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mjdamico23

AVG time to sequence a song

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I'm really curious, what is an average time it takes to sequence a song ???  I'm trying to do away with purchasing and getting copies of others, but damn.....I feel like it's taking an eternity for a song.  For example, my son is wanting a Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer song and well over 4 hours and I only have 50 seconds barely completed.  64 channels.

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I suspect it differs from person to person and based on skill. I use the wizards well and then personally micro manage my sequences pretty tightly. I'd rather have less songs that are very clean than a ton of songs of which a few of them bug me if Im watching them.

 

I'd say a sequence from beginning to end FROM scratch takes my about 3-5 hours per minute of song.

 

Than add some more time per song for things I see when I test drive them outside.

 

So your time spent is not inappropriate.

 

That's why you see people share. You can take someone elses timings and use them in your song to save time.

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That makes me feel a little better........Tried the Superstar for Instant Sequence -- would be great if I didn't have regular lights, so that was a waste of time.  Not a pro with the other wizards, but they do help!

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It is something that get easier with time. A lot of what will determine how long a song is going to take will depend on the elements in a display, versus what you want to do with it. (Or in my case, what the client wants done.)

 

If you haven't found the Beat Wizard in the Sequence Editor yet, go find it. It will be a big help. It does a very good job on most songs* determining the beat for you. Once you have the beat you can start laying out effects for that song.

 

* If the song has time signature changes, ie, 4/4 to 3/4 time, then the beat wizard will have some issues with those. 

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I spend about 5-10hrs of actual sequencing per song. I can't ever do it in one sitting though. So in reality it takes about a week per song. haha

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I've been sequencing since 2005. I have seen a lot of great sequences and a lot of terrible sequences.
As mentioned, depending on how many channels, length and complexity of song and your interactive skills with the channels and timing thru the computer, 4 hours for 50 minutes isn't too bad at all.

Some people are musically inclinded, others can't even dance to a beat.
It would take me that long back in the day.
Now it's more like 2 to 3 hours a minute on average (or longer). But I've increased in channels too.
Of course I like mine to be precise and right in time. I'm my own worst critic.

I've seen a lot of sequences out there that are right on with timing, but didn't put much more into the way the display animates with the music. Or displays that had sequenced songs without really dissecting each beat, note or instrument so it's kinda slapped together.
I can't settle for either of those scenarios.

Getting the timing down is the most critical for any display, then the way it's laid out and flows during the song. Smaller displays take less time. Larger displays can eat up a lot more time. Then the complexity of the song adds to the equation. If the song has vocals, or lots of instruments, or is fast paced or slow. There are lots of variables. Sure I could pump out a sequence complete in a couple hours and be to my liking, if it's a simple song with not much body to it. Or I couple spend and easy 40 hours on it if it has a lot of instruments to it, or alot of drumming or beats to it and is a fairly long song.

 

It's not a race. When you feel good about it, that's all that counts.

It gets easier the more you do it. You develope skills and methods that make it easier and faster. And of course LOR has developed tools to make it easier/faster too.

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I have used the beat wizard in it's basic form, not sure how to get other timings if you can.  I have used the tapper wizard and just found the vu wizard -- used it a couple times and I think I get the point of it.  Would you willing be willing to critique what I have done thus far?  And how do I send that to anyone?

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I've never used beat wizard. I tried the tapper wizard and that stunk. I hated it.

I'll critique your work if you want. I'm a great critic. LOL :D

You will have to email it since attachments don't work on here. That or provide a hyperlink if you have it uploaded online.

I'll PM my email.

 

Tom

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Mike,

I'll throw in my critique publicly here.

You sent me the partially done sequence last night, the Rudolph one.

I can see where 4 hours has gone. You did a fantastic job on that song so far. Lots of nice placement and effects and timing.

Do not quit. The time spent will be worth every minute spent on it when it's done.

You should be proud of yourself.

Great job so far!!!

 

And just to confirm, 4 hours in the sequencing world won't get you a completed sequence, not even close if it's good. Until you add those hours up to a finished product, you won't realize how important that 4 hours is.

 

Tom

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Consider making your songs shorter (audacity). Makes them easier to sequence and easier to watch. Though you would probably have a little kid protest I'd you edited and of Frozen songs. Don't be afraid to copy events. Don't think every feature has to blink. Leave a few on for more of a static/animation mix.

