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Set List Maker => Other Help => Topic started by: Pongo on July 17, 2014, 10:20:26 AM

Title: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 17, 2014, 10:20:26 AM
I'm a seasoned musician with a lot of studio experience. I understand how automation works. I also have a great sense of rhythm and can certainly tap my foot (or index finger touching the screen in my ios device) in time with a song.


In SLM 3.4, I had setup all of my songs to use the song selection plays recording, opens document and plays automation. With this setup, I could record automation as the recording was playing (mostly to send midi preset/patch change data). Aside from the overdubbing issues that I was encountering (on both of my devices), I was able to at least record one layer of automation.

I'm happy to report that the overdubbing issues seem to have been fixed with the release of SLM 4-4.0.3, for which I am very grateful.

My attempt to now add a second layer of automation (in 4.0.3) to songs that have automation (in 3.4) is yielding terrible results! For example:
As the recording is playing, I tap the automation icon (which turns it off) and then tap and hold to select `record'. I manually tap the screen to send midi presets. I realize that the event is recorded when my finger leaves the screen, but again...I know where beat one is, in any given measure. So, even though I am quickly tapping the midi icon AT beat one*, when I play back the automation that same event is about 1-1/2 measures out of synch. Is it not possible for the automation to know that I want all subsequent automation layers to start from 0:00.00? I thought that this would respond like a punch-in, in the recording world. No?

1. If I were able to see the event in the original automation for the `play recording' with song selection from SLM 3.4, would it not be at 0:00.00?

2. Is it not possible for the automation track to follow the recording, if it is part of the song selection setting? If I record new automation based on what I'm hearing, why is SLM not following the same absolute time of what I'm hearing?

3. Do I now need to disable the song selection plays recording and now record it as an automation event for every song?



* Since most midi change events will need to hit slightly before beat one, I realize that I will still need to edit the timing of each event, but...having to shift an event by 2 seconds (+/-) seems crazy.


Again, I thank you for your time.
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: arlo on July 17, 2014, 11:30:15 AM
Song selection actions and automation tracks are separate features. Think of an automation track like a multi-track tape deck and a song selection action as a basic stereo deck in your studio and the two are not synced together. You wouldn't want to play a rhythm track from the stereo deck and record your overdubs onto the multi-track deck; it would be impossible to play them back in sync later. Instead, you would need to copy your rhythm track onto one track of the multi-track tape, then add your overdubs onto the same tape.

In other words, yes, you should record an automation event for starting your recording as part of the automation track, instead of starting your recording from a song selection action.

So here's the workflow for recording multiple layers of an automation track that are synced to a backing track:

1) Turn off all song selection actions.
2) Select a song and start recording a new automation track.
3) Tap the recording button to start the recording. This becomes the first event in the automation track.
4) Record other events as the automation track plays.
5) Stop recording the automation track.
6) Rewind the recording to the beginning using the recording toolbar, or reselect the song if your layout doesn't show a recording toolbar.
7) Start recording the automation track again. You will hear the recording start to play from the previous automation event.
8) Record more events as the automation track plays.
9) Stop recording the automation track.
10) Repeat steps 6-9 as needed.
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 17, 2014, 12:02:11 PM
Ug...which means that all of my previously recorded automation (for each song) is now worthless, since it was timed (audibly) to what I was `hearing' as I recorded it. I thought that the song selection feature basically worked like SMPTE, or even midi time code, to keep everything aligned within the song, but...I guess not.

I can see how your detailed instructions work, moving forward, but what I still do not understand is where the automation event that would align with the start of the recording (in SLM 3.4) would `hit' on the absolute timeline, if in fact it was shown in the automation event log. Even though it's not visible, it has to be somewhere.

And yes...item 8 (:) ) is the best part of SLM 4, IMHO.
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: arlo on July 17, 2014, 12:55:45 PM
I can see how your detailed instructions work, moving forward, but what I still do not understand is where the automation event that would align with the start of the recording (in SLM 3.4) would `hit' on the absolute timeline, if in fact it was shown in the automation event log. Even though it's not visible, it has to be somewhere.

There is no "absolute" timeline that runs outside of the automation track timeline and connects events triggered separately from the automation track. I remember you saying a few months ago that some of your events were firing a second or two off from when you recorded them, so in retrospect I think you were seeing the same problem then, due to starting the recording separately from the automation track.
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 17, 2014, 01:16:47 PM
So, would this work:

1. Turn off song selection action to play recording (while leaving: open document, play automation, send midi enabled)
2. Leave the existing automation as-is and then record an automation overdub to play the recording, as quickly as my finger can tap the play icon.
3. Manually adjust the timing of the recording event, to match what I had with SLM 3.4.


