We often shoot with multiple cameras for interviews for our films. We have an A camera that gets nice close ups, a B camera that shoots a safety wide shot and sometimes a C camera that is either a behind-the-scenes camera or a funky angled camera. You may think that is a lot of logging; well, we’re here to share a few tricks that make logging this many cameras much easier.
You have to do a few things when you are on set to make this happen. Time code is critical! All of your cameras need to be running the same timecode. If you are a big fancy-pantsy production house you’ll most likely have some sort of time code generator like thisone. But if you aren’t, you can easily sync your cameras’ time codes with just an RCA cable. For us, since we only use Panasonic cameras, the process looks like this:
1.) Using your A camera, hit MENU>TC/UB SETUP Set TCG to FREE RUN, set TC PRESET to Hour 1. Next, select EXT TC LINK and set your camera to MASTER. Now your A camera is outputting a time code signal that your other cameras can read.
2.) Get your B camera and your RCA cable. Plug your RCA cable into the VIDEO IN/OUT in the A camera and the B camera. On your B camera hit MENU>TC/UB SETUP. Make sure your B camera is also in FREE RUN mode. Then go to EXT TC LINK and select SLAVE.
3.) The final step is to hit the RESET TC SET button on your B camera on the side of the camera (where the LCD screen folds out of)
4.) Now your two cameras have synced time code. Repeat steps 2-3 for any other cameras you might be using for your shoot.
NOTE: Internal clocks in cameras can be a bit finicky and a bit off from each other so if you have a long shoot repeat this process every few hours or so. Time code tends to drift the longer you run your cameras. The most drift we’ve experienced is having our cameras be 5 frames out of sync from each other, but if you are diligent in syncing your time code you’ll most likely be in the 1 frame range.
Now, your shoot is done and you’re ready to log.
If you are still working on tapes, the process is remarkably simple. Go through all the steps of logging your A camera.
NOTE: We use FCP 7 still with no plans to upgrade to X.
1.) With your A Camera tape in your deck and an A Camera Bin selected as your LOGGING BIN, FILE>LOG AND CAPTURE. Make sure your REEL name matches your TAPE name. Log all your takes and fill in all your Log Notes. Once they are logged, select them all, right click and select BATCH CAPTURE.
2.) Go get a coffee.
NOTE: We suggest in your file name for your A camera you have it designated as such. For example, 13_0120_INT_CAMA_001. This will make life much easier down the line.
You get back from your nice break. All your clips are logged.
3.) Select all your A camera takes, right click and select DUPLICATE AS NEW MASTER CLIPS. New Master Clips will generate with “Copy” at the end.
NOTE: The fact that it is a Master Clip is really important. You can’t just copy and paste new clips because the new clips won’t be Master Clips. The new clips HAVE to be Master Clips and not copy clips.
4.) Take these newly-generated Master Clips and move them to a new bin for your B Camera.
5.) Now, and trust me and be brave here, right click these new Master Clips and select MAKE OFFLINE. A window pops up – MAKE SURE TO “LEAVE THEM ON THE DISK” is selected and hit OK.
6.) Go to your REEL column in your bin view and change the REEL to your B camera reel name. Change the name of your Clip to your B camera naming scheme (make sure to remove “Copy” from the end of your clip name).
7.) Put your B camera tape in your deck.
8.) Select all your B camera takes.
9.) Right click batch capture.
10.) Go get coffee.
It is just that easy.
Now, what if you are one of the 99% who have moved on to using cameras that shoot on cards? Well, unfortunately the process gets a bit more annoying. We’ve tried to duplicate the above strategy in our Log and Transfer window but the new Master Clips just won’t let go of their original reel name, even after we’ve changed it in our REEL column, so here is what you have to do:
Repeat everything up to step 3 (I know, ouch, only step three) but this time you’ll be using the Log and Transfer window. Here’s what you do after you’ve logged your Camera A Card.
3B) Create a new B camera bin and set as your LOGGING BIN
4B) Load your Camera B card into your Log and Transfer window. Change your naming scheme in the Log and Transfer window to match your B Camera
5B) Pull up your bin with your A camera clips.
6B) Copy your log note, paste it into the Log and Transfer window log note area.
7B) Manually (I know, we hate this word) type in your in-point for your first clip.
8B) Manually (there it is again!) type in your out-point for your first clip.
9B) Select ADD TO QUEUE.
10B) Repeat for all clips.
NOTE: Make sure while you are doing this your transfer is paused. If it is not, then every time a clip finishes transferring your B camera bin will pop up and it will be confusing as all heck as to where you are in your A camera window.
Once you’re done, go get coffee, you’ll need it.
And there it is: logging multiple cameras in Final Cut Pro.