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lyori1

Running a show to live music

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I have a small, 5 song, show I would like to run with live music a couple of times.  I've sequenced the show to the recorded tracks.  When we practice the song live the band gets ahead or behind the actual track speed at times.  I understand without a drummer using a click track, it is difficult to avoid.  My question is two fold,

Is there a way in S5 when a song is playing in from the sequencer to simply use my mouse and click a spot on the timeline and have the sequence skip to this location and play from there?   Any suggestions on a better way to run a live show?

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About the only way I can think of is to have the band hearing the track via in ear monitors.  That way they should be able to keep better in time.

 

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I did this for my son years ago when he was in a small band playing a song for a talent show. Along with the stage lights I sequenced, I added a couple small lights  on a separate channel and shielded those lights from the audience seeing it so only the band members could see it. Those little lights were timed to the beat of the song. Worked great.

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k6ccc, thanks for responding.  I suggested in ear monitors or click tracks early in the process, but the drummer is old school and has difficulty with click tracks.

Santas Helper, we tried setting up a beat timing light in the back of the room to practice and test the idea.  The drummer who sets the beat was doing well for a while then started losing the beat as his own "internal beat" took over.  Since the show was two days later we scrapped the idea and went as is.  I adjusted the show to make more subtle lighting changes and removed much of the detail lighting queues.  It went ok and of course we were out of time on every song by the end but most were so subtle only our team or lighting guys like you could tell.

I just think we definitely need the drummer on click track next time.

In the future, I'm hopeful we can get some tools added that will help with live displays.  The following three would be my suggestions.

1) At the least a way to allow a Light Jockey ( LJ) ( person) simply click on a spot in a live timeline and have the track jump to that spot.  In that manner if the show and the live band get out of synch, the Light Jockey (LJ) could manually correct.

2) Also, a way to setup a live show queue list would be nice.  Similar to Show Editor but you would be able to double click on a show in the list and have it start playing immediately without having to open each show in S5 and then jump around to tabs.

3) Lastly, if there were a way in the wave form display to manually set a color identifier showing in the audio file where the versus, chorus and bridges lie.  In this manner, a LJ could watch the timeline and it would be much easier to identifying correction points as the show runs live.  Example.  The band is way ahead of the music as you end verse one.  The LJ sees the chorus coming up so he waits for the bad the get to the chorus and easily jumps to that point in the timeline.

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17 minutes ago, lyori1 said:

I just think we definitely need the drummer on click track next time.

Not a click track.  If the drummer can get off by one click (or starts that way) he or she will have no way of knowing it.  Using In-Ear monitors allows the drummer to hear the actual track that needs to be synced to (even if the recorded track is not going anywhere except the monitors).  Remember that in almost all major stage shows, almost everybody is using in-ear monitors, and those that are not, usually have full headphones.  Only really low end shows are using stage monitors anymore because the technology for in-ear monitors has gotten so good (and fairly inexpensive).  Unless everybody is within a few feet of each other, monitors of some sort are pretty much a requirement.

Large shows these days all have some combination of lights (moving and/or otherwise), fog machines, videos, fire, pyrotechnics, moving stage pieces, etc.  For the most part, none of those are being controlled live - it's all pre-choreographed and stored by whatever is doing the controlling.  The music MUST track to the stored stuff, not the other way around.

26 minutes ago, lyori1 said:

2) Also, a way to setup a live show queue list would be nice.  Similar to Show Editor but you would be able to double click on a show in the list and have it start playing immediately without having to open each show in S5 and then jump around to tabs.

Trying to adjust the non-adjustable track to match the adjustable live band is almost guaranteed to be a failure.  The LJ would be constantly chasing the live band.  I also suspect it would be far harder to click the right spot even if the software allowed it.  Lastly, if the lights are doing much, it might look strange having the lights jump ahead (or worse jump back).

That's fairly easy to do with interactive sequences.  I can give you details.

