Filming split screen imagery

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by stringtheorist, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. stringtheorist macrumors regular

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    #1
    I know there have been a few threads on this topic but to be specific I am researching how to film myself playing guitar from two different angles (see the sort of vids you get on Youtube). Currently all I have is an iMac with iMovie 08. Can I achieve this in iMovie with a second (external) camera? If not, will Final Cut Pro enable me to do this? The two images must be filmed simultaneously and synchronize perfectly with each other and with the audio track.
     
  2. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #2
    Certainly Final Cut (Express or Pro) can do this, not sure how easy it will be to do it in iMovie. Probably works fine, but I don't have it in front of me to tell you how.

    The traditional way to do this is to record from your two cameras, lay the footage from one on track A, the other on track B. Pick the sound from track A and delete (or mute) the sound from track B.

    Use a razor to cut up the clips on track B and delete bits to choose which camera angle is seen in the final video. If your sound is recorded on track A, you only need to worry about synchronizing the video from the other camera. If you recorded sound separately (through a mixer or external recorder) you would also need to nudge things around a bit until they sync up.

    Popular ways of synchronizing the two video tracks are to use a camera flash or clapper board -- the latter will also give a nice "clack" on the audio track to help you sync that up too. That's why you see those clapper boards on movie sets -- they "clack" the boards to sync up the film and the sound.
     
  3. TheNightPhoenix macrumors 6502

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    #3
    Unless there has been some secret update i've not seen you can't capture from two cameras at once in FCP.
     
  4. AviationFan macrumors 6502a

    AviationFan

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    #4
    Maybe the OP can clarify if he meant that the capture of both images would have to be done at the same time. The title ("live split screen") seems to suggest something like that, but I couldn't confirm it from the message body.

    If we are talking about editing (i.e., not producing a live image), then multiple images can be recorded simultaneously, then captured one at a time and stacked on top of each other on separate video tracks, as described by notjustjay. Use the "Motion" parameters for each clip to adjust position and size in the final image. Both FCP and FCE will do this easily. For iMovie, there are "picture-in-picture" plugins, and while I haven't worked with them, they sound like they might allow something similar, just with less control over the details.

    - Martin
     
  5. stringtheorist thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Recording simultaneously and then editing is what I had in mind. It would be impossible to play the same thing twice exactly the same to enable perfect synchronization, hence the need for two cameras. I therefore presume that the picture-in-picture plugin won't help.
     
  6. stringtheorist thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    Just came across another program called Capture Magic which claims to allow simultaneous recording from two cameras simultaneously, and also has features like remote control from the Apple FrontRow controller and live slow-motion capture. Costs $299.
     
  7. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #7
    What I described would have involved two cameras, each recording (simultaneously if you choose) onto their own tapes. You'd then capture both tapes, sync them on the timeline and edit away.

    If you wanted to do "live" capturing from multiple cameras and switching angles, for display in real-time (e.g. on a monitor at a concert), that is in the realm of a video mixer console, or specialized software. But it didn't sound like you wanted to do this.
     
  8. stringtheorist thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    No, it's not for live transmission.

    If I got FCE, would I need to buy two cameras, or could I use my Mac's i-Sight for one of the shots?
     
  9. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    #9
    They're called slates. ;)
     
  10. AviationFan macrumors 6502a

    AviationFan

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    #10
    Sure you could use your iSight camera. While you are at it, why not record the guitar sound with the laptop's built-in microphone? Only you can decide what quality you need in the end result.

    For good results, you want to use two identical or at least fairly similar cameras, so that you can get the compatible looks from both angles - unless you want to achieve a different look on purpose. Also, check what framerate the iSight would record. I am not sure if it would do 30fps or 29.97fps; certainly, you want the framerate to be the same on both cameras to synchronize the pictures more easily.

    - Martin
     
  11. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #11
    Er.. yes, thank you.

    :)
     
  12. stringtheorist thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    I can select a frame rate of 30 for NTSC or the default 25 for PAL.

    What should I look for in the way of a second camera? I see a lot of very cheap (under £10) web cameras on eBay. What camera would be a good match for the built-in iSight?
     
  13. AviationFan macrumors 6502a

    AviationFan

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    #13
    stringtheorist,

    After reading your other thread where you say you would like to make "professional quality videos", I would suggest you reconsider your idea of using webcams. I misunderstood your earlier posts, I thought you already had one decent video camera and were looking at the iSight as a second camera. While webcams have gotten better over the years, they are still far away from good camcorders.

    Some of the differences that will impact your quality are:
    • The optical components (lense and image sensor) are going to be dirt cheap in a webcam, and the image quality reflects that.
    • Lack of controls: As far as I know, if a webcam has autofocus, it's considered high-end. So there's no way to control zoom, exposure, white balance, etc. before the light hits the image sensor. Any correction happens electronically at a later stage. Not good for the image quality.
    • I would expect that you'll have to live with reduced color accuracy.
    • My guess is that you'll have a harder time positioning your webcam, compared with camcorders that you can mount on a tripod.
    If you can borrow or rent a couple of good camcorders for your recording, I think you won't regret doing it. If you are stuck with webcams, then it'll still be possible to make videos that have instructional value, but I believe your goal of producing "professional quality videos" is unrealistic.

    - Martin
     
  14. stringtheorist thread starter macrumors regular

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    #14
    Thanks Martin. Looks like I'll have to budget a bit harder and wait a bit longer to get a rig together that'll do what I want.
     
  15. AviationFan macrumors 6502a

    AviationFan

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    #15
    I didn't mean to discourage you... If I were in your situation, I would probably still start with the project. Even with cheap cameras and poor audio quality, you can still do a lot of the creative work: experiment with different angles, see how well your curriculum works, and basically storyboard your video by building a low-cost prototype. Doing that well should keep you occupied for quite a while. Then, once you've done that, reshooting it with better equipment should be fairly straightforward.

    - Martin
     
  16. stringtheorist thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 1, 2008
    #16
    Good advice. I'll take a look at camcorders anyway since I was thinking of getting one at some point to film my band at gigs and rehearsals.

    I'm going to put the camcorder idea on the backburner. I figure since my iSight movies are of good enough quality for my immediate purposes I'll stick with the original idea of having two webcams recording simultaneously.

    However, I've been looking at the Apple tutorials on FCE and I can't see any specific reference to this software allowing simultaneous video capture from two sources. Can anyone explain exactly how to achieve this in FCE (if possible)? If not, I reckon I should look elsewhere.
     
  17. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #17
    sooo is there any fix for this??

    i have two angles of me drumming (one MBP on my feet and one MBP on my hands using built in i-sight). im just wondering how i can 'choose' which angle i can use without breaking each clip up until millions of smaller parts!
     

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