Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

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Max Paperno

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Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostWed Jul 07, 2021 9:40 pm

Just when I thought I had multicam audio workflow figured out... we added a 3rd mic/track. Now apparently I'm SoL again?

Is there any way to get more than 2 audio tracks from multicam clip into the actual "program" timeline?

I've searched here and got some "hints" that maybe this isn't possible, but nothing definitive on this particular issue.

More details:

We're using multiple cams, but only one of the recorded files has the usable audio. (The others are discarded or used for a rough sync.) We were using 2 mics for the main audio, but recently added a 3rd. So the final file has 3 usable audio tracks which I want to keep. Each used track gets its own audio processing treatment (dynamics/EQ/etc), so in the final result they must be separate tracks.

I can create a multicam clip and all the audio tracks are in there, no problem (I manipulate Clip Attributes to import just the tracks I want as individual Mono tracks and mute the rest). But when I use this multicam clip in a timeline, all I can get is two audio tracks (even after selecting the appropriate "angle" for the audio, which has 3 audio tracks).

What's worse, Resolve seems to be mixing my 2nd and 3rd audio tracks together into the 2nd track. WTF?

I tried making sure all camera files are imported into multicam clip with the same number of audio tracks (3 Mono), and again that all shows up in multicam clip fine, but not in a timeline.

Tried specifying audio tracks/types when creating the timeline from multicam clip, but that doesn't work either. I can get a "adaptive 3" audio in my timeline, but the 3rd track is always empty (and again the 3rd original track is mixed onto the 2nd).

Before adding the 3rd mic, I could simply separate the two audio tracks (from multicam clip angle) in my final timeline into a Linked Group, then unlink them, et voilá I'd have my separate tracks for audio processing.

Do I really have to go back to adding my audio separately into my "program" timeline? This means twice as much syncing work, since I first sync the multicam clips to each other, and then I'd need to sync them again to my "external" audio. For one or two clips it's not a huge deal, but gets old really quick past that. Unfortunately we don't have any way to embed synced timecode into the files at the moment, so the auto-sync is based on audio and then manually tweaked by a couple of frames if needed (using a clapper).

Thanks,
-Max
Last edited by Max Paperno on Sat Jul 24, 2021 7:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostWed Jul 07, 2021 11:34 pm

Adding some screenshots.

resolve-mta-cilp-attribs.png
Clip Attributes of clip with desired audio tracks. This is "Angle Top" clip in the following shots.
resolve-mta-cilp-attribs.png (13.35 KiB) Viewed 945 times


resolve-mta-multicam.png
Multicam clip with 2 "angles", showing the 3 desired audio tracks were imported properly.
resolve-mta-multicam.png (20.93 KiB) Viewed 945 times


resolve-mta-program.png
Timeline created using above multicam clip. Using "Create timeline using..." and Audio Tack Type: Based on selected media.
resolve-mta-program.png (16.12 KiB) Viewed 945 times


This is a pretty good example because you can (hopefully) see how the 2nd and 3rd track end up mixed. (The 3rd mic was slightly out of sync on this take.)

Creating the timeline first and/or manually setting the Audio Track type to Adaptive 3 basically looks the same as the last screen, except there's a 3rd empty space in the resulting track.

DR Studio 17.2 B11, Windows 10.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostThu Jul 08, 2021 4:59 pm

Max Paperno wrote:Is there any way to get more than 2 audio tracks from multicam clip into the actual "program" timeline?
In my view, the best way to do that is to re-add the audio under the Multicam clip in the main timeline and Disable the audio from the Multicam clip. Then just add the third track to the main timeline.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostFri Jul 23, 2021 1:57 am

Jim Simon wrote:In my view, the best way to do that is...


"Best" as in best workflow or as in best workaround to this buggy mess? Even with my limited needs I would heartily disagree with the former meaning. I don't see how any actual "pro" users could put up with this.

It wouldn't be as horrible if there was some way to sync with the timecode of the multicam "clip" when I add the audio back into the program timeline... since at least one of the multicam angles is actually the same source footage which has the audio, in theory I could just sync on that. But I don't see any way to do that except maybe again based on audio waveform (which again means checking/repeating all the individual clips are synced). Which is just all absurd to begin with.

Also if one wants to re-use the same multicam clip in another timeline, the process has to be repeated over again!
Last edited by Max Paperno on Fri Jul 23, 2021 2:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostFri Jul 23, 2021 2:00 am

I'm calling this a bug because at the very least it shouldn't be "silently" mixing my tracks down/together. The only way it was even (somewhat) obvious was because of that sync issue as shown above.

