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SMPTE Timecode on GrandMA2

Software Version used in video:

Triggering your cues via SMPTE timecode is actually a lot easier than most people think. If you haven’t already- be sure to read my short post, An Intro to Timecode on Tour, before you watch this video.

Something that I really love about the way timecode works in the world of GrandMA is that you’re not thinking so much about one sequence. I’ve got my main cue stack, but I’ve also got bump buttons that I use within the song, and maybe some chases that I’m gonna trigger as well. One timecode show in the timecode pool can store all of those triggers, so I’m not limited to just my one cue stack.

If you want to play along at home, you can download the audio track with the timecode that I’m using from the link below.


Download the timecode track here

Video Transcript

I want to show how to set up your lighting cues to chase SMPTE timecode, so I’ve taken a piece of generic, royalty free music and I’ve added a timecode track on the left side of the audio output. If you’d like to download this for your own practice, I’ve got a link in the post for this video on consoletrainer.com, and also in the description section of this YouTube video.

I’m going to play that track back on my computer, and send the timecode side to my GrandMA2, and the music side to my speaker.  To do this, I’m connecting my stereo split cable to my computer. The left side XLR (which has my timecode) gets plugged into the LTC port on my console. On the right side, I’m connecting the XLR to an adaptor that will connect to my speaker. If you don’t know which side has the timecode, you’ll know if you plugged the wrong side into your speaker because you will hear the shrillest, nastiest sound you’ve ever heard. I’m going to play a little now and confirm that I’m hearing the music and seeing timecode on my console.  Make sure that your volume is up nice and loud. If it’s too low, the console won’t see the timecode. In the timecode pool, you can always confirm whether or not you’re seeing SMPTE timecode- and there are no settings you need to configure to see this.

I’ve created a couple of very basic, very generic cues and a bump that I want to sync up with this timecode track. So, on my console I’m going to store a new timecode show into the Pool. I’ll hit EDIT and then select it. If you touch the top left circle you’ll be able to edit the settings. I’m going to change the name of this show to TRAINING. A lot of these options have to do with when you’re running an internal sync, but since we’re using an external SMPTE feed, lets focus on what we need. First, we’re gonna set the synch mode to SMPTE. I’m going to change my time unit to 30 FPS because I know that the timecode file I used was rendered at 30 FPS. Status call is something that you might toggle between when you’re programming and running the show. When its ON, the cuelist will automatically jump to wherever it needs to be when it’s listening to timecode.  When off, the cuelist will not take a cue until it actually sees a new timecode event. Neither is necessarily correct and you should play with this to see what your needs are. For this example, I’m setting it OFF. I’m also going to set KEEP PLAYBACKS upon switch off so that my sequence isn’t turned off when I stop listening to timecode.  Again, the option you choose depends upon the needs of your show. Lastly, I like to leave AUTOSTART off. I usually have multiple timecode shows within one show file, and I like to trigger them via macros, instead of having timecode automatically turn them on. If you’re putting your entire show into one sequence and one timecode show, then you might choose to set this to ON.

Now, if you take a look at these transport controls, you’ll see a red record button that I’m going to hit. You can use this one or this one. The console is now listening for timecode and every cue and bump that I take while the music is playing will be recorded with the timecode frame I was in when I took it.  So, I’m gonna play my audio track and just play along on the console. If you get a cue wrong, don’t worry you can fix it after words.  When you’re done, make sure you turn off the record mode.  You could accidentally put in unnecessary timecode events.

I’m going to go back into the editor because I know my cue with the guitar player was a little late. In the editor window, I prefer to look at this in TEXT mode.  Now I can see all of my different timecode stamps and which cue they trigger, and what their timecode frame actually is. Here’s my guitar cue. I’m going to bump that up to maybe 3 seconds and 15 frame – and when I play it back, if I don’t like it, I’ll tweak it again. Alternatively, after I select it I could also use the MOVE encoder wheel.  In this window, you can also manually add in timecode events.  I have a mark cue that I want to add in, so I’ll hit ADD HERE. This adds another timecode point at the place of your playhead. Now, because of where my playhead was, the console assumes that maybe I want to put the drum cue there.  This isn’t actually the one I want to change, so I’m gonna select this guy, and pick my mark cue, which is 0.5. Now I’m going to change the timecode to the correct frame, which I know happens right at 1 hour.

Next is the easy part where we check to see if everything works.  I’ll reset my audio track .. and I’m gonna select PLAY in the transport controls.  This is what tells the timecode show to listen to the SMPTE thats coming into the desk and play back all of these cues. Now its just a matter of playing our audio track and seeing if this all comes together or not.

Author: catwest