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Consider making your songs shorter (audacity). Makes them easier to sequence and easier to watch. Though you would probably have a little kid protest I'd you edited and of Frozen songs. Don't be afraid to copy events. Don't think every feature has to blink. Leave a few on for more of a static/animation mix.

I noticed one thing this year, the first year I have used a pixel tree and ribbon tree.  My eyes are automatically drawn to these trees even when I am trying to look at other features to make sure they are working properly.  After about a week of running my show, I still find myself looking at these two trees.  Others do the same thing.  As a test, I inserted one sequence into the mix that has ONLY the ribbon tree running, pathway lights for safety reasons, and the tune to sign.  When I point it out so someone, they say that they didn't even notice.  (My display is 200 feet wide.)  Next year, I plan to put very little effort into many of the other lights and concentrate on these two display items; should save groups of time.

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IMO, the Beat Wizard is the single most useful tool in the entire software package.  By far!

 

I know next to nothing about music, yet people tell me every day (literally, during show season) how precise my sequences are and how they follow the song so expressively.  It all starts with the Beat Wizard.  As Don mentioned, on songs with changing tempos, the BW might be challenged, but that's pretty uncommon in my experience (Mad Russian Christmas notwithstanding).  If you're one of those people with musical training, maybe you don't need it.  But then again, I've seen sequences from people with "musical training" that were so far off the beat that you could drive a piano through the gap.

 

The time it takes to learn the Beat Wizard, maybe five minutes, will save you DAYS worth of time sequencing ... and make your sequences look better at the same time.

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The time it takes to learn the Beat Wizard, maybe five minutes, will save you DAYS worth of time sequencing ... and make your sequences look better at the same time.

Want to know what bothers me? When I'm asked to update/add to a sequence for someone, only to find it was programmed with a .05 timing grid.*shudder*

 

Yes, there are times when a 4/4 song has something important on an 1/8th note, in which case you adjust a little and carry on. But the .05 stuff ... brutal.

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All i would add to this is that 99% of your viewers will never know. all they know are smiles. I look back at previous year sequences and realize how bad they where. If I can I usally start with a sequence from some else and then make it fit my display then and my touch. copy and paste takes 1-2hrs then I spend another 1-2 per minute making it look how i want. So in short...keep going and make sure the time you spent makes you and those that come to see happy. You will get better over time.

 

The 10,000 hour rule really applies here.

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It mostly depends on how much you do and how you are when it comes to trying to get everything on exact perfect timing. 

 

I do it for the fun of doing it and dont really care about getting every little beat or sound etc. on a perfect timing.  most people watching doesnt care if its off a little or if you miss certain things that maybe you didnt notice or hear that a trained ear or someone looking for perfection my hear or see. 

 

I use the different wizards for diff beats and the tapper wizard to. you can make a lot of channels you dont use for your show to make your own beats etc. and different taps for different things. also super star can be used for parts, saved and ran again with different settings and then just copy and paste the parts of each that you like and want to use. Just remember if usung super star on the same song numerous times that you have to give it a diff name each time. I use things like, the music name and mini tree, mega, arch etc. to remember what part of it I want to use in a sequence.

 

The main thing. is Have Fun and do what you like, perfection or not perfection if you like it thats what you use.

Edited by Old Sarge

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IMO, the Beat Wizard is the single most useful tool in the entire software package.  By far!

 

 

 

+1

 

My time to sequence has changed recently.  When we were 100% "regular" Christmas lights, I would average 3-4 hours per minute of a song.  Now that we are 100% RGB, that time has increased and sometimes doubled, depending on the song.

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Superstar is the best tool in the box. Beat wizard is good, but not perfect. You can even waste your time and import that timing into superstar if you want. But....nothing and I mean nothing beats the nudges in superstar.

Everyone complains that superstar is for rgb or pixels only. This is just not true. I would never use anything but superstar to sequence with. Except for singing faces....I do use the sequence editor for my faces. But everything else is superstar.

75% savings in time at a minimum.

Learn visualizer. Then get that visualizer file imported to superstar. I don't care if it is string lights, dumb rgb or pixels. Superstar will save you time and a lot of it.