In fact I had to go back to another video I thought I had finished earlier to fix all the audio (I had indeed added the 3rd track manually to the program timeline and synced it up, w/out realizing the mixdown had occurred on the multicam tracks).
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostSat Jul 24, 2021 3:57 pm

Max Paperno wrote:"Best" as in best workflow or as in best workaround to this buggy mess?
I think the former includes the latter, so...both.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostSat Jul 24, 2021 7:40 pm

Wow so some forum admin keeps editing my topic title to remove the "[BUG]" prefix I've tried adding. Seriously? Is that in the rules somewhere (I looked)? Or does DR not have bugs? :o "No bugs on me!"

If this track mixing is intended/documented behavior then please by all means let me know.

Jim Simon wrote:
Max Paperno wrote:"Best" as in best workflow or as in best workaround to this buggy mess?
I think the former includes the latter, so...both.

That's true... :-) Though I still fail to see how needing to sync twice (or more) is a better workflow than syncing once. At least for my needs.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostSun Jul 25, 2021 3:12 pm

It's not that syncing twice is "better".

It's that having all the usable audio in the main timeline (thus, not in the Multicam) is "better". Much easier to work with in Fairlight.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostSun Jul 25, 2021 4:16 pm

Jim Simon wrote:Much easier to work with in Fairlight.

But in Fairlight I can just as well split the "master" audio from the multicam "clip" into separate tracks once it's in the main timeline. So, with only 2 tracks of "master" audio, for me the end result is the same as if I added the audio to the main timeline separately. I get two independent tracks which I can manipulate to my heart's content. (I think this is new in v17, but not sure... convert to Linked Group and then Unlink the tracks.)

Unfortunately this breaks badly when the "master" audio has > 2 tracks.

And it's clearly not a bug since the forum admins insist on removing my "[BUG]" subject prefix. :roll:
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostMon Jul 26, 2021 3:49 pm

Max Paperno wrote:in Fairlight I can just as well split the "master" audio from the multicam "clip" into separate tracks
How's that done?
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostMon Jul 26, 2021 8:12 pm

Jim Simon wrote:
Max Paperno wrote:in Fairlight I can just as well split the "master" audio from the multicam "clip" into separate tracks
How's that done?

R-click in the "title" area of the audio track (whatever that's called... to the left of the waveforms, under the track name) and choose "Convert to Linked Group". Then go to Fairlight menu and choose "Link Group..." and in the dialog select the new group and hit "Unlink" at the bottom.

resolve-mta-convert-to-group.png
resolve-mta-convert-to-group.png (23.75 KiB) Viewed 683 times


resolve-mta-link-group.png
resolve-mta-link-group.png (23.92 KiB) Viewed 683 times


resolve-mta-unlinked.png
resolve-mta-unlinked.png (21.36 KiB) Viewed 683 times
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostMon Jul 26, 2021 9:04 pm

Thanks Max.

That doesn't give me the same end result as adding the audio to the main timeline, rather than the Multicam, so I think I still have to recommend keeping all audio out of the Multicam for ease of mixing in Fairlight.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostMon Jul 26, 2021 9:15 pm

Welcome. What's different? Just curious... Obviously there are many ways to work with audio.

Incidentally, I recently read the new (?) multicam tutorial on BM site and they conveniently skirt around the audio issue by using "professionally pre-mixed stereo audio track" (not exact quote) as another "angle" for their multicam music video example. Which I guess for a music video would be logical, but the example doesn't address any of audio limitations at all. But implicitly it says "do all your mixing elsewhere." And I didn't see where it explains why they added the audio to the MC clip vs. the final timeline (I would presume so it's easier to use the MC in other timelines, but that's just a guess).
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostMon Jul 26, 2021 9:20 pm

The difference is you don't get all the audio.

Create a Multicam with two video clips, each having a stereo track. Follow the "Link" process.

You won't end up with two stereo tracks, with access to all four channels.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostMon Jul 26, 2021 9:32 pm

Right... you can have as many audio channels as you want per "angle" track in the MC clip (as shown in my 2nd post), but as mentioned it only works with up to 2 channels once placed in the actual timeline. Silently mixing the rest down to the 2nd. Which is the point of this thread. ;)

Even if the audio is recorded separately (or extracted from video), using a synced timecode, there's no way to sync that timecode to a track within a MC clip (as far as we know). So, it would seem desirable to be able to link the audio inside the MC to start with (like they do in that tutorial I just mentioned), where it can by synced with any of the other angles. And especially if the audio is already in one of the video angles to begin with. And especially especially if one wants to re-use the MC clip in multiple places.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostMon Jul 26, 2021 9:43 pm

Jim Simon wrote:You won't end up with two stereo tracks, with access to all four channels.

