Dealing with Timecode Breaks in Multicams

Posted on by Larry

Here is an interesting puzzle, contributed by Gene Thomas:

I am editing a two camera shoot of a two hour opera. hence, two 2-hour reels. For some reason, while logging and capturing, camera 1’s segment, the WS, was broken into two pieces, of 1 hr something; and about 40 minutes.


I created a multiclip using the complete cam 2; and the long part of cam 1.


My editing has proceeded along fine. However, when I reached the point where there was a break in the logged clip (cam 1), I discovered that some of the material from cam 1 had been dropped out in the 2nd clip.


On the timeline I edited in cam 2 to fill that whole, and then attempted to continue with a 2nd multiclip (of cam 2 complete, and cam 1 partial). For some reason I can’t seem to get the whole process to work again. Is what I attempted possible?

In my email reply to Gene, I first explained that I didn’t know why his clip stopped capturing in the middle – obviously, there was a timecode break in the tape for some reason.

Multiclip assumes that all clips have continuous timecode and that all clips are continuous, that is, they all start and stop at about the same time.

What I suggested then was that he create is a Multiclip Sequence. This allows him to place multiple clips in the same sequence where each clip has a significantly different timecode from other clips. An analogy I like to use is multiple cameras along a parade route. Each camera starts and stops at a different time as the parade gets to that location.

This would allow you to build a single multiclip containing all three clips. The only requirement — and it is significant — is that the timecode would need to match between all the cameras. However, this can be resolved by manually changing the timecode in the second clip he captured from tape 1.

At that point, I steered him toward an article that illustrates how to change timecode:

Working with Auxilliary Timecode

Gene then wrote back:

I have one question: once you create the multiclip sequence, do you then simply put it into the timeline, just as you would a multiclip (e.g.: overwrite, etc.), and then proceed to edit it in the same manner? That’s not clear to me from your Final Cut Pro 5 book, which doesn’t focus on that.


Also, I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “manually changing the timecode.” do you mean aligning it within the mc sequence, or somehow changing it? I think this must be obvious, but not to me at the moment.


There’s no rush on this; I successfully finished cutting the show last night. but your advice will greatly enhance my understanding.

Larry replies: Gene, these are all good questions. And, in thinking about this further, I have a better idea. There’s an easier way to solve this problem than creating a multiclip sequence.

What you need to do is create two multiclips: Multiclip 1 contains the first shots from both cameras, while Multiclip 2 contains the first shot from camera 2 and the second shot from camera one.

Here’s one way to solve this problem.

Here’s an article that describes how to create a multiclip: Setting up a Multiclip

To determine where this second multiclip starts:

By using two different multiclip shots, you would be able to edit smoothly from the end of the first camera one shot to the second. Using multiclips with a common In, means that you don’t need to worry about setting or changing timecode.

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