Recently we began post production on a quick turnaround project that was shot using 2 Canon 5D MkII cameras. As most people know, the pinhole microphone on those cameras is not so great, so sound was recorded with a traditional sound person recording 6 channel audio to a recorder. I’m not sure which device was used, but it’s likely to be similar to the popular Zoom H4N.
I began transcoding and importing all of the footage using the great free plugin from Canon, using log and transfer to convert to ProRes HQ for the editor. I also dragged in the good audio from the recorder, which was 6 channel 48khz 24 bit audio. This is the standard easy stuff.
Here is the challenge:
How do I make these 3 assets into 1 in Final Cut Pro?
What I found out in this process is you can’t simply mark an ‘in’ point on all 3 and select them, right click – make multiclip. This doesn’t work, because all of the clips are not the same. One of them is 6 channel audio and the others are 2 channel with a video track. What you get is a weird multiclip that has 8 channels, but 3-8 are all dead signals. There MUST be a better way to do this properly.
Here is the solution:
Because Final Cut Pro only will multiclip clips that are identical in pretty much every way, we must first make those two clips from the Canon 5D mkII’s identical. Here is how we do that -
- Mark a synced ‘in’ point on all 3 assets
- Select a video clip and the good audio clip by command clicking them in the FCP browser
- Click ‘modify’ – ‘merge clips‘ (this creates a new clip using 1 video clip and marries the good audio to it)
- Repeat for the other video clip too, so you should now have 2 ‘merged’ clips with good audio and video
- Finally select the 2 newly created ‘merged’ clips, right click and ‘make multiclip‘.
Edit away! You should now have a multiclip with 2 video tracks and 8 audio tracks all in 1 clip. The only downside besides time with this method is accuracy. In Final Cut Pro you can only be as accurate as your frame rate. Your sync will likely be off by a partial frame, unless timecode was jammed to all devices. I have never been privileged to cut something with jam synced timecode. Regardless, for most cases this will work for most people.
Perhaps the promised FCPX support for multi-cam will make this process easier, but for now this gets the job done!