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A Sex Pistols concert at Brixton Academy. Not the setting for FCP to work it's Multicam magic? Think again. Pro Apps expert Alexander Snelling tells us how the make multiclip feature stopped him looking pretty vacant.

By Alexander Snelling

A lot of FCP users are probably familiar with the amazing functionality of MULTICLIP in FCP. When I edited the Sex Pistols’ 30th Anniversary concerts at Brixton Academy last year, I had to go deep into Multiclip and found a mountain of spices...

Make Multiclip Sequence (MMS) is the function below Make Multiclip in the Modify menu.


Make Multiclip Sequence

So what is MMS for?

MMS is used to collect together footage with synchronous timecode from multiple cameras into one long sequence.

Why is MMS useful?

When a lot happens over a long time period, when cameras are turned on and off a lot and there are hours of footage from all over the place. e.g. Reality TV.

While editing the Pistols concert last year, I discovered an ancilliary use for MMS, which was so cool I felt like pogoing up and down all on my own in my edit suite. (The pogo is the punk rock dance some say was invented by Sid Vicious at the 100 club in 1976).

The scenario

Before the gig, I asked all of the ten camera staff to do one thing…

“Please do not under any circumstances stop recording unless you need to change tapes.” Unfortunately one camera operator didn’t hear me say this and delivered two tapes divided into eighty separate segments. That’s right – 80 clips; each clip requiring syncing individually in the timeline. Doh!@ This syncing would take 3 or 4 minutes per clip at least, but more importantly, these clips were almost unusable with Multiclip in FCP.

Luckily, before the concert, all the cameras’ timecode had been set to FREE RUN. This meant that even though the recording had been turned on and off, the timecode generator inside the camera had kept running continuously.

Here are a few of the clips where you can see clearly where the camera was turned off but the timecode continued to roll.


Notice there are gaps between the media end/start of consecutive clips.

In order to use these clips with Make Multiclip, we need one long contiguous clip that represents what this single camera would have recorded had it not been turned off. So how to achieve this?

Here’s what we did

Select all the clips in the browser and chose Make Multiclip sequence – you can right click or chose the function from the Modify menu.


I am just doing it here with 9 clips.

This brings up the main Make Multiclip Sequence window.


FCP asks how much margin between the start times of the 9 clips you want.

The starting timecode delta specifies the ALLOWABLE time difference between the beginning of each clip in order for those clips to be placed into the same multiclip.


in this instance I am selecting zero which will create 9 individual multiclips.

Then we click OK.


FCP creates 9 multiclips and ONE sequence.


When we open the sequence we see all the clips have been magically placed in time order with gaps where the camera was not recording.


Not only that but the timecode from the source clips is the same as the sequence timecode. This is the case for all the clips.


All you do now is export the sequence to get a single file with all the clips arranged in order. This can then be added to a normal Multiclip as one single contiguous clip.

Finally, we find one sync point with the master audio and change the timecode of our new clip using the Modify Timecode function to match all the other clips.

In my Pistols case, MMS created an individual Multiclip for each of the 80 clips and arranged these Multiclips into time order in a sequence with the correct timecode saving me several hours of very boring work. With many tapes shot like that, this feature could save you days of work.

To summarise:

To group a bunch of clips shot over a period of time into one long clip with the clips arranged at the right time.

1. Make sure the camera was set to FREE RUN

2. Get the clips into FCP.

3. Select all the clips in the browser, select Make Multiclip Sequence

4. Make sure the timecode of the sequence corresponds to the clips contained in the sequence.

5. Export the sequence as a self-contained movie (reference movies don’t work very well with Multiclips.

6. Work with the new clip as if it was rushes.

Alex Snelling has been training pro apps around the world since 2004. He has also made a feature film using FCP that was released in the UK and the US in February 2011.


Here's a promo for the Sex Pistols concert.


© Alexander Snelling/FCP.co 2011

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