I use the Adobe software package for working with media, more specifically, I use Adobe Audition for working with sound. The main problem is that the Adobe software package requires a paid subscription. Below I want to give an example of using the Reaper program in the preparation of a synchronization project, since it has a very large demo period and also the program has a number of convenient synchronization functions that are not available in the Adobe Audition program. Reaper is very easy to use and very reliable. Reaper can work in the operating system MAC OS and also in Windows. On my projects, I have repeatedly used this program in my work.
As we remember, by default all audio tracks broadcast their channels on the first and second channel of the project.
Let's assign for the timecode, individual outputs that will not intersect with the audio track. This is done in the same way as with an audio track. In the header of the track with the timecode generator, press the “ROUTE” button and in the “Parent channels:” parameter select channels 3-4. Now, if we play the project, the audio track goes on the first and second outputs of the audio card, and LTC timecode goes on the third and fourth.
Now let's set the start time of the timecode. By default, when creating a new timecode generator, the start time of the timecode generation is 00:00:00.00 In order to specify your time, let's go into the generation settings, to do this, right-click on the second part of the timecode track that is on the timeline and In the drop-down menu, select the “Source properies ...” item. The “SMPTE Generator Properties” settings window appears here. In this menu we can specify the start time, the number of frames of the timecode and also the important option this is the choice of the type of timecode generated.
Let's now set up our timecode track so that it generates MTC. To do this, in the generator timecode settings, select the “Send MIDI (MTC)” timecode mode and click Apply. So, as the timecode track now generates MTC, we need to tell this track which MIDI card to send MIDI to. This is configured in the same place where we set up audio channels for each track. Track header, “ROUTE” button. On the right side of the settings window, in the “MIDI Hardware Output” menu in the list, you must select the MIDI card to which we will send the MIDI time code. In our case, this is Rosendahl mif4, again, if we start playing the project, now two channels of audio will go to the audio card, and the MTC will go to the MIDI card .
Here are a few tricks to work with timecode. As we already know, depending on the interface, the time spent by the device on determining the incoming timecode in practice can be up to one second. In some light consoles, you can manually adjust the preroll parameter. This means that only after a certain time, the correct definition of the incoming timecode, the console will allow it into the system. But what to do if you need to link a specific event by timecode from the very beginning of the track? This is done by starting the generation of timecode, earlier for the start of the audio track, so that by the time the audio track starts, the timecode has already been detected by the receiving system. I usually generate three seconds timecode before the track starts. This time is enough for all devices to identify the incoming timecode. The minimum time must be at least one second.
Although there are side effect, now the current time of the track will differ from the generated timecode at the time of our shift (in our case it is three seconds). How to avoid it? It is necessary to generate the timecode not exactly zero, but from the fifty-seventh second. Of course, such a trick will not work if our timecode starts from 00:00:00.00 But if it starts from an hour, 01:00:00.00, then we can specify the start time of the timecode, 00:59:57.00 and then at the time of the start of the audio track , the segments of minutes and seconds will coincide with the timecode. For this reason, I do not use the start time of the generation of timecode from 00:00:00.00, since in this case it is not possible to set the offset of the generation for three seconds before the start.
I usually associate each track with my own offset, where the hour indicates the track number in the show. Thus, each track has its own unique timecode and it is possible to set the pre-generation of the audio track before the start.
In our example, let's move the audio track to the right for three seconds and set the start time for generating the timecode from 00:59:57.00
Now the current time of the track and the generated timecode match. Now this time does not coincide with the values of the timeline. Let's fix it. To do this, we need to go to the project settings File—> Project settings ... -> Project Settings and in the parameter “Project start time” we specify the time 00:59: 57:00 Now, the time line and the time of the outgoing timecode are identical.
Above on the screenshot you can see the finished sync project made in Reaper, which broadcasts seven audio channels and also LTC and MTC.
Let's start with a simple one and build your own project.
After we first opened the program, in order to get to work, you first need to make basic settings.
Let's start with audio equipment. To do this, open the program settings Options—> Preferences—> Audio—> Device. In the item “Audio Device” we will select the sound card that we want to use in the project. For our example, I will use the MOTU 8A multi-channel sound card. Since we are planning to use MTC, let's also set the MIDI card in the settings that we will use. To do this, on the left in the list, in the Audio group, select MIDI Devices. At this group, there are two windows to configure incoming and outgoing MIDI ports. We are interested in outgoing ports “MIDI outputs to make available”.
In this list we will see all available MIDI ports that we can use. In the “Device” column are the names of MIDI controllers and ports, and in the “Mode” column we can see whether the port (MIDI controller) is available for use in the show or not. “Enable” card is used, “Disable” card is not used. Select the desired MIDI card, click the right mouse button and select “Enable output” in the window that appears. Now the MIDI card is available for work. In our example, I will use mif4. On this step we completed the program settings and now you can close the “Preferances” window.
Since we plan to work with LTC and MTC timecode, let's change the mode of displaying the timeline and the clock, so that they show the values in SMPTE format. To do this, right-click on the ruler, which is located in the upper part of the timeline, and in the drop-down menu, select the display mode “Hours: Minutes: Seconds: Frames”. If your clock has not changed appearance with the ruler, right-click on the clock and select “Use ruler time unit”. We also need to specify in the project, how many frames we will use to display the time. File—> Project settings -> Video. In the “Frame rate:” menu, select the required number of frames. For our example, I will choose 30fps.