To expand on my last post, for example if you wanted to use all 4 recorded audio tracks in the MC, you could convert the 2 channel track of one of the videos to a 4 channel, then copy/paste the audio from the 2nd angle cam. Then you have a "master" audio track in the MC with all 4 channels. So if that could be carried over to the final timeline as a linked group, seems like it would be nice and save a step per individual video clip/take within the MC.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostWed Jul 28, 2021 3:45 pm

I think it's easier to just add usable audio to the main timeline, keeping it out of the Multicam. That Unlink process affects the entire timeline, which may not be desirable.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostSat Sep 04, 2021 7:42 am

Jim Simon wrote:I think it's easier to just add usable audio to the main timeline, keeping it out of the Multicam.

Which is, unfortunately, the same advice given when folks ask the same question about PP

PP can edit more complicated Mcam audio successfully - takes a bit of work setting up though - https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aiVYRuWoh ... e=youtu.be.

Avid modifies all group clips to mono - but then all source clip tracks are available to be cut into timeline (where you can switch camera + track if necessary). All metadata is preserved in transfer to PT.

Hopefully BM will address these shortcomings in future releases.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostSat Sep 04, 2021 8:25 am

I haven't studied this thread carefully so apologies if this is already tested and covered.

Have you tried the following?
  1. In your Multicam, set each audio track type to Adaptive 3.
  2. Sync in your clips as usual to each angle. The audio waveform will show the three mono tracks mixed together.
  3. Add MC to a timeline, and set the audio track type to Adaptive 3. Edit MC as usual.
  4. When done, Flatten Multicam to expose the original clips from the chosen angles.
  5. Now right-click on the Adaptive 3 audio track -> Convert to Linked Group.
Result: Your three original mono tracks break out into the final timeline, on mono tracks Audio 1, 2 and 3. As a Linked Group they are controlled via a single fader. They can be unlinked to allow individual editing of each clip, and/or they can be removed from the group and converted to three entirely separate tracks with three faders.

After Flatten, before Convert To Linked Group:
Image
After Convert To Linked Group:
Image
(tracks 1 and 2 show the same audio here just because that's what my test clip contains.)

I know you tested Linked Group before, but you mentioned it just gave you a stereo track, so I'm not sure you tried with Adaptive 3 track types?

I just tested it and it seems to work. Of course it requires that you Flatten Multicam, but I think normally one would do that anyway after MC editing, to make Color easier?
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostSat Sep 04, 2021 9:32 am

Hi Tom,

Flattening seems to be the answer! I had already tried everything you described (including adaptive 3), except the flattening part. With flattening it comes out just as you say, getting my original 3 audio tracks back into the final timeline. 8-)

Also, another "mystery" solved: after flattening the original source timecodes are back.

TBH I never really understood the point of flattening (and never noticed the timecode thing I guess), so I don't, since that lets me switch angles at any point before final render. For my coloring workflow I haven't noticed any particular advantage to flattening either (typically I use "remote" versions and group files from same camera together).

Anyway, thanks so much for posting and pointing this out! I think I've read every thread having to do with multicam audio and have not seen this "detail" mentioned before (also the whole linked group thing).
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostSat Sep 04, 2021 9:45 am

TheBloke wrote:
Have you tried the following?


The underlying problem (I just looked at Resolve MC audio for the first time so I'm no expert) seems to be that the Multicam sequence is 2 channel output by default and cannot be modified.

So any serious, flexible, audio editing (using different iso mics at different times) is not possible with the audio unless it is flattened.

If I had to do a job today I'd use the multicam audio as a guide, kept multicam - and alt-drag the audio to a stereo timeline track, flatten then modify clip audio attributes to be stereo - mix 1&2 (i.e. this is the field recorded stereo mix not the multicam mixdown of everything).

As you need to replace or augment with Lavs etc just copy or move that section to a mono timeline track and modify audio attributes to be mono - with whichever track you need from audio clip.

