Background: I've been a recording engineer for many years, but no video experience. Long time still photographer. I'm a pretty good geek, too.
Goals: to produce high quality videos (1080P/60) of cooking shows in my kitchen and live music events (typically bands in bars) using multiple cameras simultaneously.
Thoughts on workflow: I envision software that will let me play back four separate video streams simultaneously and allows me to switch between them much like old school video switchers. Choice of transitions would be nice.
Video gear: 3 video cameras 1080P/60 and DSLR that does video, also at 1080P/60. None support any form of time code.
Computer: HP Z440 with E5-1660 v3 CPU. 32 GB RAM. 1TB SSD. Video card is Nvidia Quadro K620. Win 10 Pro.
This computer will support both the audio DAW and video editing software. It's unlikely I would ever be mixing the sound at the same time I'm editing video. More likely is full mixdown of audio first and then build the video around the audio.
Monitor: Samsung S27D390 and a modest budget for a second (hopefully larger) monitor
Methodology: In the case of kitchen based videos, only one camera will receive audio from a wireless lav mic. That would be the master audio track unless I add some music or something and that would be done either in the DAW or the video software. For live music, I would be using the FOH mixer as an interface into a computer directly, capturing every input from the stage discreetly. That would then be mixed down to a stereo master track in the studio and used as the soundtrack for the video. None of the audio captured by the cameras would be used except possibly for synchronization reasons.
1. What software should I use? Do any support the "video switcher" model? I have looked at Resolve, OpenShot, OBS and the Movie maker software in Windows 10. From what I can figure out, they are all designed around the idea of shooting a segment, loading it into the software, then trimming what you don't want and placing the result where you want it in the timeline. I will be shooting four separate live streams on four different cameras simultaneously and I'd like to be able to preview all four at the same time and then select which one is active during realtime playback. Depending on the verdict on the K620 card, I may replace it. Which software packages support hardware acceleration? Ideally, the code would be free, but I can afford a modest amount for non-free software. I'm not a fan of subscription based licenses like Adobe does, though.
2. I understand that I may run into issues syncing the four video streams with the master audio track. I've seen that some software has a sync capability using audio analysis. How well does that work? Can it maintain sync through a long recording, say an hour and a half? What other workarounds are there? For the live music stuff I envision having the drummer smack drumsticks together a few times just prior to a set. Make sure all four cameras can see the sticks so I have an audio and visual representation it. I could use one of those clapper board things for the kitchen stuff.
3. Video card: That K620 doesn't look like all that great of a video card. Any thoughts on a replacement? I have a modest budget (<$500) for a new card if this one doesn't pan out. I don't envision ever doing anything higher rez than 1080P/60 so I don't think I need 4K or anything like that.
4. Monitor: I'll admit I'm trying to talk myself into a second monitor as it would be useful not just for video work but also for my music work. The Samsung I have has been a decent monitor for audio work, will it be any good for video? It only has HDMI and VGA, no DisplayPort. Problem? I think I can swing a modest priced 32-35" monitor. Any thoughts?
5. Rewire: The DAW software I use (Reaper) supports ReWire. What software packages support this and what benefits might I gain by using it? I've known it was in Reaper for a long time, but never had an occasion to use it so I'm unclear on the benefits for what I'm hoping to accomplish.
6. What I am missing? I know this whole "video switcher" thing is old school, but it seems like it would be a good way to edit the video. Much like a live TV production with the fancy truck and Grass Valley switcher, just in software. Am I deluded? Is the whole non-linear thing a better way even for what I'm trying to accomplish? I can see if I was creating something like a movie that could be cut into little scenes which could be shot whenever and then assembled into a final product that the non-linear model would work great. Seems like it would be more effort though for this type of thing. I'd have to make sure that each little clip had no overlap or I'm thinking it would have a dramatic impact on keeping vocals synced up. The soundtrack will be from start to finish and any gaps would make the singer look like they were lip-syncing. Poorly.