This seems to be the quickest way, since I would only need to chase the original automation by adjusting only one [new] event- the recording playback, as opposed to either starting from scratch or, worse yet, having to adjust each and every automation event.

Thanks Arlo.


Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: arlo on July 17, 2014, 01:28:40 PM
Yes, for existing automation tracks, that should work.
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 17, 2014, 02:15:50 PM
Thank you! I plan to dive into this tonight.

Oh...and I know it's redundant, but thanks again for creating something that will certainly be part of your creative legacy and for sharing it with everyone here...and beyond!
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: arlo on July 18, 2014, 09:00:31 AM
Oh...and I know it's redundant, but thanks again for creating something that will certainly be part of your creative legacy and for sharing it with everyone here...and beyond!

You're welcome!

By the way, when recording your playback events onto your existing automation tracks, I think you would just need to adjust the times of those events back to 0 to match the timing of the song selection action.
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 18, 2014, 12:08:47 PM
Here's what I've discovered:

Since `Settings>Automation>Play Recording' is a global setting, I've simply left it enabled and then added an automation overdub to turn off the recording in the show. I then, adjust the timing of that new event to be at 0.01 seconds.

This way, the new recording event, in essence, turns off the `Settings>Automation>Play Recording'.

Since all of my songs have been using that global setting, this seems to be even easier than following step 1, in what I previously proposed.


For future updates, would you consider putting the automation options at the song level, rather than a global setting?



Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: arlo on July 18, 2014, 03:14:06 PM
Since `Settings>Automation>Play Recording' is a global setting, I've simply left it enabled and then added an automation overdub to turn off the recording in the show. I then, adjust the timing of that new event to be at 0.01 seconds.

Do you mean you're doing this on all your new automation tracks instead of adding your playback events into your old automation tracks? I guess that would work, but it seems better to have all your songs work the same way and cleaner to have all this functionality combined into the automation track.

For future updates, would you consider putting the automation options at the song level, rather than a global setting?

I would like the move the song selection actions to the layout level, so you could have different behavior in different layouts, but I think it would be too much work for users to set these at the song level. In most cases you'd want every song to behave the same way, so then you'd have to set these up for each song. Going back to make any changes would then require re-editing every song.
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 18, 2014, 03:40:21 PM
Do you mean you're doing this on all your new automation tracks instead of adding your playback events into your old automation tracks? I guess that would work, but it seems better to have all your songs work the same way and cleaner to have all this functionality combined into the automation track.

Yes, because I want to use the Automation>Play Recording for all songs and this seemed like the best way to `fix' those that already have at least one layer of automation.

Disabling this feature seems pointless, as I would then have to record an automation track for every song, to at least open the document [lyrics] and start playback of the recording.

I would like the move the song selection actions to the layout level, so you could have different behavior in different layouts, but I think it would be too much work for users to set these at the song level. In most cases you'd want every song to behave the same way, so then you'd have to set these up for each song. Going back to make any changes would then require re-editing every song.

That makes sense, I guess.


Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: arlo on July 18, 2014, 05:01:27 PM
Disabling this feature seems pointless, as I would then have to record an automation track for every song, to at least open the document [lyrics] and start playback of the recording.

All right, I didn't realize that you wanted to start playback for every song but not all songs will have automation tracks. Then what you're doing makes sense.

However, opening the document is a separate song selection action and normally does not need to be synchronized with your other events, so you could continue using a song selection action for that.
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 25, 2014, 09:21:38 PM
Hi Arlo,

So, I decided to go through all of my songs (that have an automation layer already) and added an event to play the recording (at 0.01), and disabled the song selection action to play a recording, but left `Play Automation Track' enabled, but...the recording icon doesn't `play'.

I've verified that the event is still in the automation track, but...nothing happens. I tap on the speaker icon as the song is `playing' but it doesn't do anything. As soon as I tap the automation icon (to turn it off) I can then tap the speaker icon.

Any ideas?

Thanks.



Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: arlo on July 26, 2014, 05:11:05 PM
When you sent your support email, you had the Perform layout selected and in that layout you had Multiple Recording Buttons placed onto the song view as well as in the song list, so two sets of recording buttons are visible at the same time -- is that correct?

Does the problem go away if you remove one of those sets of recording buttons?

Does it go away if you add a single recording button to the song list (left column) or the song info (right column)?
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 27, 2014, 01:26:29 PM
When you sent your support email, you had the Perform layout selected and in that layout you had Multiple Recording Buttons placed onto the song view as well as in the song list, so two sets of recording buttons are visible at the same time -- is that correct?