So A1 below is the MC audio, muted
A2 is the field mix LR
A3 is the boom mono
A4-6 are the Lavs mono

Screenshot 2021-09-04 at 10.36.11.png
Screenshot 2021-09-04 at 10.36.11.png (638.34 KiB) Viewed 383 times


Sounds complicated but it's actually pretty easy.

PS

In doing this I'm immediately missing being able to add transitions to filler on audio - to smooth edits on different tracks. Having to add fades is way more cumbersome.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostSat Sep 04, 2021 9:57 am

Max Paperno wrote:Flattening seems to be the answer! I had already tried everything you described (including adaptive 3), except the flattening part. With flattening it comes out just as you say, getting my original 3 audio tracks back into the final timeline
OK great, glad that's helped. Flatenning is a crucial step in many instances. I wish it weren't, but it is.

When you use an MC clip, you're using a nested container. It's exactly like using a Compound Clip or a nested timeline (nested timeline = drop one timeline on another timeline). The only difference being that MC has the special added functionality of being able to choose which video + audio track within the container is used on a clip-by-clip basis, and the special viewer mode to achieve that.

Using nested/container clips in Resolve involves a number of downsides and problems:
  • They don't work properly with higher-resolution media, cropping it rather than allowing you to pan around in it like you could with higher-resolution source media
  • They mix down the audio to a stereo bus, with no ability to access other audio channels (that's the fundamental problem you're experiencing here)
  • Mixing down audio also means that you can't raise the volume inside the container then lower it outside the container without risking clipping - it mixes in (I guess) 24 bit, not 32bit or 64bit float.
  • They don't expose the source timecode or other metadata; you therefore can't use Color Smart Filters on them.
  • There are known audio bugs when one renders a timeline containing nested clips like Compounds and Nested Timelines - audio can be out of sync or stutter. (I don't know if this affects MCs, but it definitely affects the other types).
  • When using RAW source media, you can't access the RAW panel in Color (this one is fair enough, because a nested container clip can contain many source clips, so it doesn't make sense to access RAW)
  • When using Color Remote Grades, all clips from the same MC will appear as the same source. It won't use the source media clip as the basis for combining grades, but rather the MC itself. (Again this is expected and reasonable behaviour, not a bug.)
Flattening an MC will get rid of the nested container, and thus avoids all those issues.

Unfortunately Flatten is a destructive process in that once you've flattened an MC clip to expose the original source media, there's no way to later get back the MC clip for that edit - for example if you decided you wanted to change the angle for that edit. So I make a backup of my timeline prior to Flatten, so that if I do later find that I want to change some angles, I don't need to re-edit in the MC at the correct point.
Last edited by TheBloke on Sat Sep 04, 2021 12:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostSat Sep 04, 2021 10:06 am

Trevor Asquerthian wrote:So any serious, flexible, audio editing (using different iso mics at different times) is not possible with the audio unless it is flattened.
Yes, you need to flatten the Multicam.

This is unlikely to change unless and until Resolve supports multi-channel non-mixdown containers - ones that can appear as discrete tracks on containing timelines, like a source media clip with multiple embedded channels. That would be excellent, but I'm not holding my breath for that to be implemented anytime soon.

Trevor Asquerthian wrote:If I had to do a job today I'd use the multicam audio as a guide, kept multicam - and alt-drag the audio to a stereo timeline track, flatten then modify clip audio attributes to be stereo - mix 1&2 (i.e. this is the field recorded stereo mix not the multicam mixdown of everything).
Yeah that could work. So if you later needed to change angle, you'd still have the MC there and could switch angles easily. But would then need to repeat all your subsequent steps.

Not sure which is quicker between that method versus just making a backup, then flattening the lot and then Convert To Linked Group. Would need to try both to see them in action.

However you then still have the other issues of Multicams, so it's quite likely you'll want to flatten eventually anyway?
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostSat Sep 04, 2021 12:13 pm

TheBloke wrote:
However you then still have the other issues of Multicams, so it's quite likely you'll want to flatten eventually anyway?


Fact is I was tempted to start my next doc project in Resolve (I pretty much always grade in Resolve) but these kind of issues mean I'll seek the safe harbour of another NLE (PP most likely).
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostSat Sep 04, 2021 1:04 pm

Max Paperno wrote: For my coloring workflow I haven't noticed any particular advantage to flattening either (typically I use "remote" versions and group files from same camera together)
I just noticed this remark. Earlier I actually edited my list of issues with Multicams to add that remote versions don't work right with MCs. But they're working OK for you?

