The Beat Wizard

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The Light-O-Rama Sequence Editor's Beat Wizard can analyze the song associated with a musical sequence to try to determine its tempo, and can insert timings and lighting effects into the sequence based upon it.  These are not necessarily inserted exactly the same distance apart from each other; rather, the Beat Wizard attempts to match them up with peaks in the audio that are near the tempo.  This is to allow for subtle variation in the speed of the song.

 

The Beat Wizard is available as an option when creating a musical sequence or a new track, and can later be accessed via "Beat Wizard" on the Tools menu.

 

Not all types of media files are supported.  For example, the Beat Wizard cannot be used with video files or MIDI files.  If the Beat Wizard cannot be used with the media file for the sequence, it will simply be unavailable from this menu and these dialogs.  Also, the Beat Wizard may not be able to be used with very large files.

 

Selecting the Time Range
Selecting the Tempo
Previewing
What To Do with Beats

 

BeatWizard

The Beat Wizard

 

Selecting the Time Range

 

The Beat Wizard can try to determine the tempo of a song as a whole, or of just a portion of the song.  Use the "Time Range" settings to tell it which to try.  If you select a portion of the song, be sure to click the "Update" button after changing the "From" or "To" times.

 

Choosing a portion of the song is useful if the song's tempo changes; the Beat Wizard will be more accurate if it only is asked to operate on a section with a near-constant tempo throughout.  It may also be useful if the Beat Wizard has a problem with a certain portion of a song; if the beats seem off in a particular spot, you may want to try running the Beat Wizard on that spot individually.

 

When the wizard is first opened, the time range will be automatically set depending upon "Use Play Range for Wizards" from the Play Preferences dialog: If this option is enabled, the range will be set to the freeform play range if one exists, or the play range as set on the Play menu if not.  If the option is not enabled, the range will be set to the entire song.  One exception is when the wizard is opened directly from the New Musical Sequence dialog; in this case, the range will be set to the entire song regardless of the value of "Use Play Range for Wizards".

 

Selecting the Tempo

 

The Beat Wizard shows its best guess as to the tempo of the selected portion of the song.  You can choose to use that tempo, or faster or slower related tempos - for example, three times as fast, or twice as slow.  Depending upon the song, one of the related tempos may seem more natural when you preview it.

 

Another use of related tempos is to simply insert more timings, allowing for faster lighting effects to be used that are still synchronized to the beat of the song.  For example, it is unlikely that a "10x Faster" tempo will seem "more natural" in any sense, because it will probably be too quick to count along with.  However, selecting it will, for example, let you set up a lighting effect with ten different channels that looks like the lights are quickly chasing each other to the beat of the music.

 

If a slower related tempo is chosen, you must also choose a "beat offset" to determine which beats of the "best guess" tempo will be selected: You might feel that the best guess tempo is actually twice as fast as it should be - that you would count along to it as "one - and - two - and" instead of "one - two - three - four", for example.  If you therefore choose a "2x Slower" tempo, the Beat Wizard will use only every other beat from its "best guess" tempo, but it doesn't know whether to use every first beat or every second beat.  So, you can let it know which to use by selecting the "beat offset".

 

Previewing

 

After you choose a tempo to use in the Beat Wizard, you can get an idea of what it will make your lights look like by using the controls in the "Preview" section.  Simply click "Start" to start the preview.

 

The boxes to the right of the button will light up sequentially, in time with the tempo.  Only the white boxes will be used; the greyed out boxes will not.  However, you can choose how many white boxes there are by selecting the radio button under one of the boxes.

 

This allows you to make the preview section look more natural - for example, the boxes lighting up sequentially in a song that you count along with as "one, two, three, one, two, three" will look most natural if you select three boxes - doing so will make the same box light up every time you count the same number.

 

Clicking directly in one of the boxes will reset it so that that box lights up at that moment (and the other boxes follow sequentially from there).  This is also useful for making the preview seem more natural - for example, the third box might be lighting up every time that you count "one", and if so, it might look more natural if you reset it so that the first box lights up at that time instead.

 

None of this has any effect on the timings or lighting effects that will be inserted into the sequence when you decide what to do with beats - it is merely to help you see how the selected tempo looks in relation to the song.

 

Finally, if you are unsatisfied with the selected tempo, simply choose another tempo, or choose a different portion of the song to analyze.

 

What To Do with Beats

 

When you have selected a time range and a tempo for the Beat Wizard to use, and are satisfied with it after previewing it, you can use the controls in the "What To Do with Beats" section to insert timings, lighting effects, or both, based upon the selected tempo into the sequence .

 

If you choose "Turn on a channel every so many beats", you will also have to specify the channel, the number of beats, and a "beat offset".  For example, to make a set of four channels chase each other in time with the beat, you could:

 

Select the first channel, four beats, and a beat offset of zero;
Click "Apply";
Select the second channel, four beats, and a beat offset of one;
Click "Apply";
Select the third channel, four beats, and a beat offset of two;
Click "Apply";
Select the fourth channel, four beats, and a beat offset of three;
Click "Apply and Exit".

 

Note that you can apply multiple effects to different channels, all in the same use of the Beat Wizard, by using "Apply" multiple times.  You can even apply effects based on different portions of the song or different tempos, all without leaving the Beat Wizard.