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Author Topic: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features  (Read 10781 times)

Pongo

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Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
« 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.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 11:05:21 AM by Pongo »

arlo

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Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
« Reply #1 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.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 12:47:04 PM by arlo »

Pongo

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Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
« Reply #2 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.

arlo

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Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
« Reply #3 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.

Pongo

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Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
« Reply #4 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.



arlo

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Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2014, 01:28:40 PM »
Yes, for existing automation tracks, that should work.

Pongo

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Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
« Reply #6 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!

arlo

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Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
« Reply #7 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.

Pongo

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Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
« Reply #8 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?




arlo

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Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
« Reply #9 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.

Pongo

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Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
« Reply #10 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.



arlo

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Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
« Reply #11 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.

Pongo

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Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
« Reply #12 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.



« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 09:31:02 PM by Pongo »

arlo

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Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
« Reply #13 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)?

Pongo

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Re: Trying to wrap my head around the automation features
« Reply #14 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.