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Remote Control Idea - Scroll Automation

Started by Neill00, September 15, 2021, 07:18:07 AM

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Currently I am using the automation to scroll documents.   I have all the songs timed out fairly well although we don't play to backing tracks or a click.  So I currently have remote control settings on my midi footswitcher to control scroll document up and down.  Would it be possible to add some remote control options to jump up or down in the automation lines?

I'd like to switch to the highlight feature but it offers no way to adjust on the fly. If I use my scroll document up or down control, it's great until the next automation comes up and that puts me back where I was. 

If there was a way to hit the footswtich and have it jump to the next automation line or the previous line and then continue from there it would be really the best of all worlds. 


Do you mean you want to manually skip to the next or previous automation event, but then have the automation track continue running? And it sounds like you're picturing the timing of the remaining automation events being adjusted automatically to run relative to the time that you jumped?


I've considered that the automation events are tied to real elapsed time and I thought that might be an issue.  But essentially yes let's suppose the band starts a little late and I don't get a chance to step on the restart current song footswitch.  The lyrics may start disappearing off the top of the screen before I get to them.  In that case if I could tap my scroll down footswitch one or more times, I could get the correct line highlighted and in the middle of the screen. So I guess the question would be, could it also set the lapsed time to the time associated with the automation line?  I'm not sure there would be any way around it.  Otherwise it would be the same effect as engaging the current scroll document effect.  If this is possible it would be killer.  Of course it could work the other way as well, perhaps the band gets a little ahead of the scroll and you need to scroll up. Perhaps for those who don't have remote control these functions could be added to the layout for 2 and 3 fingered tap or something similar, offering a quick way to adjust the scroll on the fly.


I may not have been clear with regard to your first question.  Yes manually skip to the next or previous automation event and then have the automation continue to run.  If it could adjust the elapsed time on the clock at the same time, which I had guessed is likely necessary, that would be perfect.  You get the lyrics back in sync and the rest of the song plays out as hoped.  If it's a tempo issue you might have to adjust at some later time in the song as well but it still allows some real time control in unforeseen circumstances.


I've put this on my wish list, but I think this would only be useful in the very specific circumstance of using an automation track to do scrolling when not using a backing track or click track. Any other use of automation tracks pretty much requires a backing track or click track for precise timing, and then jumping forward or back in the automation track wouldn't make sense.

A more generally useful idea that's already on my wish list is the ability to step through events in an automation track manually. In that case, an automation track is not really for "automation," but is a pre-programmed list of actions, with manual control over the timing. This could work here if your timing gets off because you could then switch to manual control for the rest of that song, stepping through the remaining automation events. Of course, that's pretty similar to what you already have with your scroll up/down foot switches; you would just need to stop the automation track when your timing is off, and revert to manually scrolling for the rest of that song.


If I wasn't so busy already I wouldn't mind resorting to manually scrolling through the rest of the song, it's just difficult to do that playing guitar and singing.  The mic is on a stand and it's hard to look down so my reaching for footswitches is blind half the time. 

I realize that at this point the automation makes the most sense for people playing to a metronome or backing tracks and for them there's no need for what I'm requesting.  But I think there are alot of us who don't and having used this app for as many years as I have and experimenting with so many different ways to perfect the scrolling, using automation is the fastest and most consistently accurate way to do it.  Right now, I'm just using automation to turn on and off the scroll, with this method I can use the scroll document up and down remotes to adjust and it will last the rest of the song once I make and adjustment.  It's working fairly well but the highlight feature would just be that much better, IF, I could make a quick adjustment on the fly to get back on track.  It offers that ability to land mark the lyric you need really quickly if you've been looking away from the ipad for a bit. 

I really think it could / should become the most utilized way to do lyric scrolling in this app if there is some quick adjustments at hand.  I have noticed that without even programming the default with regular docs or lyrics is to tap the top or the bottom of the screen to move the lyrics up or down.  If you were using the highlight and could implement what I am asking this would be a great way to go to the next or previous automation event.


To be clear, are you wanting to use the lyrics highlighting function (double-tap the left third of a lyrics line)? That works on a line-by-line basis, so I think it would be almost impossible to time that accurately without a backing track.

Have you tried using markers to jump between lyrics sections (verse, verse, chorus, etc)? That seems more useful without a backing track, because the timing wouldn't have to be so precise. You could start with an automation track, but if you needed to start jumping around manually, the lyrics would land in predictable places as opposed to using the plain scroll functions.

My other suggestion would be auto-scrolling, with foot switch buttons mapped to Scroll Document Up/Down, to make quick adjustments if the timing drifts.


