To clarify... I'm mainly interested in advice on steps 1-4: how best to handle the MTS clips and bring them into CS6, especially considering my 3-year-old hardware. Any additional advice on the multicam process as it differs from CS4 would be appreciated, but I can probably figure that out on my own. Thanks again!
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I have a similar setup and do multicam quite a bit. The first step you may want to take (considering the older hardware) is to transcode your mts files to cineform avi as well. AVCHD is really taxing on your system, especially if you're multicamming. If you do this through Prelude, it will take care of the merging for you. But if you're just going to throw it all into a multicam sequence anyway, there's not much point to it. Prospect HD will probably give you a faster transcode (I've found this to be true when using NeoScene... not sure why since the codec is the same).
So here are the steps I would take:
1) Save a copy of your original MTS files to a separate hard drive. This gives you insurance in case one of your drives fails.
2)Transcode everything to Cineform AVI and output to your project folder on your RAID drive.
3) Import transcoded footage into Premiere.
4) Create a "master sequence" in Premiere. Drop all of your footage into this sequence. Each camera gets its own track. Make sure everything is chronologically in order.
5) Sync your footage. This can either be done manually by looking at your audio files and matching the peaks, or you can use software such as PluralEyes.
6) Create another new sequence called "multicam" (or whatever). And drop your "master sequence" into this sequence. It will appear as a multicam clip.
7) Now right-click on the multicam clip and choose "enable multicam" (really, Adobe?), and you should be good.
Might want to invest in an Nvidia card if you're planning on sticking with Premiere. The GPU acceleration stuff is nice.
Also, since the multicam clip takes the audio from whatever is on audio track one of your "master sequence", you should probably just put your master audio track there.
I wouldn't mess around with color correction until you're done with your edit. It'll just slow down the process for you and make the whole project more frustrating to get through.
When you are ready to color correct, just do your camera-matching/tech pass first on your "master sequence" so everything's consistent, then add an adjustment layer in your "multicam" sequence for your creative pass. Or you can export the whole thing as a Cineform avi and take it into After Effects or Speedgrade for color correction. CS6 gives you quite a few options here.
Good luck with your project! I hope this helps.
Thanks Monkey. I'm not familiar with Prelude (of course, because it wasn't in CS4) but I'll give it a shot. I was mainly looking for advice on whether there is a better way, or if my old workflow of joining the clips with MTS_Merger and transcoding to Cineform AVI would still be best with CS6, and you've suggested that it is (or something similar with Prelude). I'll give it a shot. As far as color correction, it will be minimal, just to match the tones of the Panny & Canon videos. Your advice on multicam editing is pretty much how I've been doing it.
I do plan on building a new editing rig in the next 6-12 months following Harm's recent article. I'm looking forward to the speed and ease of having an i7 with 64GB RAM and CUDA acceleration. Until then, I need to have the most efficient workflow for my current system. Thanks again!