28 minutes ago, lyori1 said:

3) Lastly, if there were a way in the wave form display to manually set a color identifier showing in the audio file where the versus, chorus and bridges lie.  In this manner, a LJ could watch the timeline and it would be much easier to identifying correction points as the show runs live.  Example.  The band is way ahead of the music as you end verse one.  The LJ sees the chorus coming up so he waits for the bad the get to the chorus and easily jumps to that point in the timeline.

If you are playing the show from the Sequence Editor (not recommended), you could easily add a dummy channel (or channels) with marks like that.  But why would you be playing the show from the Sequence Editor?

Remember that the software was never intended for what you are trying to do.

 

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Appreciate the feedback.  Points taken.

We are a mid sized church and our band does use in ear monitors for all of our inside shows.  I don't believe however that we feed an instrumental track to the drummer at this point. However I will ask to be sure.  However since we were doing a road show with fewer resources than a big production, we did not carry all our technical gear.  I do however know we still use stage monitors for everything we do live.

In our live services we use haze, moving head RGB lights and gobo.  Currently, all the lighting they do internally is done manually at this point and none is synched to music.  They currently use Martin's Light Jockey software currently to do all programming and que changes manually inside that software.  They don't do many light changes to music. Some color and some moving head spots and gobos but very little.  Though controlled through the software, no hazer or fogger activity is synched to music.  However, when we do large stage productions we do control all the light changes, hazers, fog via DMX with LightJockey, but that is to specific events in the production based on dramatic scene changes based on script and not set to music.

As far as using LOR.  We were trying to do something different outside this year with a live road show with 3 events in 3 days and they asked if we could add lights as we do a larger light display for the church using LOR.  We discussed the timing issues, but they still wanted to add something with moving and changing colors.  The church often doesn't  have the funds to buy new stuff for each event so we were trying to make what we have work.  Although adding in ear monitors as you suggest is probably the best solution, as long as the drummer will comply, I would still find these additions helpful to do what we did in a pinch to get close.  That said, if this is not a value add then, just as in my pre retirement  years as CIO, I would not expend programming resources either.  However, if there is a value add then maybe but at a lower priority.

Again, thanks for your input.

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Jim, your response also reminded me of something else I had been thinking about with LOR.  As a high end user, I would like to get your feedback.  In my career, I was able to work directly with some major software companies and provide input into their development.  One of the things SAP had that was helpful with  some of their latest cloud based software was a change request board where high end customers ( users) and beta users would have access to their development change requests.  It was not a forum or bug report and was specific for change requests.  The users and SAP would be able to post the title of the change and a short description of the change and reason for the change.  Changes as a result of bug issues were also posted by SAP after they investigated and determined the correction.  The thing I found helpful was that other users would be able to VOTE on the change.  This allowed SAP to focus their efforts on the things the primary users found of most value or of issue to the biggest set of users.  This also allowed the developers to get a sense of what was important to people as they decided their next version or release.  SAP would then keep the board updated with which changes made t to the top and what the status of the request was.  Would you find such a tool from LOR useful?

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34 minutes ago, lyori1 said:

We are a mid sized church and our band does use in ear monitors for all of our inside shows.  I don't believe however that we feed an instrumental track to the drummer at this point. However I will ask to be sure.  However since we were doing a road show with fewer resources than a big production, we did not carry all our technical gear.  I do however know we still use stage monitors for everything we do live.

If they are using in-ear monitors, I can almost guarantee that they are feeding other instruments to each other in various combinations.  I've mixed sound at my church for about 30 years - although primarily I run the recording mix rather than the house sound board.  With that said, since normally they are not trying to sync to a recorded track, no they would not normally have a recorded instrumental track in their monitors, and if the drummer is the "timekeeper", that position may be the only person that does not have clock source (so to speak).

