Archive for September 12th, 2010

Multi-Angle Video in iMovie

On Friday I shot video of my friend’s band, Cheap Leather, performing in Cambridge. My Canon T2i was fixed on a monopod shooting the overview and recording with my handmade binaural mic which hasn’t been used since college. I simultaneously used my Olympus E-P1 with Voigtlander 50mm f 1.5 lens to shoot close ups. Here’s the first of three songs I recorded:

Now in my old days of using Final Cut (2 and 3!), this would be relatively simple, I would just place each camera’s video on a track, roll to sync up the audio, then slice away parts of the video on the top track to show the video of the second track. But I only have iMovie now, and although iMovie ’09 is very capable, it only supports one video track. It took me a couple hours of playing around and digging through forums to figure it out.

Add the main overview angle track to your project. In Preferences, check Show Advanced Tools. Then, you can select the portions of the second angle from its video in the Event browser, and drag them over the video in the project. When you drop it, you’ll be presented with a menu. Select Cutaway. This adds that clip of the second layer literally on top of the original video track in your project–yes, a second video track, but more like a chat bubble. You can then zoom in and carefully drag it while listening to align the audio. Yes, that means you must align each clip you cutaway to, certainly not as easy as Final Cut, but at least it is all possible with iMovie.

In this case the audio was painfully loud and overloaded the nice binaural microphone on the Canon, but the nice thing about shooting with two cameras means there’s a backup. The E-P1 doesn’t quite have the fidelity and separation, but it does have spectacular auto gain control and can handle extremely loud situations. So I had to separate its audio and add it underneath the muted main Canon track. Also, this first song I definitely did not concentrate long enough on each person, moved around too much, and therefore I did not have as much usable second angle as I expected. Hopefully I improved with the next two songs…watch my YouTube channel soon if you want to see.