Monthly Archives: February 2014

MultiCam Editing

A co-worker recently asked me about how to merge multiple camera shots of the same event into one video. I didn’t know the answer. Turns out to be not such a simple thing. However, it sounds like the available software is rapidly catching up with this feature/need.

So, I thought I’d share what I’ve found so far:

The best thing seems to be to output an SMPTE time code to an audio track on each camera. There is a free android app to do this, then I think you just wire the output of your phone to the various camera microphone inputs. This technique is called “jam coding”. Here is an article on the process. Then, there is software, like JamSync (~$250) to automatically sync things up. I think some of the fancier paid applications might have this built-in – not sure.

The advantage of Jam Syncing is that if the cameras are at different frame rates, or they turn off/on at multiple different times (i.e. camera A got lost power for 5 minutes while a battery was swapped, etc), then the software can often recover.
Otherwise the best thing seems to be syncing via the audio. Numerous blog posts say that doing it manually with the video yields worse results and is more time consuming than doing it with the waveforms in the audio.
The good news is that things like adobe premier ($700-800) (not elements) or final cut pro (the link has a bunch of audi footage) (mac only, $300) will do this for you. Also there are 3rd party tools, like plural eyes ($200) that supposedly do it faster and better.
There is a website, called switchcam that will do it, but it is pretty expensive to export your video back out of the website.
There are open source, multi platform non-linear editors (NLE’s) freely available, like openshotnova cut (funded on kickstarted, but not available yet) and pitivi, but they don’t really seem to do the multi-cam thing well – yet (link also has more links on howto’s for various paid software packages). Here’s a good post on what open source NLE’s (mostly don’t) support multi cam.

3 Reasons to skip the Samsung 4.3 update

Ok, so there are lots of posts around the web about why you should not update your Samsung Galaxy/Note XX phone to 4.3, which Verizon pushed on me a few weeks ago.

  • Battery life now sucks.
  • Touchscreen response is much worse.
  • As of Android 4.3, USB Mass Storage device mode is no longer supported. You have to use some wierd Microsoft MTP or PTP – basically music device or picture device, that is slower, and requres extra software to be install on many (older or linux) computers.This part aparently has a a little bit of a technical explanaintion, relating to licensing fees on the FAT filesystem. Doesn’t matter. I still don’t like it.
  • If you ever want to go back to the stock (or older) versions, you can’t without a JTAG programmer (ie a piece of specialized hardware), or else you’ll “brick” your phone. And depending on the sources that you read, you might even “brick” your phone by rooting it (seems like it depends on if you change the OS version at the same time or not).