Tempo Mapping with no Transients

EvileOLEvileOL Opening Act
edited November 2009 in The Rock Band Network
I started to use the tab thing to get the tempo mapping spot on - but parts came up where there would be no drums playing for at least two bars

by the time the drums come back in, they aren't on beat - so how do i tab towards no transients, to make sure the tempo is still correct when the drums come back in?

sorry if this sounds weird but thats the only way i can explain it.


Also can someone give me a basic explanation of how to do this tabbing thing so I know i'm doing it right

Comments

  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Opening Act
    edited November 2009
    The tabbing is just a shortcut--a quick way to get your cursor to the start of a measure if you have a consistent transient at that location.

    But it is by no means necessary to the tempo mapping process.

    The part that is necessary (or at least a damn good idea) is the placement of a tempo event marker at the start of each measure.

    You can just as successfully manually click the cursor to the start of each measure, and then add a tempo event marker there. And in my case, I am having to work with a single stereo drum track, so I have to manually move the cursor to just before the kick each measure, then press tab. Otherwise I would have to press tab like 8 or 16 times per measure.

    Once you are at the start of the measure (how you got there is no longer important) the easiest way to place a tempo event marker at the current playback cursor location is with the Q key.

    I definitely understand your fuzziness on this, because the docs are kind of weird on this topic.

    As for the step by step, it would be like this:
    1. Click on the start of the kick track (if you have one)
    2. Press the Tab key to send the cursor key to the next transient (which hopefully will be the start of the next measure--if it isn't then help it get there manually)
    3. Press the Q key to insert a tempo marker at that point
    4. Goto 2 until song is over
  • HMXMister_GameHMXMister_Game Harmonix Developer
    edited November 2009
    Also, if there are other parts that DO continue when the drum drops out, and you can identify the start of each measure from them, that's just as good.

    Alternately, you can manually change the BPM of the last tempo marker prior to the gap, so that the next measure starts on time. But in both cases the most important thing is to make sure that it matches up with the audio.
  • ChilChil Unsigned
    edited November 2009
    In a situation with no transients, there are a few ways to go about mapping the tempo.

    1: Attempt to manually change the envelope to approximate the average tempo of the section

    This is achieved either by making a guess and typing in the tempo in the "Edit Time Signature Marker" window (double-click the tempo marker) or you can click the tempo map line on the MASTER track item and drag it up or down (you can hold Ctrl for more sensitivity). Both methods can take a good while to finally get it down and I never was really happy with the sensitivity for the dragging method, even with holding Ctrl.

    2: Use some math to approximate the average tempo

    Much more accurate than just entering in guesses, but requires some thinking. Hopefully I can explain this without making my head explode.

    Basically you want to tab to the next available transient and press Q. This will create a new tempo marker somewhere in the drum-less section. Using some simple arithmetic, you can calculate what the average tempo is for the section from that one new tempo marker.

    Let me try to illustrate. Suppose you have a song that has been going steady around 120 bpm in 4/4 time and the drums cut out for four measures. Tab to the next transient at the start of the fifth bar, then hit Q. You should get a tempo marker at the start of the last measure with the auto-calculated tempo (let's say 122.14). This tempo, however, is significantly different than the tempo at the start of the drum-less section (perhaps 119.56) and creates a noticeable disparity in the game. Using weighted averages, you can calculate the average tempo for the whole section to be 121.495 [(119.56 +122.14*3)/4] and manually set that at the first measure, then delete the marker at the fourth measure.

    This method can get significantly more complex than that example, so it can't be used with ease in all cases. Just make sure you end up with the correct number of beats when you finish and that you haven't mistakenly added or subtracted a measure to the section. This method also fails to account for significant tempo changes mid-section that are clearly audible and should be represented with multiple envelopes.

    3: Guesstimate the position of each new measure and keep using Q

    To accurately map in this way, it helps to have a very low buffer latency, usually achieved with ASIO audio drivers or an otherwise very fast computer. I run at 11ms latency with ASIO and the cursor movement during playback is pretty smooth and accurate to its actual position in the waveform. Next, set the playback rate to .25 and listen for the start of the next measure. Set your cursor to where it looks like it happened in the waveform, play it back to check, and press Q to set the tempo for the measure. Rinse and repeat until the transients come back and you can tab again.

    This method is also difficult to get absolutely right, but with practice you should never really be more than a few milliseconds off, which is less than negligible for gameplay. It also introduces a level of subjectivity, since other instruments rarely stay exactly on beat without drums to follow and you have to be careful not to make drastic changes to the tempo map that would make things harder than they should be.
  • NSIYusukeNSIYusuke Opening Act
    edited November 2009
    Oh man, you guys have much more complicated methods than I did. I'll share anyhow, even though my method can be slightly more daunting, but it might help for those who don't have split drum files.

    For my song "Thirteen", I don't have a seperate kit/cymbals/kick track, and instead, it was all in one stereo isolated track. Now, the tempo is all over the place in that song, so just straight-off telling it "well this is 100bpm" didn't work very well, as after the first four measures things got horribly off time, and such. But when I tried tempo mapping, due to my eyesight (And I guess lack of attention span?), I felt way in over my head looking at all those transients and seeing how long of a process it was. I gave up for a while and just went to practice-charting some of my other songs (KITTY! mostly, for all of you who wanna know xP), but it was annoying me so much that I finally found an alternative solution to my problem, that'd allow me to tempo map MUCH easier.

