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Creating a UV Meter w/ Fire Effect (How To)


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As I've been programming for this season, I've found myself wanting a "UV meter" (Volume Unit Meter) of sorts to use with my lights such that spikes in the music will cause my light meter (fire sticks) to spike, much like the animation we find in the SE / PE's Audio VU Wizard.   I've got several fire sticks that I want to "fire" on beat (essentially doing a quick ON with a ramp down), and so I've developed the following programming method to achieve that.  This isn't a "true" VU meter; it's meant to fire only on pre-marked beats, not according to a section of music.  

The premise of the effect uses the Fire HEIGHT and a differing low/high value.  With a low/high value, the height value will change over the course of the duration of the effect.  When started high and ending low, the height in essence does a "ramp down", giving a little more organic ramp than you would find with the curtain effect or similar effect. If you lay this on one single cell, then you get a quick ramp down.  If you place the fire effect with a locked height of your low value (34 in my case) on both sides of this effect, then you get a spike happening at your desired timing mark.

 You should have a "normal" height that's less than or equal to half the full height (0-50ish).  In this case, mine is 34. Then in the cell(s) where you'd like the VU meter to spike, you set the Height to 100, and your low to your "normal".  In this case, mine is 34.  Here's what my Effects Generator window looks like


In the cells following the "spike", you should keep the Slider Mode locked at your "normal" level (again, in my case 34).  Then, when you desire a spike, use the separate start/end values.  Here I've pictured my lines of programming.  You'll notice that for the first 3 cells, the effect is constant.  This is my "normal".  Then I applied the effect to the following 4 cells (for four beats; two top and two bottom), making sure to alternate effect lines as the PE does not restart duplicate back to back effects.  Finally, the ramp down is the "normal" where the entire effect fades out to black.  You'll find an animation of the section below (with some other random elements, showing up, too)


You can see (4) separate spikes (though the GIF is a bit fuzzy) that correspond to the four cells in which I've placed the unlocked effect.  The timing marks just before these 4 effects are 4 major beats within the song's phrase.


I think the beauty of a standard VU meter is that you get a bit more organic look; each element isn't doing exactly the same thing. With the fire effect, you get the same idea; however, it is not in correspondence with the music.  By using the aforementioned trick, you can emulate a VU meter manually for some specific beats.  I've also tried to set the fire effect's Slider Mode to "Use The Audio Waveform", but I haven't had much luck with this.  Hope this is helpful! 

Has anyone else tried to do a similar effect?

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