Yes I was referring to the highlight feature tapping the left third of the line. What I do now is import the orginal song to bandhelper, then I start recording automation, give myself an 8 count and sync the scroll to the recorded track.  As long as we are fairly close in tempo the scroll works out perfectly.  While I recognize that it's not going to be karaoke perfect using the highlight feature my eye will still be drawn to the area that's highighted as a landmark, if that's not the actual line at least my eyes can quickly track above or below the highlighted line.

If we can't do this feature I'm happy to stick with my current method, it's the best I've come up with so far. I'm using a blue box overlayed for the lyrics to pass through which is almost as good, and it's the reason why I'm confident that I can make this work without metronome or backing tracks.  I just think this would work even better and would be even quicker to set up.


As I play around with this highlight feature for scrolling I'm discovering some other huge advantages to using this method for scrolling over the method I am using now or any other method.

First off, it transcends differences in layout, text size, etc.  Just because of how it works if line 1 is line 1 and line 70 is line 70 in everyone's lyric box the scroll is going to work for them regardless of text size or layout. 

This leads into the second huge advantage which has to do with the way bandhelper defines a line ie; when a line wraps it's still considered that line. Even if you use "tab" to force a break and force the text to wrap to what appears to be another line, it still counts as one line.  This is partly why text size doesn't matter but what it also does is allow band members to embed notes or queues into the lyrics field without screwing up the scroll. As long as they don't use "return" to go to the next line it will all be counted as one line and won't throw off the scroll.  A band member can just go to the end of the line where they want to put the note hit tab and could literally type a complete paragraph. It would make sense to colour code the notes to distinguish from the lyric but it won't throw off the scroll the next lyric will highlight and pop to the middle of the screen as expected.


Just for the record, auto-scrolling automatically adjusts for different layouts or text sizes, and jumping to markers won't be affected by different layouts or text sizes.

Using tabs to force line wrapping makes me a little nervous because that -would- be affected if you changed your text size (pinch-zoom). But it wouldn't be affected by changing between different layouts, because text sizes are scaled automatically to the layout width.

Would you be interested in a function like the lyrics line highlighting that highlighted whole paragraphs instead (defined as a group of text lines separated by one or more empty lines)? Then the timing wouldn't have to be as precise, but you also wouldn't have to rely on line wrapping to lay out your text.


I've used the autoscrolling in the past I just found it takes me longer to get the desired result.  Using automation I literally can get it perfect going through the song in one go. 

I've tested using the line wraps, and for what I was suggesting I don't think it would run up against the issues you're predicting. I would not tab lyrics to force extra lines to be high-lighted.  It's just for example, when you're learning a new song you might want to put some notes in there to remind you of something you need to play.  You could either just type out the note and let it wrap naturally or tab to force it to appear on a line below then just colour that text so it's distinguishable from the lyrics.  The next line of the lyrics would be an actual line and that's what would be highighted next.  The scroll would not be affected in any way.  Nor would it be affected once you're familiar enough with the song that you feel comfortable erasing the notes.

That function with regard to an option of highlighting entire paragraphs would be a great option.   But I still think the ability to adjust on the fly would be necessary.   For the most part these adjustments would only be needed in those instances where something has gone wrong, like you're waiting for someone in the band to finish getting a last minute sip of beer or the drummer launches into the next song before you get a chance to transition to that song, or someone is a little excited and pushing the tempo.  if those things never happened I wouldn't need the ability to adjust anything.  The scrolls I do for the most part work really nicely with either method.


I've gone back and experimented further with some of the other techniques that you suggested for alternates to what I am doing. 

I think if it turns out that you can't figure out a way to add a remote control feature to go to advance or go to previous automation events the idea you suggested of highlighting a paragraph as opposed to single lines would be the best solution.  I experimented with just waiting an double tapping the first line in a paragraph which I think essentially works exactly the same way, it would just be mor slick if it highlighted the whole paragraph instead of just the first line of the paragraph.  Of course it would still be of great use if you could add that remote control feature but at least this way I can resize the lyrics small enough to accomodate the band getting out of time with the scroll.

To that end, would it be possible to add some options to how the highliight snaps be it line by line or by paragraph.  Instead of only having it snap to the middle of the page could you have a setting for 1/3 and maybe 1/4? 


Do you mean selecting the highlighted lyric would move it to the top third of the page rather than the middle of the page?


Yes, that's exactly what I mean. I think 1/3 would work but I suggested 1/3 and 1/4 as options because I'm not the only guy using the app.  Given that the first line currently jumps to the centre of the page, that means everything you've already sung occupies half the page and the paragraph you're about to sing starts at the halfway point so the lyrics you are about to sing great as much real estate as the lyrics you've already sung. Some people may love that but an option for 1/2 1/3 and 1/4 might be nice for customizing that to ones taste or if not taste what seems to work the best.  You could experiment and see what seems to work best for you.


I'll put it on my wish list ... but the point of scrolling to the middle of the screen is that the timing could be a little off in either direction and you could still see the needed lyrics.