Does the problem go away if you remove one of those sets of recording buttons?

Does it go away if you add a single recording button to the song list (left column) or the song info (right column)?

Hi Arlo,

Unfortunately, removing either set of multiple recording buttons has no effect. I can see the automation event to `play recording', but it's not playing. All other events (MIDI preset changes and scrolling of my document) is working...just no recording playback. I've even tried recording a fresh layer of automation on songs that only have a single recording attached and have not ever had an automation track...same result.

I've realized that this way of working poses another problem, if I have multiple recordings attached to a song.

If I use the original song selection action to play the recording, the first recording is selected, by default. This means that if I want to play back one of the other recordings, I simply edit the song and move the recording that I want to play, to the top of the list. This takes < 30 seconds and has been working fine. The problem with disabling this song selection action and adding an automation event to play the recording, is that it will only play the recording that was selected when the automation was recorded. So, there's no way to change the recording (file) at all.

Is it possible (in a future update) to not have the automation event record the actual recording file, but rather treat it as it does in the song selection action...which would simply play the recording that is assigned as the primary recording. If not, I guess I'll be forced to revert back to the way that I was working in V 3.4, which at least allowed me to `work'. It was only because I was getting the automation errors (crashes), when overdubbing, that made me want to even upgrade to V4. As I mentioned previously, those automation errors have not appeared in V4...which is great!

Also...I have seen a few automation events (pertaining to a `play recording' command) that have (null) after the event. These are reminiscent of the automation errors that I was experiencing in V3.4

What would cause such an event?

Thanks for your help with this, as until I can resolve my issues, I'm kinda stuck moving forward.

Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: arlo on July 27, 2014, 02:24:39 PM
Quote
Unfortunately, removing either set of multiple recording buttons has no effect.

Did you try adding a single recording button to your layout?

Quote
I've realized that this way of working poses another problem, if I have multiple recordings attached to a song.
If I use the original song selection action to play the recording, the first recording is selected, by default. This means that if I want to play back one of the other recordings, I simply edit the song and move the recording that I want to play, to the top of the list. This takes < 30 seconds and has been working fine.

Instead of editing the song to change the sequence of recordings -- which cannot be recorded in your automation track -- you should either play the desired recording from the multiple recording buttons, or tap and hold the single recording button to play the desired recording from the popup menu. Then the automation track will include the recording number that you are playing and play back the same recording number later. (So you would generally not want to change the sequence of attached recordings after creating an automation track like that.)

Quote
Also...I have seen a few automation events (pertaining to a `play recording' command) that have (null) after the event.

Can you post a screen shot?
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 27, 2014, 03:11:02 PM
Here's a screen shot.

Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 27, 2014, 03:15:31 PM
Did you try adding a single recording button to your layout?
This works! Any idea why it would work, while a multiple recording button does not?

Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: arlo on July 27, 2014, 03:37:20 PM
Quote
This works! Any idea why it would work, while a multiple recording button does not?

Currently the recording functionality is only loaded if the current layout contains a recording button. I'm considering changing that so that you can play recordings via a remote control action or automation event even if you have a stripped-down layout with no recording button. But I'd consider that a feature that doesn't exist, rather than a bug.

However, the recording functionality should be loaded and accessible if the layout contains a set of multiple recording buttons, so that sounds like a bug. I'll check that for the next update.

I'll check the (null) display, too, which may well be a symptom of the problem.
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 28, 2014, 10:06:04 AM
Hi Arlo,

Well...so much for the short lived success. This only `worked' on one of my songs, which just happened to be the first song in the show. I then edited the show to move the first song into a different slot, and it still works. I was just wondering if it was working because it was the first song in the show (to minimize your de-bugging process).

I've tried the exact same process on other songs and it does NOT work. Now, the only way for me to actually play a recording from the Shows window, is if I turn off `play automation track' in the Song Selection Actions menu and then manually tap the recording button....which obviously isn't an option, since there IS automation data that needs to follow the recording.



Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 28, 2014, 10:14:04 AM

Instead of editing the song to change the sequence of recordings -- which cannot be recorded in your automation track -- you should either play the desired recording from the multiple recording buttons, or tap and hold the single recording button to play the desired recording from the popup menu. Then the automation track will include the recording number that you are playing and play back the same recording number later. (So you would generally not want to change the sequence of attached recordings after creating an automation track like that.)



Sorry, but I don't quite understand your suggestion.

If the automation is exactly the same, for each of the attached recordings, how can I tap and hold the single recording button to hear that particular recording...and how would it then be in sync with the automation, if the recording is the first event (and plays from 0.00)?

