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Using tracks......


chowell
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I have heard quite a few people talking about using tracks. I have even had a few people explain them to me but it has been awhile and I am still challenged with the concept. It seems that most use tracks for grouping like items. When setting up my new sequences for this year at 176 channels, I have simply grouped all like items together anyway even if they are on different controllers. I simply assigned them the proper controller and channel during setup.

For example: Let's say I have 5 mini trees but the layout of the display calls for two different controllers. I may do something like this:

Tree 1: Unit 1 Chann. 1
Tree 2: Unit 1 Chann. 2
Tree 3: Unit 4 Chann. 1
Tree 4: Unit 4 Chann. 2
Tree 5: Unit 4 Chann. 3

This way all my mini trees are together in the sequence editor and I don't have to scroll all over during sequencing. Is this similar to what people are using tracks for? And, what are some added benefits of using tracks? Does my way still work when running a sequence?

Thanks in advance.
Corey

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Hi Corey...

I seem to be in the same boat as you... The only good use for tracks that I've found is to group objects together. If you carefully layout your "main track", the need for tracks is eliminated entirely. I use a .05 grid for all of my songs, and that works well. Others will argue that you can't get the timings right on the beat with a grid like that, but I would challenge them to detect where my timings are off by that .05 second (maximum)... .05 sec is 20 frames per second. (Movies are typically produced at 24 frames per second, making the motion appear smooth, but that is a whole different discussion...) Think about that. You are dividing a single second into 20 equal parts. This is a tiny slice of time, and for your display, having a timing off by that much will not affect how it appears to your viewers.

Just to clarify here... if you have 5 channels that should come on on a certain beat, and 4 come on on the beat, and 1 comes on .05 seconds later, you may notice it. But if all 5 channels comes on .05 seconds late, the only one who might know it's late will be you.

Back to the question at hand... The channel layout on the grid is the key. I group all of my mini trees together on the grid, in a logical sequence. They are spread across two controllers. Also, I have 15 segments of lights on the columns that support my porch roof. Those segments are also grouped together on the grid on a logical order, but are spread over 3 different controllers. This makes sequencing simple.

Your way will work just fine when running your sequences. Lots of luck with your 176 channels!

D.T.

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DownTown wrote:

I use a .05 grid for all of my songs, and that works well. Others will argue that you can't get the timings right on the beat with a grid like that, but I would challenge them to detect where my timings are off by that .05 second (maximum)...

This is off the subject, but I found that switching from a fixed .05 grid to the beat wizard is a big time saver.

In many songs, most of us have channels that pulse with the beat. When the timing marks are set to the beat (with help from the Beat Wizard) doing this pulse is simply adding a fade down on the beat and then using "Paste Multiple" to copy that to the end of the sequence.

In version 1, the best way was to use fixed .05 timing and copy the beat at the right place for every measure, or try the "Paste Multiple" and then go through the song and adjust it where the beat got off. That took up to a half hour. Now the same thing takes a few minutes.
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Since we are on the subject of .05 timing (which is the same timing I have been using in LORII for all my songs), there are some challenges associated with it. For instance, when I complete the tapper wizard to insert beats, the grid does not stay in .05 timing entirely across the song. Sporadically it creates smaller bits of timing throughout which makes copying/pasting across the grid impossible. You can still copy/paste vertically, but it will not work horizontally. Would using the beat wizard solve this problem?

Corey

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It's been a while since I've used the tap wizard. But, there is a "Snap to existing events" setting. Make sure that the "Snap to events within __ hundredths" is set large enough. My notes show using 4 hundredths (for a 0.05 grid).

Unfortunately, I don't think there is anything to snap the timings for the beat wizard.

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chowell wrote:

Sporadically it creates smaller bits of timing throughout which makes copying/pasting across the grid impossible.

When you use the Tapper Wizard, you have two choices:
  1. Do as rwertz says: Select "Snap to existing events" and make sure "Snap to events within..." is set to more than 1/2 of your grid timing.
  2. Run the Tapper Wizard on a track without timings. (This could be your main track if you delete all the timings first.)

The Beat Wizard doesn't have the "Snap to existing events" option, so you should run the Beat Wizard on a track without timings.

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Way back when I was all about the tapper wizard (never liked the .05 timing) and I remember when I had to subdivide every beat manually, ugh! Now the beat wizard is my new friend (unless I diasagree with it).

