Multicam editing in Forscene

I am a fan of other editors who are truly heroes to me. My fanaticism is based on those we all know and love: Thelma Schoonmaker, Joel Cox, Ronald Sanders, the list goes on. I also admire an editor whose career spanned the 1970’s to the mid 2000’s: the late Marco Zappia. His focus was television and I admired his work, specifically his editing on Norman Lear projects including All in the FamilyMaude and The Jeffersons. These were ground-breaking multi-camera situation comedies, and also the first to be shot in front of a live studio audience and edited on videotape. Prior to that it was all film with editors such as Dan Cahn utilizing mechanical beasts like 3 and 4 head moviolas to synchronize isolated film camera roll work prints.

Multicam NLE: a history

We have come so far in multi-camera productions and technology especially in post-production. The fact that multi-camera was capable so many years ago, beginning with the Edit-Droid and other pioneers such as Avid and Lightworks was simply incredible. Especially when you consider all the limiting factors in computer and disk-bandwidth technology. These developers were geniuses and to top that they could make it work with an easy to understand and a productive user experience.

The cloud multicam really works!

Forscene has adopted these familiar editing environments into an easy to use cloud editor. Multicam is certainly a challenge on a local computer and multicam in the cloud is even more challenging, but Forscene rises to the occasion. This is achieved by flipping multi-camera stream and sync methods by breaking some of the pre-set rules. This frees up many of the constraints including the camera count and the fact that multi-camera actually plays smoothly in the cloud! Forscene’s brilliantly efficient cloud editing codec is part of that secret sauce.

Sync with the on and off relationship

Establishing a sync relationship between cameras via timecode or mark positions up front is one thing, but many applications lock you into these camera sync-relationships. Forscene is very different; you are never officially locked in. With the ability to open and close the sync window and an ability to re-sync the cameras at a moments notice. You can easily overcome mismatches in timecode as well as software previsions to work with cameras that are shut on and off multiple times during the shoot. You know that moment when the camera team promised you no camera sync issues? Yeah, right!

Cameras everywhere – log to edit

For the last 5 years you would be hard pressed to find a production that does not use multicam; there are cameras everywhere and they are super cheap. As you know Forscene started its multicam adventure just in logging. With the brilliance of the Forscene logging toolsets, you can apply these tools to logging and isolate, onemultiple or all cameras. Multicam in Forscene has further been developed and improved for a major UK-based talent show that has cameras everywhere – and they required 17! Forscene made it an even 18 for a better-looking split. Recently, the Forscene multicam interface has moved in to the edit side, with the ability to do a live switch to create edits on the fly, emulating the role of a live switcher (or a vision mixer if you’re in the UK). The end result is not edit-to-nowhere: Forscene can take all this edit and sync information and pass it along through .aaf to create a multi-camera group for finishing or modification in traditional NLE’s. It’s truly efficient and absolutely available anywhere without significant bandwidth requirements or infrastructure.

The future of a multicam growing file

Growing in popularity (no pun intended) Forscene’s ability to ingest live continuous growing streams from various infrastructures like HSL and Microsoft Azure™ opens up significant new workflows for event based editorial such as sports and entertainment award programming. Forscene will demonstrate this new multicam live edit model at IBC 2015. This changes the landscape once again. History has repeated itself but now it’s available in the cloud at a web browser near you. It’s a pinch yourself moment working in this method and incredible to see just how far the industry has come.

 

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Jeff Krebs

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