25 minutes ago, lyori1 said:

Jim, your response also reminded me of something else I had been thinking about with LOR.  As a high end user, I would like to get your feedback.  In my career, I was able to work directly with some major software companies and provide input into their development.  One of the things SAP had that was helpful with  some of their latest cloud based software was a change request board where high end customers ( users) and beta users would have access to their development change requests.  It was not a forum or bug report and was specific for change requests.  The users and SAP would be able to post the title of the change and a short description of the change and reason for the change.  Changes as a result of bug issues were also posted by SAP after they investigated and determined the correction.  The thing I found helpful was that other users would be able to VOTE on the change.  This allowed SAP to focus their efforts on the things the primary users found of most value or of issue to the biggest set of users.  This also allowed the developers to get a sense of what was important to people as they decided their next version or release.  SAP would then keep the board updated with which changes made t to the top and what the status of the request was.  Would you find such a tool from LOR useful?

A little history.  Until 4 1/2 years ago, LOR would do their Alpha testing internally, and then had a select group of outside Beta testers.  The fact that there were Beta testers was not secret, but Beta testing was not open to anyone.  How one became a Beta tester was not known to me.  I do understand that there were many requests to become Beta testers.  How the communications process went with LOR and the Beta testers also is unknown to me as I was not one of them.  That changed in June of 2013 ago during one of the last releases of S3 - Yes, I had to go back and look that up.  At that time, LOR went to a public Beta program where the Beta versions were released to anyone who wanted to use them, and this forum had a couple new sections added to facilitate communications to anyone who wanted to read all about it.  This of course would also include the LOR developers.  Throughout the S4 Beta process, there were quite a few of us that participated to varying degrees in the Beta program, and the LOR software authors were quite active on the forum.  Once S4 came out of Beta, the Beta sections of the forum became fairly quiet until S5 came out into Beta last July.  Prior to that time presumably the S5 software had been in Alpha test.  I am not aware that there was any outside of LOR Alpha test program.  LOR people have mentioned a tracking program that they use internally, but I am not aware that anyone outside of LOR has access to that. 

With all that said, it would be interesting to at least see the bug / improvement tracking that LOR maintains, even if we can only read it.  However, the question would be for LOR is the effort of maintaining that list (responding to all the questions it would entail) worth the effort.  That I can't answer.
 

 

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2 hours ago, lyori1 said:

k6ccc, thanks for responding.  I suggested in ear monitors or click tracks early in the process, but the drummer is old school and has difficulty with click tracks.

Santas Helper, we tried setting up a beat timing light in the back of the room to practice and test the idea.  The drummer who sets the beat was doing well for a while then started losing the beat as his own "internal beat" took over.  Since the show was two days later we scrapped the idea and went as is.  I adjusted the show to make more subtle lighting changes and removed much of the detail lighting queues.  It went ok and of course we were out of time on every song by the end but most were so subtle only our team or lighting guys like you could tell.

I just think we definitely need the drummer on click track next time.

In the future, I'm hopeful we can get some tools added that will help with live displays.  The following three would be my suggestions.

1) At the least a way to allow a Light Jockey ( LJ) ( person) simply click on a spot in a live timeline and have the track jump to that spot.  In that manner if the show and the live band get out of synch, the Light Jockey (LJ) could manually correct.

2) Also, a way to setup a live show queue list would be nice.  Similar to Show Editor but you would be able to double click on a show in the list and have it start playing immediately without having to open each show in S5 and then jump around to tabs.

3) Lastly, if there were a way in the wave form display to manually set a color identifier showing in the audio file where the versus, chorus and bridges lie.  In this manner, a LJ could watch the timeline and it would be much easier to identifying correction points as the show runs live.  Example.  The band is way ahead of the music as you end verse one.  The LJ sees the chorus coming up so he waits for the bad the get to the chorus and easily jumps to that point in the timeline.

Speaking as a "professional" musian,  I would scrape the drummer.  If he can't play with a click, it is because his meter is no good.  "Internal beat" taking over means going off time.  That problem with a drummer is no small deal.  He should be very upset, and working his ass off praticing with a click to get his meter on.   Timing is a drummers #1 job.  There is no "old school" on this.

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I appreciate the feedback from all.  I hear the passion in the responses which is very cool.  That said, I can't even carry a tune in a bucket so I have no dog in the fight over whose meter is good or not.  

We'll continue to work toward the solutions y'all suggest and eventually we'll get there.  Thanks for the great response.

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