Live Edit or Post Production Edit

Generally speaking, there are two ways to edit a live concert video captured using multiple cameras. The first is to select the desired edits while the event is occurring (“live edit”). The other approach is capture the video with multiple cameras so that it can be edited into a refined sequence – some time after the event – in “post production.”

The “live production edit” approach involves mixing all of the camera feeds together (using a video mixer/selector) and then having a director select shots/edit, in real time, to produce a complete sequence at the end of the show. The “post production” approach involves taking all of the raw content from each camera back to an editing system (e.g like a PC or Mac running Adobe PremierePro, Apple Final Cut Pro, Pinnacle, or Avid MediaComposer), loading up the raw content and selecting the desired shots, angles, and timing in a more controlled environment. There are obviously pros and cons to each approach.

Live Edit - A big advantage of the live event approach is that it produces an edited sequence of the show very quickly (it could technically be done at the end of the show). Some disadvantages with this approach are that it requires special equipment (video mixer/switchers) to connect and mix/select the video feeds and special skills to communicate (and direct) the different cameras to coordinate their shots and the ability to make split second decisions to select the right edits in real time as the show progresses. This also requires that all of the cameras be wired back to a central mixer, meaning that the mobile camera operators need to drag a lot of wire along with their cameras as they move around the venue. Often, this means hiring another person to manage the wire as the camera operator scurries around. This approach requires a lot more coordination and communication between the director and the different cameras – to make sure the desired shots are available to select when needed and so the director does not decide to cut to a specific camera right when the operator decides to change shots (to catch a different angle or zoom in to get a closer shot). In addition, to really capture the most powerful sequences, the director really needs to know the musical arrangement and even specific stage action (like where the performers will be moving) in great detail to capture the best edit in real time.

Post Production Edit - a big benefit of editing the show in a post production environment is that it allows you to make more precise edits and to really select the best shot (with the best timing).  This is because the different camera angles and options can be reviewed carefully and different approaches attempted in a much more controlled environment (out side of the hectic conditions of the live event).  The editing process does take some time using this approach, but it is time well spent.  Also, because each camera does not need to be physically connected to a central switch/source, the camera operators are free to move more easily around the venue and the stage without worrying about dragging a lot of wire behind them. Without a central view of the shots captured by each camera and a director to direct what shots are needed, more coordination and planning might be necessary so that each camera operator knows what to capture and that you don’t end up with all cameras with the same shot (more on this in capture strategies).

Of course, sometimes, video producers choose a combination of both approaches – where they do a “live edit” but also capture the raw material from each camera so that they can supplement the live edit with more carefully selected edits.

The approach discussed on mostly focuses on using the “post production” approach – where all raw content is edited later.

Currently Posted:

Other articles coming soon:

  • Video Capture and Camera Use – Framing the Shots and Just What to Capture
  • Coordinating and Synchronizing Video from Multiple Cameras
  • Types of Cameras Available – Pros and Cons
  • The Importance of High Quality Audio – How to Capture High Quality Audio
  • Multiple Camera Video Editing
  • Editing System Options
  • DVD Replication and Duplication
  • DVD Authoring
  • Distribution and Marketing Options

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