VSE: load multiple clips, arrange/space by file creation timestamp?

Summary: lots (~100) of clips from 3 sources - how can I synchronise them to 1 continuous audio track?

I want to edit multi-camera footage of an event using Vide Sequence Editor. I want to edit it “on-the-fly” using MultiCam. I have:

  • One continuous audio recording for my main audio track;
  • A powerpoint presentation - annoyingly, I failed to record the timings as I gave the presentation, as I could have then just exported it as a movie which would match the recorded soundtrack. I can recreate that easily enough though.
    = Video (and audio) from two separate cameras. What would have been nice if the camera operators had kept the cameras running all the time (like I asked… grrr), as then it would have been easy to synch the 4 tracks (audio, powerpoint,cam1,cam2). However, they have each created dozens of clips, with gaps in between. From the look of it they still recorded about 90% of the duration of the event, so they didn’t even save that much SD-card space!

Is there any way that I can have Blender import these clips all nicely spaced out (rather than all butted up against each other) so that I can then group-select them and easily line them up with each other and the audio track? Doing each one individually will be a massive pain in the lower back. I imagine there might be some internal coding in the source video files (.mov) which say when each clip (or even frame) was recorded, but I’m not sure. Each camera’s file creation dates should be properly spaced out relative to each other, though the clocks themselves were not set correctly (one is about an hour out, the other about a year!)

Can Blender do this?

I have an idea to write a (non-Blender) script which will examine each file, determine its duration, calculate its start time (assuming file creation time is when the clip ends) and then create appropriately-named blank padding video files using avisynth which will fill the time between end of one file and the beginning of the next. Then I can just import the whole sequence (including those padding clips) and they should end up properly spaced out, give or take a frame here and there. That should still be quicker than manually synching each one. Of course I’d rather not do that if Blender can already do that for me.

Any suggestions?

p.s. It’s not an animation question, but I plan to use Blender for animation in future, so this is a learning experience for the package as a whole. So a suggestion other than “use a different video editor” would be appreciated, even if it is a confident assertion than Blender can’t (currently) do what I am asking.

As far as I know (I’ve used the VSE a lot), it is not built in. Great thing about blender is anything is possible, and your script idea seems reasonable. Maybe run it by a developer, they might know a shortcut so you can script in blender directly and achieve the same results. And then you can share your fancy script with the community and improve the program! haha. But seriously, good luck. It can get really frustrating working with so much content and doing repetitive tasks.