Wednesday 8 July 2015

Multicam Editing in PowerDirector - A Short Intro

“Multicam” is short for “multiple camera” and is used to describe shots in which several cameras are set up to record a scene, arranged at different angles and (sometimes) heights. Multicam editing is the combining of the recorded footage from this kind of setup. This combination of clips is called a "multiclip."

This diagram shows example of a multicam setup recording a seated guitar player. 
Or maybe it’s a guy eating a huge chicken leg – graphic design is not my strong suit.

DON’T LEAVE! The highly crafted image above is just an example of a professional setup. You don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to create your own multiclip. Today, almost everyone has a mobile device – either a cellphone or a tablet computer, and you can set up this kind of shot easily with a couple of friends. Sometimes you won’t even need to set up the shot – when an amazing event happens and you were there to record it, ask around afterwards to find out what footage other people were able to get. Often you can put together a great multiclip just from yours and other people's mobile device recordings.

In most cases, video editing software uses the sound from each clip as the reference to synchronize the clip timing. When shooting an event that does not have a clear sound reference recordable by all cameras, you may need to create an audio sync point. This can be done with a clapboard, or even by having someone clap their hands at the beginning of the recording. PowerDirector supports two ways to edit the resulting multicam footage.

Sync Method 1: Just drag all of your clips to the timeline. You can either put them all on one track, or on separate tracks (they will end up on multiple tracks anyway). Select them all, and click “Sync by Audio.” PowerDirector will automatically arrange them according to the sounds detected in each clip. 

Video has been automatically synchronized
according to the audio content of each source. 
Once your clips are synchronized on the timeline, you can move & resize them, set transparencies, and insert transitions to achieve the production effect you want. For example, you can click “keyframes,” and position the four clips to create a multicam collage like this:
If you have more than four clips, lay them out in a 3 x 3 or 4 x 4 grid 
(reusing the best shots) to create a cool video wall effect. 
Sync Method 2: If you have four or less clips, you can use PowerDirector’s Multicam designer. The Multicam Designer lets you easily switch between camera shots, creating a single multicam track on the timeline. Click on the Plug-in button and then select MultiCam Designer, then click on Import Video. Import your multicam clips from the Media Room. Set the synchronization type to Audio Analysis, and click “Apply” to start the analysis. The tracks will be synced according to their audio content. If the audio quality of some of the clips is not good enough to allow for automatic sync by audio (likely to happen if you have imported smartphone footage shot outdoors) , you still have many other options for synchronization: manually, by time codes, and by inserting markers onto the clips.

The Multicam Designer will sync the source clips, and provide an easy way
to combine them in real-time to create a single track on the timeline.
Now capture the segments you want from each of the four videos, and you can do it with real-time mixing. Click the record button, and then select the camera sources you want to use in the order you want them on your final track. You can also use the keyboard keys 1 to 4 to select the camera source. Try it a couple of times to get the feel of it. You will see how you can tightly control the editing while all four sources are playing simultaneously. Click the pause button to pause recording at any time. Click the stop button when your recording is done, and then click OK to go back to the main edit window. 

The Multicam Designer has created one video and track on the timeline, 
with all four sources inserted in the desired order.
Back on the timeline, you can still use the usual tools to work on the newly created track, like transitions, effects, or titles.

That’s how easy it is! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below. If you do not own PowerDirector, you can download the trial version here. You can also check out the CyberLink forums, which are frequented by helpful and knowledgeable PowerDirector power users. 


  1. The audio synchronization is incredibly slow. Are there any ways to speed it up? Do I need more RAM?

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