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Two camera edit for Pinnacle Studio
Storing Hard Drives Temperature vs. Processing Speed Two camera edit for Pinnacle Studio


How to perform a multi-camera (two camera) edit in Pinnacle Studio 12

by Fred Ginsburg,

Even though we normally build editing systems to utilize Avid Liquid or Avid Media Composer, we have been more than impressed by the capabilities of Pinnacle Studio 12 Ultimate.

For an inexpensive little program, the folks at Pinnacle (a division of Avid) really pack a lot of features into this video editing package.

However, one of the features not covered in the Studio manual is multi-camera editing. If you covered an event with more than one camcorder shooting simultaneously, then how do you go about lining up the footage in sync and cutting between them?

Higher end programs, such as Avid Liquid, Media Composer, FCP, and others are able to deal with multiple cameras no problem; but that is why those programs are considered the favorites of professional editors. Also, those programs cost a lot more, require a good deal of training, and require very powerful computers.

Pinnacle Studio 12, on the other hand, is good for the less experienced video editor whose projects do not require the sophistication of those advanced programs. We like the program so much that, at, we include it as basic software on all of our professional laptop computer systems. It is ideal for smaller scale projects including event videography, industrial/corporate, DVD's, slide shows, and web media. Yes, it will handle HDV.

Which brings us back to the two camera live shoot. Can it be successfully edited in Pinnacle Studio 12? That is what we set out to discover....

Step One. Make sure that the Video Overlay track is enabled. Do that by going to the Toolbox and selecting: Add Video Overlay.

Step Two. Select your Master Shot (camera A) and drag it down to the timeline.

Note: if your two-camera edit is going to be part of a much larger show, I would recommend that you open up a NEW PROJECT and build your sequence on its own. When you are finished, export the (two camera)edited sequence (Studio calls it Make A Movie) and save it as an AVI video file. Import that file into your original project. By doing it this way, you also have the option to trim or split the clip (your two-camera sequence) as much as you want, without fear of losing sync.

Scroll through the Master Shot until you locate what will serve as a common sync point for both cameras. This could be an official clapstick slate, or just a specific frame of an action visible to both cameras, such as a kiss, flashbulb, handslap, etc.

Add a Marker at that frame and label it as Sync Point (or whatever).

To make it even easier to align on that frame, since the Marker symbol appears at the top of the timeline, you will use the RAZOR tool to make a slice at that frame. The slice does not remove any frames (no loss of sync) but it does leave a very visible vertical line in the timeline.

Drag the Insert Footage (camera B) down to the Overlay track just underneath the Master shot. When you play through the timeline, the video will automatically default to the footage on the Overlay track rather than show the Master track.

Locate the common sync point of the Insert track (camera B) and place a Marker at that point, and give it a label. You do not need to add a Razor slice to the Overlay track, since the Marker symbol is at the top of the timeline and will be easy to align with the vertical line (slice) in the track above it (the Master track). Slide the video clip on the Overlay track until the two sync marks are opposite each other.

If you wish, you can trim the beginning of either video track as much as you want by grabbing the left edge of the clip and pulling it to the right. Note that the sync markers should remain aligned. If the track slides by mistake, just hit the UNDO symbol.

If you are afraid of accidently messing up the two tracks, then do a SAVE PROJECT AS and name the newly saved file with a new version number. For example, save "JG_wedding_v01" as "JG_wedding_v02". That way, you can always go back to the other saved version. Saving your project as different versions every time you make a major change is a good way to protect yourself against big-time blunders that the UNDO button might not rescue.

There are a couple ways we can view both cameras in order to select the cut points. One simple technique is just to click on the "eye" symbol (oval with a circle in it) located at the right border of the Overlay timeline. When you click on the eye, it will disable the overlay function and reveal only the main video track (the Master track). Clicking on the eye again will re-enable the Overlay, and reveal whatever video is on the lower timeline track.

Now for the cool part. Let's enable Pinnacle Studio to show us both camera feeds at the same time on the source monitor. Highlight the video clip on the Overlay track (camera B). Select the Picture Tools icon (the camera icon next to the speaker icon, located near the left of your monitor screen just above the timelines).

Once in the Picture Tools menu, select the Picture-In-Picture tool. You should see the Overlay track (camera B) inserted into the corner of the PIP editor frame. Click the small box to ENABLE Picture in Picture. Now you should see the Overlay track AND the main video track. You can use the mouse grabber to move the inserted picture to wherever in the frame you desire, so that it does not block important content. You can also drag the corners to adjust size.

Scroll or play through the timeline until you come to the first place you want to change cameras. Place a Marker on the main track (camera A) and label it. Highlight the Overlay track, and place a Marker on it at the same spot, and label it to match. Then use the Razor tool to slice the Overlay track at that frame.

Scroll or play to the next edit point, and repeat the procedure described above: Place a Marker on the main track (camera A). Highlight the Overlay track, and place a Marker on it at the same spot. Then use the Razor tool to slice the Overlay track at that frame.

Continue this process of marking and razor slicing at all of the cut or transition points along the timeline.

Highlight and DELETE those sections of the Overlay track (camera B) that you do NOT want to appear in the sequence. The remaining clips will remain in their relative positions on the Overlay track, which you can quickly verify by checking to see that the left edges of the Overlay clips line up with the markers above them on the Master track.

Now, to remove the Picture-in-Picture feature. Just highlight ALL of the clips on the Overlay track (control+click on each clip), and then just uncheck the box that enables Picture-In-Picture in the editor window.

When you play the timeline, the picture will cut between the Master track and the Overlay track.

You can drag transitions down to the Overlay track if you want dissolves or whatever at the in or out points of those clips.

If you do not want the audio to switch between the Master video track and the Overlay track, you can delete the audio portions of the Overlay clips. To do that, first LOCK the Overlay video by clicking on the lock icon (next to the eye). Then, highlight just the audio track underneath the Overlay video and delete it.

As an alternative way of adjusting the audio levels, you can use the standard audio mixer tool; or just drag the audio level bar down, inside the timeline down using your mouse.

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Copyright 2009
Last modified: 05/12/09

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