7. Hardware: The basic specs for the computer look pretty good as far as CPU and RAM. One weakness might be the single SSD. While the Mother board does not support NVME directly, it appears there is an add-on PCIe card that does. (The HP Z Turbo drive). There are also plenty of SATA connectors so simply adding another SSD is an option, too. My initial thinking is use the original SSD for OS, applications and mass storage of video files. Add either the NVME card or another SSD for scratch and cache. Use spinning drives for archive and backup. Any guidance on this?
8. The whole four streams at one time thing: From what I can tell, the few software packages I've taken a look at seem to have a single preview window and then another window for the actual timeline video. Do any of them allow for having each video stream in it's own preview window? From there I would be able to do the video switcher thing assuming the software support that too.
9. On this whole video switcher thing. Is there any sense in thinking about an ACTUAL video switcher? Dump the raw files from each camera onto the hard drive and then (somehow) stream each through a separate video output on the video card (probably DisplayPort) and then into the switcher. Output of switcher into video capture card and then recorded back to the hard drive. Or is that just a silly idea?
10. Color correction: Do I need it? For things shot in the kitchen, I will be using video lights that are all the same color temp. Either shoot at night or cover the one window in there. For the live music gig, the majority of the lighting will be colored lights, like PAR cans. Some may use color gels and others will be RGB LED lights. Will any of the color correction tools be at all useful when there are already most of the colors in the rainbow shining on the musicians?
11. Obvious questions I should be asking but don't know enough to: Help me out here. I'm so new to all this I'm not even sure the questions I'm asking are valid. Any advice would be warmly received.
Thanks for reading this and for any help you can provide.
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OBS can handle multiple cameras if you have the inputs (the K620 does not,) but you may want to look into a low cost switcher like the ATEM Mini. They have a larger 8 input version now too.
You can get better value in the GForce line of Nvidia cards, though the quadros are built for long life reliability.
Sorry smrpix, I should have been more clear. My fault. I would capture the original video on the cameras themselves and then transfer the files from the SD card to the computer. My main concern with the video card is performance. I've found that the video stops and starts a ton on the other older computers I have around here and from what I have read, it's likely because of less capable video processors, like the built in chipsets in a lot of CPUs these days.
Okay, I didn't get that. In that case your main issue is software. Premiere Pro, Davinci Resolve and Avid Media Composer are all good multicamera editing systems. Vegas Pro is as well, but I have less experience with that.
If you record sound on all your cameras, they can all autosync the cameras using audio. In my experience, it's worth making low-rez proxy versions of the sources to make editing smoother -- and then you link back to the original sources for output. Premiere makes this easiest, but they all do it fairly seamlessly.
Your CPU/GPU should be fine.
I have explored Resolve the most and while it still has me confused, it's clearly a powerful choice. I haven't figured out how to get more than one preview window and the main video window. I would like to be able to see all four camera angles at once in four different windows. Kinda like the dark ages when each camera had its one little monitor amongst a wall of monitors and the director would choose which one to go to next. In my case, it would be the recorded video from each camera. Any idea if/how to do that?
And thanks for your help!!
You create your multicam clip and then display it in multicam mode in the source window. It will show you all your sources. There are a number of good tutorials. Here are a couple:
Parts will and won't apply to your specific situation, but it will show you the basic steps. (The second one is probably unnecessarily detailly)
You rock! Thanks so much for the help! I've been waiting until I could afford the "new" (refurb) computer since no other machine around here has the gumption to run any of the popular video editing software and now that I've scored a better machine, I must make a choice. I really don't wanna spend a month or two learning one package only to find out it isn't for me. I've looked at the manual for Resolve. Wow. And then there's the complete reference guide at some couple of thousands of pages. I'm willing to dive in but I gotta make sure this new machine is up to snuff. It'll be here hopefully on Thursday and once I get it all set up I'll start running some tests with Resolve to be sure the thing has the power to do right.
I'll check out those videos. I know once I get my arms around how things are done, I'll be ok. Just a looooong learning curve it would appear!!
So smrpix, I have been reading here and other places since about six this morning and I came across a recommendation for kdenlive. Any love? I'll admit, I downloaded and installed it and was able to figure out how to get a separate preview window for four individual video tracks which I have yet to accomplish with anything else, although I haven't tried what you showed me with Resolve. Any thoughts? Ever use it? Any issues you are aware of?