The issue with Multicams and Remote Versions is similar to the lack of timecode. Basically, when grading on an MC, the 'source clip' is the MC itself. So if you have a timeline full of edited MC clips, then switch them all to Remote Versions, every clip from that MC will be considered the same media file - even if you've chosen between lots of different angles within the MC. So they'll all use the same version regardless of source media file or angle chosen

You can see that in this example where I have edited between two angles in an MC clip - every clip shows as "Multicam", and they all have the same Remote icon:
Image

If I then flatten them all, we can see now that they're actually different formats, and only clips from the same source file show as Remote:
Image

So I'm curious how you're able to use Remote Versions effectively without first flattening?

Or are you doing the grading inside the Multicam?
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostSat Sep 04, 2021 3:39 pm

Max Paperno wrote:With flattening it comes out just as you say, getting my original 3 audio tracks back into the final timeline.
Flattening is the round about way of adding the audio to the main timeline instead of the Multicam. End result is identical.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostSat Sep 04, 2021 9:04 pm

TheBloke wrote:Or are you doing the grading inside the Multicam?

I primarily grade on the MC "clip" itself, yes. Not sure I've ever tried it the other way (grading on the timeline which contains the MC). I find it easier to keep track of a few source clips in the MC vs. the dozens/hundreds created after switching angles on the main timeline. Of course the timeline may contain other media besides the MC, which would get graded separately.

I'm aware that a MC "clip" is like compound/etc, but hadn't run into (or noticed) the other issues you mention (except audio). Well, for scaling, yes... but I do most of that in the timeline, not MC (clips inside the MC are left at full/max size/resolution). If I know a clip will never need to be zoomed back out then I'll adjust it in the MC. Or if I want another "angle" with a closeup/zoomed view I may just add that to the MC as a copy of the original clip and zoom/pan on it, so in the timeline it's easy to switch to the closeup "angle."

And yes, though flattening does solve the audio issue, it's a bummer that it needs to happen since there's no way to go back (easily). A copy before flattening is nice of course, but copies have a habit of getting stale very quickly. Remains to be seen which workaround is faster (flatten or add audio to timeline separately), and in which situation. For just a couple source clips re-syncing the audio in the timeline isn't a big deal, but it's a hassle when there are a bunch of them.

I think it would help if there was some way to timecode-sync a file/clip with an MC clip using timecode of one of the MC tracks (w/out flattening first). So at least the "external" audio could be added to a timeline w/out re-syncing based on waveform. Though that would still essentially be a workaround for MC-type clip limitations mentioned already.

Cheers,
-Max
Last edited by Max Paperno on Sun Sep 05, 2021 2:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostSat Sep 04, 2021 10:59 pm

Jim Simon wrote:Flattening is the round about way of adding the audio to the main timeline instead of the Multicam. End result is identical.

But it comes out already synced.

And w/out flattening you're stuck with waveform/manual sync (as far as I can tell). Waveform is great and all, but it's not 100% accurate every time. For me, everything is already synced in the MC clip, re-doing that work is obnoxious.
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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostSun Sep 05, 2021 2:43 pm

You can sync clips in a timeline automatically either with audio or timecode. Right click>Auto Align.

How you get there is incidental, though. The point is, keep usable audio out of the Multicam. Flattening does that. ;)
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Max Paperno

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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostTue Sep 07, 2021 10:09 am

Jim Simon wrote:You can sync clips in a timeline automatically either with audio or timecode. Right click>Auto Align.

Timecode doesn't work when one of the clips being synced is a MC type. Because MC "source" timecode doesn't match any of the actual source clips within the MC. I'm pretty sure we've already covered this, Jim.

Jim Simon wrote:How you get there is incidental, though.

It is not incidental at all. The how is the point of this thread. There are any number of tools which can be used to get the same "final result" but the point here is exactly the tool and how best to use it.

Jim Simon wrote:The point is, keep usable audio out of the Multicam.

Again, the point of this thread is that the audio is already in the MC clip and is already synced.

Jim, I think everyone who uses an NLE is aware that one can drag whatever they need into a timeline, including audio from whatever source. You've made it abundantly clear that is how you prefer to do audio, which is fine. It does not appear that you have anything new to add to this discussion and are now veering into factually incorrect territory (I'm not sure why). Thank you for your past input.

Sincerely,
-Max
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Jim Simon

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Re: Multicam audio with > 2 audio tracks?

PostTue Sep 07, 2021 1:57 pm

Fair points. I concede.

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