Auto sequence? Sure, you can use it. But for me that is used very sparingly. But if I want something to come on in time with the beat, this works very good. It will automatically place your chosen element on those beats in whatever condition you desire. Full on? Check. Half on? Yep. Morph with 7 different colors in various points on your pixel tree? Piece of cake. Change your mind on which elements or pixels you are using? Change it in seconds. Don't like that one as much? Revert back even faster.

Want longer or shorter fades or on times? Nudge the length.

Timing off? Nudge placement.

Want a different element, just change it without touching the effect. Add more elements, add less all in a matter of seconds.

Like this effect and want it later in the song? Just select that effect, move to the time you want it and click the add button. You don't have to re select the pixels, or elements or colors. Just a simple click. Too short? Nudge. Timing off? Yeah, nudge it.

I could go on and on.

Nothing beats superstar.

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Sax is 100% right. Superstar is quick and easy and easy to learn and I sequence all of my elements with it. I only do very few things with sequencing in the sequence editor now.

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I am not an expert sequencer but I am very picky when it comes to sequencing. This hobby takes a lot of patience and that is one thing I do have. It is not uncommon for it to take 30 to 40 hours for a 4 minute song. Take the advice that you are receiving from these guys (especially Mr Simmons, his sequencing has always impressed me). Stick with it, when it comes time for your show to go live, you will really get an appreciation for the work you have done. GOOD LUCK and most of all have fun while you are doing it.

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I always use the beat wizard and in rare cases, will use the tapper tool. From there, I'm finding that I will sequence a particular area of the house such as the arches, all the way through the song. Once happy with those, then I'll go back and do some other part of the house such as the megatree(s). The more channels you have, the more work you have. RGB makes it a lot more demanding so I can't wait for S4 to come out and hope it helps us a lot.

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When I was only running regular Lor channels, I would use the "Beat Wizard" & then touch up the beats at 1/2 speed, however I like the "Wave Form" too because that cross hair helps me to pin point the beat,at 1/2 speed, words, instruments & what not. By December I had 16 full songs done & I was happy. 50+ hours wasn't uncommon for me. Then I sold 20 controllers out of 25 & went with a ccr Matrix & pixel arches & pixel mini trees.  The pixel arches & pixel mini trees is easy enough to sequence in either SS or S3. The hours now come in the 12 ccr Matrix, which for 2015 will be a ccr Tree or I may have a pixel string tree, either way it will be 16 ccrs or 16 strings. (maybe 17 ccrs or strings).

 

Now I spend those hours on the ribbon Matrix or Tree & the rest of the display no one actually sees because all eyes were on the Matrix. This year their eyes will be on the ccr Tree instead.

Edited by lightzilla

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Going into my 2nd year of LOR, and have yet to sequence  totally from scatch.

First year was singing faces only display with purchased/shared sequence. Many took some tweeking..channel adjustment, adding eye blinks, cleaning up actions, etc.. But I started to learn the SE.

This season, adding a bunch of dumb RGB channels and am using my inventory of "shared" sequences to help expand my originial singing faces seqeuences.  Takes some intial time to look at shareed sequences for elements that I can copy into my sequence.  As mentioned earlier, some really great and really poor sequencing being done.

Even with a lot of copy/pasting, I still do some custom work in seqments of a sequence.  Depending on the song and the quality of the shared sequences I have, I have spent anywhere from 1 to 6 house  in build what I thing are pretty good sequence, by going this route. Down the road when the display gets more fully established and things calm down a little, I can go back and do some tweeking and tightening up of sequences. But in reality, it's probably going to me more for me than it will be for the enlyment of the viewers.

I  have always chuckled a little when people ask for 16, 32 channels, etc.. shared sequences.  There's no way that my 16 channels elements are going to match up with your 16 channels.  Instead, just request any channle sequence and use the copy/paste techniques to help build/expand you sequences.
 

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It takes me about 5-10 hours per song. The beat wizard and tapper wizard are extremely helpful. As well as the different Paste options eg. Stretch to fit

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To be honest when I was sequencing regular Lor channels I always left ten "Dead Channels"  or "Blank  Channels" if you will to add the various timing marks for guitars, words, beats, piano & what not......that was where my time was spent & then after that was done the rest of the sequencing was faster. So when the following year came along it was even faster to adjust sequences that were already made. It even makes it faster when I sequence for others. 

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