I am trying to understand how to mix back and forth between two simultaneous (synchronized) feeds.
Think of it as an A/B roll where camera A is on the audience and camera B is on the actors. Both cameras (both timelines) are in sync. I will take the audio from a 3rd timeline.
I do not want to chop up the two synced video tracks into lots of small pieces. I want to temporarily cross fade (or wipe out) the upper track so that the lower track will appear, and then bring the upper track back in again, and do this several times.
I have OpenShot, but if this is possible on other video tools (preferably open source) I am open to learning...
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You can't do it in Openshot. Simply changing the opacity of a clip requires adding edits anyway and opening up two or three windows. Premiere Pro has the simplest method keyframing opacity, Magix/Vegas is almost as simple but still requires opening extra windows. Neither is open source.
Your best bet is to simply go ahead and add cuts on the upper track where you want the transitions to be. Delete the part of the upper track you don't want to use (or slide the unused portion to another track you will not output), trim to taste and add crossfades.
It's not clear what you hope to gain by keeping the upper track intact -- but it makes editing more difficult in literally every NLE except Premiere.
As an addendum to what smrpix said, you COULD leave the base track complete alone, and only do edits on the 2nd (overlay) track (keeping a hidden 3rd track, an unedited copy of the overlay track, for reference purposes). However, anytime you do a crossfade, you are really needing to either edit the lower track or fiddle with both tracks' opacity. Possibly you could do a non-additive fade-up & fade-down on the overlay track instead of dissolve (crossfade) to avoid messing with the base track. All of those options would require something like PPro, Vegas, Resolve, MediaComposer, etc. You might be able to get away with doing it with the lite/studio versions of those. From what I've seen, however, most open source tools aren't up to the task yet.
Thank you, smrpix and Scott! I was afraid there wasn't any easy solution. I think I will resolve with creating many segments from each A B roll and do cross fading...
The idea was to have an equivalent set up of a TV studio: while looking at the different feeds commuting from one to the other via mixer cross-fading.
I am now wondering if I could achieve that via a SW mixer like Snowmix instead of a video editing SW....
Some of the advanced NLEs can do true multicamera editing. Avid, Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve (free), Vegas Pro, Lightworks. They let you see all the available views in your source monitor and your selection in your program monitor. They work very well. (I have used all of the first three.) You switch cameras by clicking or using specific keys. (AFAIK none of them use a dissolve as a default transition, so you have to go back and add that to your edits.)
Two items in your question chased me away from suggesting this in the first place -- 1, you seemed to want to keep your upper intact, 2 you wanted cheap or open source.
If your computer is up to spec to run Resolve, give it a try. Depending on your source files you may want to use a proxy workflow for smoother editing.
In regards to wanting to keep my upper trak intact; possibly I didn't express myself clearly, sorry. What I meant is that fragmenting the upper track (and making the lower appear at time is an option I was already aware of.... I am looking for an alternative.
In regards to cheap / open source... yes open source is preferred. But if all the functionalities I need are in a paid version I am open to that....
The point is: so far the paid SW I tried had missing functionalities that didn't make me want to go beyond the trial period... at least that's my personal experience.
As an example I I glanced at Premiere pro multi-cam editing, but from what I could see (this tutorial I found is pretty exhaustive https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoC7E-kvs0U) the cross fading needs to be added as you are also confirming below.
Considering I will have to edit around 2 hours of a video podcast every two weeks, with lots of switches between different feeds (say every few seconds) that's a lot of work
Thanks again for your responses, I am new here, but this community is quite amazing
If you want to think about this another way -- a lot of folks are doing live switching using OBS (open source), even one-man-band podcasters.
OBS certainly allows for dissolve transitions. I've used it successfully with two cameras using inexpensive HDMI to USB adapters and a built-in webcam -- but be cautious regarding stability. Audio is also less than elegant. The next step up would be something like an ATEM mini hardware switcher.
Obviously I don't know your hardware, your personnel, nor your budget -- but throwing this out there as something else to consider.