Multiclip Editing in Final Cut Pro

This is a variation on the basics of multiclip setup and editing in FCP. Normally, it’s just a simple matter of selecting two or more video clips, syncing them using T/C, audio or video hits common to all the tracks, then creating a multiclip. The trouble with this is that during the editing process every time you change video angles the audio source will change as well because the “audio follows the video”. You can choose to change only the video angle and leave the audio unchanged to a track previously selected but this still leaves only one track of audio in your completed multiclip edit. This is not good if you want to have the audio mixed from all your different cameras that you used at your original shoot. This is a huge advantage for wedding and dance recital videographers who need all the audio for the final mix. Here’s how to do it:

In the FCP sequence I drag the media from all the cameras into their own dedicated video and audio tracks and sync them all using a common audio hit or a camera flash, whatever you have available. Each time one of the cameras changes a tape it’s another sync job with the other two cameras in the FCP timeline. Once everything is synced then go back to the beginning of the sequence and match frame each camera one at a time. Each time you do a match frame the master clip for that particular camera comes up in the viewer. Mark your in point in the viewer and do this for all the cameras. Once you have all the in points Cmd-select those master clips in the browser to highlight them all. Then go to the Modify menu and choose: make multiclip.

All this time while you’re doing the match frame for the cameras the playhead shouldn’t have moved at all in the timeline. Create a new track for video and 2 new audio tracks and drag the new multiclip from the browser (change the track destination first) into the canvas and choose Overwrite. Now you have a perfectly synched multiclip on top of the other camera tracks. Mute the multiclip audio and in multiclip preferences set it up so that each time you change angles the audio changes angles as well.

The other advantage of doing it this way is that you also have the audio tracks from all your cameras available. Edit your multiclip until you get to the next camera break (tape change) and then repeat the match frame workflow and create the next multiclip. And so on until your edit is complete.

Happy multiclipping!


Written by:

Don Greening is the owner and both senior editor and videographer for Reeltime Videoworks. His arts background as a classical musician and composer gives him an uncompromising eye and ear for detail that is very important in video production. Don also hones his technical skills by updating them through courses at Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design.