 5. Angle Clip Ordering options

Angle Synchronization refers to the method in which FCP X will synchronize the footage. Again, I like to use Audio Synchronization, but there are other options. If you click this the drop-down, you have Content Created, Start of First Clip, Timecode, First Marker on the Angle, and Automatic. Some people like to control all of their cameras and set them all to the same exact internal clock. If that’s done 100% precisely, you can probably use Content Created to synchronize your footage.

The next option is Start of First Clip. I don’t really see a good use for this. Basically, what this means is that it’s going to use the very first frame of every shot, of every angle, and use that as the sync point. Most people don’t hit Record on all their cameras at the same exact moment, so that’s usually not an option. The last one is First Marker on the Angle, which is actually how Final Cut Pro 7 needed you to sync. Basically, if there was a clapper plate or a camera flash, you would actually go into each angle (each clip) and create a marker on that on the same exact camera flash or same exact point in which the clapper plate came down, so it used that marker to synchronize your clips. Again, I like to use Use Audio for Synchronization.

When you’re done setting these parameters, click OK, and FCP X will create the multicamera clip. Figure 6 (below) shows our new multicamera clip. You can tell it’s a multicamera clip because in the upper-left corner you can see the four-squares-together icon, which actually looks similar to the Angle Viewer, which I’ll show you in a moment.


Figure 6. The Multicam clip with the four-square identifying icon

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