I find that track are fantastic for different timings on the same items.

For example I have 3 rows of eggs on my lawn, 5, 6, and 7. I want them to chase back and forth to the beat for a particular part of the song but I want the ends to light up on the same beat. So I copy them to 3 different tracks. Copy the beat timing to each of them and then break them up. So the 5 had to be subdivided into 4 parts so each end egg lights up on the down beat. The 6 row gets subdivided into 5 parts and the 7 into 6. And then my vertical poles with 8 sections get subdivided into 7. And then last my Firefly units with 16 pixels get sundivided into 15 part per beat to on all chases the "ends" all light up at the same time.

Hopefully that makes sense.

And on a 2nd note when I had a bunch of lights (candy canes or whatever) in a square or rectangle, it helped to group them on 2 separate tracks, track 1 grouped in rows and track 2 grouped in colums. Then if I wanted to do horizontal or verticle chases it was easy.

Then of course my computer issue. I ran 316 channels last christmas. My computer would take forever to move forward when I was on the Master Track. But if I was on the other track with just candy canes it moved just fine (im sure many people may not have the same problem but I do).

And then there is a psychological aspect for me. If I decide what a particular track will do, its kinda nice to look at the track and be like "ok track 2 is done" look at it in the visualizer and say "yeah, that looks good" As opposed to looking at the whole and saying "jeez I didnt even put a dent in this song"

But that is just me. Bottom line if it works for you than thats what you do.

Eric

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chowell wrote:

Since we are on the subject of .05 timing (which is the same timing I have been using in LORII for all my songs), there are some challenges associated with it. For instance, when I complete the tapper wizard to insert beats, the grid does not stay in .05 timing entirely across the song. Sporadically it creates smaller bits of timing throughout which makes copying/pasting across the grid impossible. You can still copy/paste vertically, but it will not work horizontally. Would using the beat wizard solve this problem?

Corey

What you're describing is an excellent example of what you can easily work around with tracks. Create a duplicate track without any timings. Then, when you use the tapper, the only timing marks you'll have in the new track are the ones you tapped. Your .05 timing will be unchanged on your master track, yet any events you program into the newly created track will appear in both ther new one and the original.
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I guess I don't understand how multiple tracks work together. Are different tracks opened in different windows or do you see them at the same time? Is it like working with different workbooks? Can you define tracks for only certain parts of a song?

Corey

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chowell wrote:

I guess I don't understand how multiple tracks work together. Are different tracks opened in different windows or do you see them at the same time? Is it like working with different workbooks? Can you define tracks for only certain parts of a song?

Corey



That is an excellent comparison. Lots of times I feel like im working in excel. Different tracks are worksheets and when you enter information on a track it automatically gets transfered to the main track (and you actually dont need a main track with everything, but it is something I like to do).

I have to admit at first I was very opposed to tracks (seemed like a waste of energy) but not that I started using them from the get go for my Easter display I would not have it any other way!

And if you start a new track it goes for the duration of the song, but you can choose only to sequence the part that you want for the track. (if you sequence other time frames on your main track it will just show up in the track you created)





Attached files Easter Config.lcc
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Hallelujah! (Is that how you spell that?) I think I am beginning to understand tracks! I am experimenting with my first one now and I think I get the concept. I'm sure I will be asking more advanced questions later on. If I am doing this correctly, this will speed things along tremendously! Thanks for all your help folks! The ability to add different timings for different features in the display is a huge help!

Corey

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That's precisely how I use tracks. My arches have seven segments, my spinners 6, my driveway trees 12, my poles 9, my beat trees 4, etc, etc... Each element has its own track. I use the beat wizard to set the basic timings for each track and then subdivide the timings into 7 or 6 or 9 or 4 or whatever I need for that track to achieve the speed I want for that particular element. Since the beat wizard timings are exactly the same length to begin with, it doesn't matter whether I subdivide a beat by six or seven or nine, or whatever - an arch can sweep from left to right, and/or a pole from top to bottom with both of them beginning and/or ending their movement at precisely the same time.

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thebaronn wrote:

chowell wrote:
I guess I don't understand how multiple tracks work together. Are different tracks opened in different windows or do you see them at the same time? Is it like working with different workbooks? Can you define tracks for only certain parts of a song?

