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Working with Timecode in Premiere Pro, the right way (Sony A7S3 now supports true timecode!)

Joe Unsworth
April 4, 2024
7 mins

Timecode Multi-Cam in Premiere Pro

Today, I - like many, many others before me (according to Adobe’s forums) - encountered the delight which is Adobe Premiere Pro’s multi-cam settings. To call this feature “unintuitive” would be putting it lightly. This is one of the most confusing things I’ve faced in Premiere Pro to date.

So I thought I would document here - mainly for myself and my video production crew to refer back to in future (but also to help the people of the internet) - the entire process of how to set up a “ready to edit” multi-cam sequence in Premiere Pro.

But first, some pre-requisites

This guide is for creating multi-cam sequences from media that contains timecode metadata. Sony recently released a new firmware update for the Sony A7S3 (Firmware 3.0) and this finally gives the A7S3 the ability to accept timecode metadata over the micro-USB port on the side of the camera.

At Middlebeck Media we’re already heavily invested in the Deity TC-1 timecode system, alongside the trusty Rode Wireless Pro lavalier microphones; so this firmware update from Sony finally gives us the ability to bake this timecode metadata into our A7S3 footage, ready to sync in Premiere Pro in just a few clicks - or so we thought…

If you’re not using timecode in your workflow, this guide may not be completely relevant for you - but it could be worth bookmarking to come back to in future as and when you do venture into the world of timecode. I’ve tried to make the following steps as simple as possible.

Let’s get started

You’ve just wrapped up a shoot, and you or your DIT have offloaded all the media (footage and audio) into a folder on your computer or backup drive. You were using audio recorders and cameras which were all in sync with a master timecode generator, and none of these recorders were using LTC timecode (i.e. via the 3.5mm jack).

Step 1. Import all the media into Premiere Pro, preferably in a folder structure already organised by recording device.

We tend to organise our media into folders as follows:

    • A-CAM
    • B-CAM
    • C-CAM
    • etc
    • LAV 1
    • LAV 2
    • BOOM
    • etc
If you drag-and-drop both the AUDIO and FOOTAGE folders into Premiere, you’ll retain the folder structure inside the Project panel. This will be very helpful for you in just a moment…

Step 2. Go into each folder in the Project panel and add a “Camera Label” value to all clips (both footage and audio). You can add the Camera Label column to the Project panel by right clicking the metadata row at the top, and clicking “metadata display…”, then searching for “Camera Label” and checking the box next to it.

Note: all clips from each recording device should have the same label. For example, every clip from your A-Cam should have the Camera Label set to “A-CAM”, clips from your B-Cam should be titled “B-CAM”, etc.

If you skip this step, each video clip will be added to a separate track in Premiere, and audio clips could be missed out entirely - which is not what we want. You’ll see what this looks like later on in the guide.

Step 3. Once all the clips have been labelled, including your audio, select all files (ensuring the folders are not highlighted), right-click > Create Multi-Camera Source Sequence.

Step 4. See the image below for the settings you should use. Select ‘Timecode’ and check ‘Create single multicam source sequence’ (this part is crucial to ensure all clips from each recording device end up on the same track)

If you don’t check this box, every video clip will be on its own track in the timeline!

Step 5. Set Track Assignments to “Camera Label” (Premiere will use the Camera Label metadata field to determine which clips should go on each track)

Step 6. Check ‘Ignore Hours’ if you want the timeline to be ‘trimmed’ instead of starting from 0:00:00

Step 7. Audio > Sequence Settings: Set to “All Cameras”

Step 8. Audio Channels Preset: Set to “Automatic”

Step 9. Set Camera Names to “Enumerate Cameras”

Click OK, and then right-click your multi-cam sequence in the Project panel > Open in Timeline.

Here are the results

All the clips for each camera have been added to a single track, all of the audio clips have been added to their own separate tracks, and the timeline starts from the first clip (a tiny audio clip that lasted a split second)…

instead of having 15 hours of empty space inserted before the first clip (since I started this test at 3pm, or 15:00hrs). This is what the “Ignore Hours” checkbox does.

And, as mentioned in Step 2, if you do not add labels to all of the clips including the audio…

then you risk having clips not be added to the timeline. As you can see in the below image, one of the lavalier mics was not added to the timeline at all:

This could be missed if you had lots of recording devices for your project and didn’t double check your timeline before starting to work on it. Make sure you add Camera Labels to every clip before creating the multi-cam sequence to avoid this from happening.


Well, there you have it. I hope that was helpful, and I know for a fact that my team and I will be referring back to this page quite a bit in future when we jump into all of our longer-form, timecode-driven edits.

Timecode on the A7S3 really is incredible to have with the latest V3.0 firmware update from Sony, but if you don’t structure things properly in Premiere Pro, you’ll end up wasting a bunch of time troubleshooting - or just manually syncing - which completely defeats the point of working with timecode all together.

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Joe Unsworth
April 4, 2024
7 mins

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