PLAYBACK SYNC PART#2
USE REAPER APP FOR CREATING SYNC TRACK
Since I am also a designer, I love aesthetics at work. So let's change the color of the track from gray to another, so that we can distinguish different types of tracks. In my work I use the following scheme. The main audio track is always green, timecode tracks are always red. To change the track color in the track header in the free area without buttons (This area is light gray), right-click and select Track color—> Set tracks to custom color in the drop-down menu ... In the color picker that appears, select the desired color and Click OK.
We have only one track in the project and it is audio, so for it we set the color green.
By default, all stereo audio tracks are assigned to the first and second audio output. If already at this stage we will play our project, then on the first and second output of our audio card, we should already hear our audio track. Since we use four audio outputs in the project, if necessary, we can change the output audio channels for our track. To do this, in the header track, click on the “ROUTE” button. And we will see a window for setting routing options for this track.
In the parameters of the “Parent channels” option, channels 1-2 are set by default. This means that the audio track will broadcast its two audio channels, on the first and second channel of the project to which we have an audio card attached. By clicking on the output channel numbers, we can select another pair of channels. Now, we do not need this, since we plan to send an audio track to the first and second output of the audio card.
Now let's add another track, just with the timecode. Working in the Reaper program, we don’t need to download and generate a track through the third-part services, since the Reaper itself can generate the LTC track.
At the beginning, we have to create an empty track. To do this, under the header of the first track, in the free space, click the right mouse button and select the “Insert new track” item. We should have a new track. Let's generate in it a timecode. To do this, first on the timeline, you must select the area into which we want to generate a timecode. Since we need a timecode for the length of the track, we need to select the time line from the beginning to the end of the audio track. Timeline selection made with the mouse on the ruler. To save time, you can automatically select only the project workspace by double clicking on the ruler.
Very carefully, we must choose the second track with a dedicated area of the timeline. If you have the first audio track selected, then the timecode will be generated on top of the audio track. Just in case, once again click on the header of the second track so that it becomes active. Now we can generate LTC timecode Insert—> SMPTE LTC / MTC Timecode Generator. Now our second track is filled with a timecode generator. Let's change the color of the second track to red.
If you have made all the settings correctly, then in the final product you should see the result of the render, as in the image above. Namely, four tracks, the third and fourth of which are filled with timecode. If you see only two tracks, this means that in the render settings you have not changed the number of channels from two to four. If you see four tracks, but the third and fourth tracks are empty, then most likely this means that in the timecode generation settings, you have MTC generator, not LTC. Therefore, you need to fix it and re-render the file.
That's all! Now you can use Reaper in preparation or even in work on projects when integration with different timecode protocols is necessary. I hope this article will be useful for you and your professional level will became higher! Subscribe to the channel so that you don’t miss out on any of the articles. See you in the next posts.
SUPPORT THE PROJECT
Now our project is ready. We have two options for work.
The first is playback directly from the Reaper.
The second, it is a multi-channel audio file render for use in other programs. The second option is possible only if our timecode track generates LTC. Since, we all know that only LTC can be recorded and reproduced, and all other protocols are generated, either programmatically or by hardware.
Let's export our project to a file, before changing back, the type of timecode generated of the second track from MTC to LTC.
For export, we need to open the render window. File—> Render ...
The following settings depend on which sound card we use in our project. More specifically, how many audio outputs we will broadcast. The next step is setting up an audio routing of the project. In order to do this, we need to go to “Outputs for Master Track”, for this we need to click the “Routing” button in the parameters of the master fader, which is located in the lower part of the program on the left. A menu will appear.
Also, I want to talk about the convenient function of working with markers. Since, quite often, you have to mark certain points and accents on the track, the most optimal thing for these tasks is the use of markers. To put a marker on the timeline, just press the key button “M” on the keyboard. To see a list of all our markers, let's open the Marker Manager. View—> Region / Marker Manager. Here we can give each marker its own name, see its time and just quickly go to the position of a particular marker on the timeline by clicking on it in the table.
The first thing we need to do is specify how many output audio channels we will use in our project. For example, we will use four channels. To do this, change the “Track channels” parameter from two to four. Now we need to specify that we want to broadcast four channels of the project to four physical outputs of the audio card. To do this, open the “Audio Source” tab at the bottom of the menu and select Multichannel source -> 4 channels—> 1-4.
Now we can proceed to the main part. Let's add an audio track to our project. To do this, simply drag the audio file to the area to the left of the time line. And we immediately will have a new audio track in our project.
Each audio track consists of two parts. The first is the header of the track with parameters and settings, which is on the left; the second part is the waveform of the track, which is located on the right of the time line.
First, let's specify the file name and export path. To do this, we can use the “Output” settings group. Next, in the “Option” setting group, in the “Channels:” parameter, we must specify the number of channels of the audio file that we want to use. Since we created a four channel project, we need to specify four channels of the audio file. Next, in the “Output format” we select the audio file format that we need. By default, this is not compressed WAV.
And finally , we need to click the “Render 1file” button.