Since you're saying that this will not be possible from the song level edit menu (to simply move the recording that I want to play, to the top of the list, making it the priority recording), I guess I will need to make multiple versions of the same song.

I have recordings without a keyboard track (for when I play with a keyboard player), and without a drum track (when I have a drummer). Having to make 3 individual songs seems counter intuitive, since SLM has the ability to play multiple recordings attached to a single song, but perhaps not with an automation track that has a command to play the recording.



Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 28, 2014, 02:11:24 PM
Ok, here's the latest update:

When I posted my comment yesterday, stating "This works"! I immediately went through all of my songs, adding the same automation event (play recording) and then adjusting the timing of that event to be the first event (@ 0.00).

After going through all of the songs in my show (~50) this morning, I have found 2 other songs that were properly playing the recording from within the automation track...so, a total of 3 out of 50?!?! Of those that are working, there's another `interesting' issue. Even though the play recording event is at 0.00, the MIDI patch changes are all hitting slightly late. These were hitting EXACTLY where I needed them when I had the Song Selection Action>Play Recording, enabled. How can a recording start earlier than 0.00, which must be what was happening in the song selection action>play recording enabled?!?!

I've also experienced more crashes than I can count, which makes me wonder how reliable 4.04 is...at least for me. Needless to say, my enthusiasm and confidence in the reliability of this [otherwise] amazing app are deteriorating.



Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: arlo on July 28, 2014, 02:18:20 PM
I have recordings without a keyboard track (for when I play with a keyboard player), and without a drum track (when I have a drummer). Having to make 3 individual songs seems counter intuitive, since SLM has the ability to play multiple recordings attached to a single song, but perhaps not with an automation track that has a command to play the recording.

In that situation you can keep doing what you're doing, which I guess is editing your songs before each show to change the sequence of the recordings attached to each song. I was suggesting a more automated approach, but that would be for people who want to play different recordings during a single performance, which I now see is not what you are trying to do.

I didn't suggest making separate copies of your songs. I don't have any other suggestions for the situation of wanting to swap a batch of backing tracks from one show to another.
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: arlo on July 28, 2014, 02:27:27 PM
After going through all of the songs in my show (~50) this morning, I have found 2 other songs that were properly playing the recording from within the automation track...so, a total of 3 out of 50?!?! Of those that are working, there's another `interesting' issue. Even though the play recording event is at 0.00, the MIDI patch changes are all hitting slightly late. These were hitting EXACTLY where I needed them when I had the Song Selection Action>Play Recording, enabled. How can a recording start earlier than 0.00, which must be what was happening in the song selection action>play recording enabled?!?!

I don't know what you're referring to with 3 songs out of 50. I also can't tell if this is the same problem, or a new problem or two new problems. If it's a new problem, a message from Help > Request Tech Support that includes a specific example of the problem would be the best way to proceed. It gets confusing tacking additional issues onto an existing forum thread.

Quote
I've also experienced more crashes than I can count, which makes me wonder how reliable 4.04 is...at least for me. Needless to say, my enthusiasm and confidence in the reliability of this [otherwise] amazing app are deteriorating.

I can only investigate a bug report if I know the device details (from Help > Request Tech Support) and the exact actions that triggered the problem.
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 28, 2014, 02:29:42 PM
In that situation you can keep doing what you're doing, which I guess is editing your songs before each show to change the sequence of the recordings attached to each song. I was suggesting a more automated approach, but that would be for people who want to play different recordings during a single performance, which I now see is not what you are trying to do.

I didn't suggest making separate copies of your songs. I don't have any other suggestions for the situation of wanting to swap a batch of backing tracks from one show to another.

Yes, but this appears to be somewhat of a catch 22, since I wanted to know NOT use the Song Selection Action>Play Recording, so that I can align everything in my automation tracks to truly follow what I hear...which is the recording. Had I not encountered the ongoing automation overdubbing problems with SLM 3.4, that forced me to use that option (since I couldn't overdub ANYTHING...even a simple play recording event) I'd probably not be worrying about how I change the way I use SLM now.

So, based on what I've put us both through with yet `another problem' with how I'd like to use SLM...I guess I'll have no choice but to revert back to what I was doing in 3.4 and just be thankful that the automation bug has been fixed.


Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 28, 2014, 02:32:05 PM
I don't know what you're referring to with 3 songs out of 50. I also can't tell if this is the same problem, or a new problem or two new problems. If it's a new problem, a message from Help > Request Tech Support that includes a specific example of the problem would be the best way to proceed. It gets confusing tacking additional issues onto an existing forum thread.