Corey



That is an excellent comparison. Lots of times I feel like im working in excel. Different tracks are worksheets and when you enter information on a track it automatically gets transfered to the main track (and you actually dont need a main track with everything, but it is something I like to do).

I have to admit at first I was very opposed to tracks (seemed like a waste of energy) but not that I started using them from the get go for my Easter display I would not have it any other way!

And if you start a new track it goes for the duration of the song, but you can choose only to sequence the part that you want for the track. (if you sequence other time frames on your main track it will just show up in the track you created)





I think it is very important to keep a "main track" with every channel in it. Also keep the main track the same in all the sequences.

I keep a main track and do all my programming in my other tracks.

If there was a mistake made and a channel got deleted from a track and there was no "main track" all the programming and the channel will be lost. If there was a main track with all the channels in it and a channel got deleted from another track, all the programming for that channel will still be in the "master track".
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Paul Roberson wrote:

If there was a mistake made and a channel got deleted from a track and there was no "main track" all the programming and the channel will be lost. If there was a main track with all the channels in it and a channel got deleted from another track, all the programming for that channel will still be in the "master track".

Actually that's not quite accurate. If you duplicate an existing track and then delete a channel (accidentally or not) from the duplicate track, that same channel in the "master" track will go bye-bye at the same time. This also holds true if you copied a channel from one track to another - deleting either the original or the copy will cause both to disappear.
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George Simmons wrote:

Paul Roberson wrote:
If there was a mistake made and a channel got deleted from a track and there was no "main track" all the programming and the channel will be lost. If there was a main track with all the channels in it and a channel got deleted from another track, all the programming for that channel will still be in the "master track".

Actually that's not quite accurate. If you duplicate an existing track and then delete a channel (accidentally or not) from the duplicate track, that same channel in the "master" track will go bye-bye at the same time. This also holds true if you copied a channel from one track to another - deleting either the original or the copy will cause both to disappear.





Thats funny mine don't seem to work like that. (Light bulb turns on in head)

Maybe the confusion is if you delete the channel from the TRACK. Then the "master track will keep the channel in it and its lighting commands.

If you go into the "channel property grid" and delete the channel I suppose it will disappear from all the tracks then.

Sorry I may have not been clear enough.
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It's possible that terminology is the problem here. If you right click a channel and select "Remove Channel from Track", it only removes the channel from that track. That channel would remain in the other tracks. However, if you delete a channel, it is gone from everything.

Remove = Gone from only that track
Delete = Gone from everywhere

If you "accidentally" delete a channel from either the editor or the channel grid, just use the "Undo" to bring it back.

Richard

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Thank you Richard. I've never removed a channel, so I don't know what happens in that instance. I have, however, deleted a channel from a duplicated track thinking that it would only be deleted from the duplicate... only to discover an hour or so later (after a couple of saves which nullified the undo lifeline) that it was gone also from the original track.

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rjnitto wrote:

It's possible that terminology is the problem here. If you right click a channel and select "Remove Channel from Track", it only removes the channel from that track. That channel would remain in the other tracks. However, if you delete a channel, it is gone from everything.

Remove = Gone from only that track
Delete = Gone from everywhere

If you "accidentally" delete a channel from either the editor or the channel grid, just use the "Undo" to bring it back.

Richard

It does not appear to work that way on mine.:?
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Jeff Millard wrote:

Paul Roberson wrote:
rjnitto wrote:
It's possible that terminology is the problem here. If you right click a channel and select "Remove Channel from Track", it only removes the channel from that track. That channel would remain in the other tracks. However, if you delete a channel, it is gone from everything.

Remove = Gone from only that track
Delete = Gone from everywhere

If you "accidentally" delete a channel from either the editor or the channel grid, just use the "Undo" to bring it back.

Richard

It does not appear to work that way on mine.:?


I'll bet it does. Those two options are a little too close together for my comfort. rj correctly described exactly what they do. Delete channel removes all copies of the channel from a sequence. Quick and dirty. On several occasions I was glad there was a .bak file do to this little gem...

Jeff



I opened a sequence and played with it. And I must have been smoking something before:shock: That is what I get for going by memory and not actually trying it again before posting.

Delete does delete the channel from the whole sequence.

I did remember and try deleting a whole track and that did not delete any actual channels from the master track. Guess "delete track" works the same way as "remove channel from track".

Sorry for the confusion!!
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