I’m preparing for an interview I’ll be shooting next week. I have two cameras and a microphone to shoot two people talking, one asking the questions, the other who answers them. The main camera is recording in 4K and covers the whole scene. This is my first video track. It’s also got the audio. A copy of that recording is zoomed in (with a filter) to focus on the second person. Cropping should be okay as the resulting video format will be 1080 HD. The second camera records HD from the side to see the first person more from the front. I’ll switch to that perspective from time to time when a question is asked.
So I have three video tracks now from a test recording. They’re synchronised and ready to cut.
I’m looking for a process to easily switch between these three video tracks at arbitrary points in time. From watching a few YouTube videos about this kind of editing (with other software), I guess I could just cut all tracks at each point where I want to make a switch, and then either delete what I don’t want to show, or move the sections to another track more on the top. This cut however is a final decision. If I later decide that switching cameras a little bit earlier or later would be good, I can’t easily move that switch to another point in time. I’ll still have lots of tiny cutting fragments that need to be handled.
What process are you suggesting me to handle these requirements? Is there a track switcher I can apply to it all, where I can shift around the switching times, or can I use filters or something?
It would also be helpful to know if I can rejoin two sections after cutting them in two. I haven’t managed to do so. I cannot select two such sections, and the menu command “Join with next clip” (translated) at the end of a clip only deletes the next clip instead and nothing is joined. Pretty unexpected behaviour.
(Shotcut 19.02.28 on Windows 10)
For Shotcut interviews, I normally use the cut method you described. And yes, there are tiny fragments all over the place. However, that has worked out well for me. If I want a fragment to start a little earlier or end a little later, I have been able to drag the left or right clip handles to extend a fragment either direction to the point I need. I place the timeline’s playhead where I want the new cut to be, and the clip edge will snap to it when I drag it. Precise. (Requires snapping, the magnet icon, to be turned on.)
I normally delete a clip on an upper track to “switch” to the camera on the lower track. If I later decided I wanted to use the video from the upper track, I would super-extend the fragment before the deletion to re-create video in the gap (to maintain sync with all the other tracks), then re-cut what I need.
I suppose another option exists, although I’ve never tried it on a large project. When doing a split on an upper track for the switch to the lower track, do not delete the video on the upper track. Instead, apply an Opacity filter to make it transparent, then add a 1-second fade-in and fade-out to cause the black handles to appear over the clip. The fade handles are a visual cue that this clip is transparent. The filters can then be copied and pasted to other clips to make mass-application faster. That way, if you want to re-switch later, synced video is already on the timeline and simply needs to be made un-transparent. I wouldn’t worry about neighboring clips being joined or not. I prefer to leave the splits should I want to edit more later.
If you had a two-camera two-video interview, you could even put the Opacity filter on V2 and use a giant long keyframe to turn opacity on and off wherever you wanted a scene cut. You could change the cut point by changing the keyframe position, and then there would be no clip fragments on your timeline at all. The downside, of course, is that there are no clip fragments on your timeline, so you can’t visually tell which video is going to the output. Personally, I wouldn’t use this method because keyframes do things I can’t explain whenever I split or trim the clip later, plus you lose the flexibility to easily add a third camera track or inset graphics.
So, there are a few options out there. Overall, I prefer the clip-fragments-everywhere method in lieu of true multi-cam editing tools. Stretch-and-cut has worked well for me if I want to change cut points.
Oh, cool, thanks, I didn’t know I can extend the cut fragments again later. That’s handy, so I don’t have to worry about losing something when I cut and delete. That works really well.
If the left/right edges don’t stretch as expected, toggle the Ripple icon until it does what you need. Also, something that might make your workflow faster is having only two tracks, one for each camera. Then you can copy/paste the filters that do your 4K crop on just the fragments that need it. That might be less work overall than deleting fragments from both V2 and V3 every time you want to see the lowest track. I guess it’s a trade-off of editing speed (two tracks) vs. readability (three tracks shows you what’s really hitting the output with just a glance of the timeline). You can decide what’s more important to you.
Have you done a test to make sure your 4K will intercut with your 1080 and that it will all play back smoothly?
If need be you could downsample your 4K to 1080. Then you’ll be cutting between 1080 and 1080.
I’ve done some testing yesterday and the result looks good. I’m impressed with the picture sharpness of the Sony a6300 in both the full frame and a crop (somewhere around 170% scaling) of the 4K recording. If only I had focused correctly the first time… I’ll practice the focussing some more today. Also switching to the other camera is seamless. I could synchronise both via their audio waveform display, but clapping once would probably make an easier synchronisation point.
Playback in Shotcut is far from smooth and the sound stutters for a second on every start but I wouldn’t necessarily expect that. The exported HD video is fine though.
Sometimes the old-tech solution is best.
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