Grouping, Courtesy of Gaming

As you may know, I work a lot in reality TV and specifically with shows that use “Multicam Groups.” Hence,I’ve been doing a lot of grouping lately.  For those whose eyes glaze over at the mention of techie lingo, I’ll put it in layman’s terms.  I’ve been taking multiple shots of the same subject and welding them together so they can be used as a single piece of footage, like a live television director cutting from one camera to another on the fly.

I’ve begun using a method referred to by a lot of my peers as the 1-2-3-4-5-6 technique.  Here’s a piece on the basics of grouping:

The 1-2-3-4-5-6 method is as follows: you create your stack sequence (each layer of video is a camera and you synchronize them in a single sequence- I use the waveform a lot for this) then you put a splice through all layers every time a clip begins or ends.  Now you’re set up.

You then map your keyboard to 1 (mark clip) 2 (go to in) 3 (match frame) 4 (go to out) 5 (mark out) and 6 (make subclip) and create a new bin for groups.

Next, you go to the first scrap of footage in your stack (let’s say you have two shots of exactly the same length, ready to be grouped, just for simplicity’s sake) and you select all layers (in this case, V1, V2)  You play the clips so you’re timeline is focused on the shots you want grouped, and you hit the above numbers in order.  This subclips your mutlicam-to-be-footage into your groups bin.  You deselect the top layer of video and go through the 1-2-3-4-5-6 order again and it will subclip the next level down.  Once you have all your elements of the group in your bin, you can select the subclips and shift-control-G and have a group (select “group by in-point!”)

I color my finished clips red (sometimes you get a shot that’s longer than another and you need to keep subclips of those bits to have all the footage handy, since those bits won’t group), organize the finished bin by color and alt-drag the red clips into a new bin.  Now you have all the work you did on the groups backed up, and you have the clips for the stringout ready to go in their own bin without the extra stuff you used to make them.  Drag those reds (the ones you put into the new bin) into a new sequence and assuming you made them in chronological order in the first place, you’ll have a perfect string out of your footage, grouped or otherwise, that plays like one continuous clip reel.  Great, right?

Well, hitting 1-2-3-4-5-6 can be easy if you have ten or fifteen groups but what if you have sixty?    People make mistakes.  A lot.  Even when you have something so simple a trained dog could do it.  Well, for this, I brought in… a rat.

The R.A.T. 5, specifically.  It’s a gaming mouse.


This device was designed for video gamers who like using a PC.  The extra buttons are intended for special moves (haduken, etc.) or commands that allow careful aiming or firing special weapons.  Great, right?  But useless in the real world.  Well, no.  I used the same driver to program one button to type 1-2-3-4-5-6 and another Shift-control-G.  Now, once I have things synchronized, grouping is a snap.  Because it even has an option for multiple modes, I have one for grouping, one for multicam editing, one for color correction, etc.

There are newer R.A.T. models, but this one is fine.  If you get the bluetooth one, get a white mousepad though.  It’ll help preserve the device’s battery life.