It's the same problem.

I can only investigate a bug report if I know the device details (from Help > Request Tech Support) and the exact actions that triggered the problem.


I did that last Friday.
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 28, 2014, 02:54:50 PM


I'll check the (null) display, too, which may well be a symptom of the problem.

I think this `(null)' event may be a key issue, since this was also what I was experiencing with the automation problems in V3.4.
Perhaps once you're able to determine what would cause such an event, which doesn't appear to be something that a user should be able to do...even if they wanted to, it will shed some light on the problem.
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: arlo on July 28, 2014, 03:32:05 PM
I did that last Friday.

You sent a support message in reference to the original issue in this thread, but you haven't stated what actions trigger the crashes that you're mentioning now.
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 28, 2014, 03:48:48 PM
You sent a support message in reference to the original issue in this thread, but you haven't stated what actions trigger the crashes that you're mentioning now.
No, my support request said:
Please see my latest post in your forum regarding my automation problem.

The support email was sent at 9:33 PM, so the post that I was referencing was my post in this thread at 9:21 PM. You followed-up with a post at 5:11 PM, the following day, so...this is very much related to this problem as well, since prior to this I had not encountered a single crash, on either of my devices (each running 4.0.4).
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 28, 2014, 04:48:52 PM
Arlo,

Here's some new information:

As I was going though the songs that are not playing the recording, even though it's the first event in the automation, I noticed that the command was `Play Recording [followed by the name of the recording] as shown in the first and third attachments. After deleting the event and trying the exact same thing again, by selecting the song in the show and quickly tapping the automation button (to turn it off) and then quickly tapping and holding the button (to select `record'), I then tapped the recording button, before exiting the automation. NOW, the first command is `Recording Start/Stop' (see attachment two and four). In any event, this Recording Start/Stop command is working (at least for now), but why would the exact same procedure yield a completely different command?

None of these songs have multiple recordings attached to them.

I hope this information is useful.

Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: arlo on July 28, 2014, 09:40:32 PM
No, my support request said:
Please see my latest post in your forum regarding my automation problem.

The support email was sent at 9:33 PM, so the post that I was referencing was my post in this thread at 9:21 PM. You followed-up with a post at 5:11 PM, the following day, so...this is very much related to this problem as well, since prior to this I had not encountered a single crash, on either of my devices (each running 4.0.4).

I haven't seen in any of your recent posts the steps required to reproduce a crash. If I missed it, please provide a link to it, or better yet, send it to me as a tech support request.

In the future, if you want to reference a specific forum post, please provide a link to that post.
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on July 29, 2014, 08:24:44 AM
*sigh*

IMHO, the crashes are somehow linked to this same problem. Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I'm hopeful that once this issue is resolved, the crashes will be resolved as well.

So, what do you think about the different automation commands that are being generated?

Better yet, how can I get `Recording Start/Stop' command consistently, since this command seems to work!

Thanks
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: arlo on July 29, 2014, 10:03:25 AM
So, what do you think about the different automation commands that are being generated?

I'll look into that before the next update.
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features *solved*
Post by: Pongo on July 29, 2014, 10:35:56 AM
Thanks Arlo.

At this point, I would like to have you lock this thread, as I have now been able to update all of my songs, by deleting and re-attaching the `play recording' command in the automation track(s). No idea why the command names were changed, but it seems to have worked.


Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: arlo on August 05, 2014, 11:40:27 PM
I have seen a few automation events (pertaining to a `play recording' command) that have (null) after the event. What would cause such an event?

I've checked into this and it looks like the (null) in the automation edit window is a result of automating the playback of a recording that has an empty artist or album field in iTunes. This will be fixed in the upcoming version 4.0.5 update, but unfortunately you would have to delete this event from the automation track and re-record the playback event with that version to make it work with the multiple recording buttons.

This problem only happens when recording the audio playback event from the multiple recording buttons, because in that case the automation event includes a pointer to the specific recording that was played. When recording an audio playback event from a single recording button, the automation event simply plays the default recording attached to a song, so the title/artist/album doesn't matter.

Aside from the empty artist or album issue, recording and playing automation using the multiple recording buttons versus the single recording button should work fine.
Title: Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
Post by: Pongo on August 06, 2014, 10:30:00 AM
Thanks Arlo.

FWIW, I was having similar (null) messages [MANY] in V 3.4, which was tied to the automation overdubbing issues that I could never resolve.

None of my songs [ in 3.4] had a multiple recording button associated with them. The difference then was that the Automation (null) message would show as the only event after my overdub and had wiped out all previously recorded automation.