How to produce a live concert video on a budget – Video post production

This is where it all comes together. This for me is the most time consuming part by far. Staying organized and setting things up correctly from the start will be a big help. I am currently working in Final Cut Studio but I have also edited concert footage in Sony Vegas. Both are really great programs. These are the steps:

Capture video

Setup project

Import and sync video

Import final audio mixes

Camera cuts, transitions, edits…

Capture Video. If you were diligent and labeled all of your tapes, this step will be much easier. The one thing that you will need is time. Lots of it. Three or four cameras recording two hours of video each means six to eight hours of real-time capture. Before you start capturing it’s crucial to make sure that your capture settings are correct. Most importantly, if you shot widescreen you may need to capture DV “anamorphic” to avoid having your video look squished. Otherwise you’ll capture standard DV. Also be aware that it will be NTSC in the U.S. and PAL for many other countries (If you’re not sure do some research first).

Setup Project. For DV footage I set the project to “NTSC DV – 720 x 480 – 29.97 fps”. This always works for me.

Import and sync video. This step can be a little tricky. High budget productions use expensive equipment to sync cameras together with time code that many video editing software programs can read. We don’t have that luxury and will need to sync our camera shots manually. This is why I previously stressed the importance of keeping all cameras running until the tape or the show end. Otherwise you will need to re-sync every time a camera stops. The process depends on the software that you’re using, but in general you will need to find a matching point on each camera and mark it. The software will then use that point to align all video clips. In Sony Vegas you can use a great plug-in called Vasst Ultimate. In Final Cut Pro the function is built-in and you will need to mark either an in or an out point and “Make Multiclip”. Even more affordable solutions like Magix Movie Edit Pro now support multiclip video editing. If your software doesn’t support multiclip editing don’t give up. You can still stack your video tracks on the timeline and manually make your edits that way. It’s not as slick and takes a little longer, but it works.

Import Final Audio Mixes. Use the existing audio from one of the cameras to sync the final audio mixes. Zoom in close and look for transients to match up. You could also wait until the very end to fly in the final audio.

Camera cuts, transitions, edits… This is the fun part. Choose your cuts, add transitions, fades, text etc… This is where you can make the video look the way that you want. Maybe you like fast cuts with lots of action, or longer ones with slower transitions. The music may help you to make these decisions. Try out some video effects here as well. Like all effects in audio and video production, it very easy to over-use them so proceed with caution. If you’ve got a good performance, good shots and great sounding audio maybe you don’t need any effects at all. I like to use a little color correction when needed, at least to balance levels.

Once you get your video to look and sound the way that you want you’re ready to deliver it.

About Dan Abreu

Music, Audio, Video, Technology and other fun stuff
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