Shooting Multicamera Video


When shooting multicamera video, there are a few key components to consider before getting started:

  • If possible, use the same make and model of camera and the same settings. Otherwise, you may need to do significant color correction in order to match the look between cameras.

  • If possible, provide a single timecode source to all cameras.

    With synchronized timecode, can lay out multicamera media in perfect synchronization. Otherwise, you’ll need to manually adjust the alignment between clips.

    Unsynchronized timecode between two cameras—even of the same type—drifts as much as one second per hour. Likewise, date/time stamps also drift and can only be used for approximate layout. If you only need two cameras on your shoot, be aware that some newer Sony cameras (e.g. HVR-V1) can synchronize timecode (using a feature called “TC Link”) over i.LINK®.

  • Set the date and time in each camera. The closer these are, the better the approximate layout will be. Even if you’re using a master timecode source, you should set the date/time as a backup.

  • Before or after each scene, record a synchronization point. It is preferable to use a video slate board for this purpose, but you can also employ a loud and visible hand clap. You can also use a flash from a still camera, but you must disable any red-eye reduction, as this can cause multiple flashes. A fast camera flash combined with a fast shutter speed can be problematic as well.

    Regardless of the synchronization method you choose, it must be visible by all cameras.

  • If you forget to record a synchronization point, you’ll have to align the clips using another reference point, such as something consistent in the audio or video. Be aware that in distant shots, the audio captured by the camera’s microphone will be delayed from the video (1 frame for every 11.5 meters).

  • At least one of the cameras should be recording the audio you’ll use for the final edit. Alternatively, if you’re using dual-system sound, you can record audio on another device altogether. If you are shooting a musical performance, you might even be using the studio-recorded audio track. If you record audio on multiple cameras, you’ll be able to switch between it along with the video if you choose.

Shooting Multicamera Video