    What I did, was I recorded a cowbell hit (Though I could've used any other percussion, but let's face it, cowbells are awesome) which after a blunt hit, lasted 1 measure at 100bpm (mostly silence), and looped it over 200 times in my song. Then I matched up every loop to the nearest transient and had myself a tempo-mapping track! I found that matching my 1 measure long cowbell hit to every measure made the job much easier, and more accurate (For me), too. =) So if anyone else is having trouble, maybe try this method!

    -Trav
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Opening Act
    edited November 2009
    Hmm, interesting. I thought you were going to say you recorded yourself playing cowbell along to your track and then mapped tempo to that new cowbell track.

    Seriously, though, since you had to position a cowbell sample onto each measure and then use tab (or a mouse click) to find the cowbell transients and press Q on each measure, I'm not sure how that is easier than clicking the cursor onto each measure, then pressing Q and just avoiding the whole cowbell part.

    Once you place one or two tempo markers, Reaper continues that tempo forward in time so it's super clear approximately where the next measure should start. And each time you place the next tempo marker, it redraws everything after that point so it always stays pretty close. It's just a very fine adjustment each measure.
  • MarsPhoenixMarsPhoenix Opening Act
    edited November 2009
    The cowbell gives you a sound to be 100% sure on, where has just clicking might end up with you being off some, I imagine.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Opening Act
    edited November 2009
    MarsPhoenix;3237142 said:
    The cowbell gives you a sound to be 100% sure on, where has just clicking might end up with you being off some, I imagine.
    Well yeah, it does, but since the cowbell sound itself was placed by the dude's mouse (and not played on the original track), it's not really more accurate than just clicking the cursor on the timeline, right?
  • trg007trg007 Your Ever Rocking RBN Forum Guru
    edited November 2009
    Chil;3236634 said:
    I run at 11ms latency with ASIO and the cursor movement during playback is pretty smooth and accurate to its actual position in the waveform.
    This is something I was completely unaware of until seeing it mentioned in a couple of threads here. I want to be sure I have the lowest latency possible. How do I measure the amount of latency in my system?
  • ChilChil Unsigned
    edited November 2009
    trg007;3237186 said:
    This is something I was completely unaware of until seeing it mentioned in a couple of threads here. I want to be sure I have the lowest latency possible. How do I measure the amount of latency in my system?
    In Reaper Preferences, go to Device under Audio (alternatively, click the audio mumbo jumbo line at the top-right corner of the window) and select ASIO from the Audio System drop-down menu. It may not be there because you may or may not have ASIO drivers installed. If you don't, then I think you can install ASIO4All through the Reaper program installer, which should work.

    The other selections in that menu will cause their related screens to pop up, but there should be a [latency: xx ms] line at the bottom of each. That is the estimated buffer latency as far as I can tell. The ASIO page doesn't tell you specifically, but that mumbo jumbo from before will.

    Keep in mind that ASIO bypasses almost eveything software related to your soundcard and there are a couple settings that you can tweak, none of which I have any clue as to what they do. Setting the Buffer Size is what you mainly use to control latency at the cost of quality. My Buffer Size is 512 samples and it sounds good enough. You may be able to get away with 256 and get a lower latency, who knows.
  • EvileOLEvileOL Opening Act
    edited November 2009
    How about if i know EXACTLY what the tempos and time signatures are for the tracks which were used in the studio

    Wouldn't that mean any deviation from this map would be incorrect, as all musicians would have been playing to the original click etc
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Opening Act
    edited November 2009
    I'm not sure I understand your question. You want Reaper's tempo map to match the tempo of the song.

    My opinion is that by far the best, easiest and most accurate way to do that is to put a tempo marker at the start of each measure.

    Locking in that tempo as the very first step in authoring gives me the feeling that I'm building a great foundation for all the hours of work to come.
  • EvileOLEvileOL Opening Act
    edited November 2009
    I mean, i have the exact tempo numbers and time signatures from the studio session of the album, so I can map the tempo in reaper exactly to what was used - but I was wondering if this wouldn't be accurate enough for the game, if there is slight slowing down, or hits slightly off etc
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Opening Act
    edited November 2009
    I think you would typically see some drift. But hey if you put it in there and it's a perfect match right away, then more power to you!
  • davidshekdavidshek Community Playtester
    edited November 2009
    EvileOL;3240003 said:
    I mean, i have the exact tempo numbers and time signatures from the studio session of the album, so I can map the tempo in reaper exactly to what was used - but I was wondering if this wouldn't be accurate enough for the game, if there is slight slowing down, or hits slightly off etc
    Well, what you have are the exact tempo numbers and time signatures of the click track, not the actual recorded musicians. Musicians, as I'm sure you know, will drift in and around that click track no matter how good they are.

    The only time you'd be able to set one tempo for the whole song is if it were all electronically-created music. Manually creating the tempo map in Reaper is really the only way to do it when you're mapping music that was recorded by humans.
  • NSIYusukeNSIYusuke Opening Act
    edited November 2009
    Haha, I guess my Cowbell thing was a bit flawed, but I find that I can zoom in much more and see where I repeated some of the drum tracks exactly where they started, in my usual audio editing program, instead of REAPER, so that's why I went the way I did. It worked anyhow, and it was something to do I guess. xD
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