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Logic 9 Using SMPTE to set measure/tempo markers

Discussion in 'Logic 9' started by jdk90026, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. jdk90026

    jdk90026 New Member

    I'm slowly trying to migrate from Pro Tools to Logic for scoring to picture. Logic's grid seems pretty tied to bars/beats. I know you can switch view to SMPTE, but is there a way to establish tempo sync points down to the frame rate? So you can have your downbeat exactly on a given frame of video ?


  3. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    You can certainly have a downbeat start at any frame location, provided you are willing to modify tempo and perhaps time signature adjustments (which is typical).

    Some things to pay attention to:

    Have the correct frame rate of the video set in Logic
    Do not use negative bar numbers - start the project at
    Have a tempo marking at

    So very basic example (I use markers and I use key commands). Let's say I have a cue start point and need a downbeat x seconds later to match an on-screen event.

    I always have some pre-roll - my cue my not start until bar 5 or whatever... so I have a tempo at This tempo is arguably not important, because my cue doesn't start here.I will put a marker here. I will then go to bar 5 and put in a marker. I will then point another marker at the on-screen event spot (you need the key command set marker without rounding and also go forward/backward one frame).

    What I will do at this point (actually, I wait until all hit points are marked) is open up the tempo list tab and in the options menu select the tempo operations.

    In the ensuing box, select Operation>create constant tempo.
    Make sure padlock icons are LOCKED in position and time fields.
    Having set up key commands for Go to next/previous marker, I will go first marker, 2nd marker, etc. The values in the position and time fields reflect the left and right marker locations. Assuming you are going to adjust the tempo, edit the right position field to reflect a beat. So, if that field says, I could type in 10.1 and then it would be a downbeat (the tempo adjusts accordingly) if that's too much tempo adjustment, I might type in 10.3 and go back and make bar 10 a 2/4 bar. You get the idea.

    This works if done correctly. The Tempo Operations window can be quirky, if you think you're doing it right, close it and re-open it. Also SMPTE lock ALL markers before you modify any tempos!

    If you just have one hit point to lock to, there is a slightly easier way, but this method works well for me with multiple hit points. You may well get other opinions....

    Lastly, remember you can have alternate tempo and marker tracks.

    Hope this is clear enough - it's pretty detailed and I'm not a patient typer.....
  4. jdk90026

    jdk90026 New Member

    Thanks Doug,
    That sounds like it makes sense - have to try it in action. Will try to report back in case anyone else is looking for this. Assuming it'll work with my workflow - cues may start pretty far into my logic song - I set my session start and measure 1 1 1 1 to 59:50:00, because I am working with 22 minute video with 10 seconds of leader. (Can you guess the medium? :) )

    Setting frame rate is funny - there's a box for auto detect MTC format, but I guess this doesn't include frame rate, because it was off until I pulled down the right one.

    Related quesion - you or anyone else know - is there a way as in Pro Tools to time-stamp the timecode into audio clips or bounces? Very handy for managing cues in external projects...

    Thanks - J
  5. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    Hey Doug - GREAT reply. Gonna' have to save this one in my Logic tips archives!

    J- set your audio recording file type to broadcast wave. This will imbed the time information into newly recorded files.

    Attached Files:

  6. jdk90026

    jdk90026 New Member

    Thanks Eli -
    Can you reset it for an existing clip or do you just need to bounce again?
    Sometimes I end up placing cues in different spots, a/o using it in entirely different show.

  7. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    As far as I know there is just one possible original position time stamp per file that can't be changed without re-recording. Bouncing the file should work as well for the purpose of changing the time stamp, but I've never tried it.
  8. jdk90026

    jdk90026 New Member

    Thanks Eli

    Tried Doug's instructions - I'm not getting the result. I set my 3rd marker, w/o rounding, on the cut where I want to establish a new tempo and downbeat (which is at mm 106 3 4 224, in on the original beats/bars timeline). In tempo operations in the list, I pull down "create new tempo" (defaults to wherever the cycle locators are, which is annoying, but I type in my cursor position. Time and position fields are LOCKED...
    When I click apply - 3 new tempo events appear in the list - 2 at 1 1 1 1 with the same original tempo plus .0001 bpm, and the third at the END of the cycle locator, at the tempo (w/o .0001).
    Playing from here gives me a downbeat one or two beats past my cut, as before.
    Tried also unlocking the position and naming that spot 107 1 1 1, which seems to have no effect.

    What am I doing wrong? BTW- first I'd like to just establish a downbeat on a given frame- will deal with accellerando, etc, later...

    Thanks much for your help.

  9. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    Here's a different way that might work for you. It's a lot "blunter" than Doug's but might to the job.

    Let's say 106 3 4 224 is your point where you want the downbeat of a bar to fall. It will necessarily involve tempo changes before it, in order to get everything line up.

    * Hit T to open your tempo list.

    * Make sure there is a tempo event at 1 1 1 1, as Doug mentioned.

    * Make a mental (or written) note of the SMPTE position where you want the new sync point to be (in other words, the SMPTE position you see in the Tempo List at 106 3 4 224)

    * Place your playhead at a spot after where your previous cue has ended, but before the beginning of your cure that involves 106 3 4 224. (in other words, where there is no music playing).

    * Press the Create button to create a tempo event there. Leave that tempo event alone. It will get modified automatically a few steps from now.

    * Place your playhead at the nearest bar line immediately after 106 3 4 224. (bar 107)

    * Press the Create button again to create another tempo event.

    * With this newly created tempo event still selected in the Tempo List, double click on the value that is in the SMPTE position column. A text box will open up with the full SMPTE position selected by default.

    * Type in that original SMPTE position you noted previously where you want the downbeat to be (separating each field with a space)

    * Hit Enter to dismiss the box.

    * That previous "dummy" tempo event will be automatically modified so that bar 107 now corresponds with the SMPTE position previously noted that was at 106 3 4 224. The dummy tempo event should not effect anything since it is happening during silence in the score.

    Hope this helps.
  10. jdk90026

    jdk90026 New Member

    Thanks Eli,
    You have to get used to the pre-roll dropping from the dummy tempo to the new one, but a good starting point anyway. Most important is getting a cue to start in the right place, I'll deal with the rest later...

    General workflow note - sounds like you do this kind of stuff all in one session?
    I use a master song session and save as for each separate cue - kind of bulky, but things like this can create havoc with a lot of cues and mixed audio+midi regions - say on the last day you need a new cue in the middle, inserting a new tempo mid session pulls all tick and sample based tracks out of sync from there on.
  11. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    @ Eli - glad I could get one over on you....;)

    @jdk90026 - the Broadcast Wave should be fine - just make sure your projects have the same start time. Some people have one project start at 00:00:00:00 and the other one starts at 01:00:00:00and they can't find their files.......
  12. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    @jdk90026 - The MTC is for an external time source that you want Logic to sync to. Do not confuse it with the frame rate - an internal Logic process.
  13. Doug Zangar

    Doug Zangar Senior member

    Lastly, I have a 3 or 4 page step-by-step process on how to import a video and set hit points. I teach a film scoring class with Logic and use this in the class. It further defines what I briefly outlined for you. If you you follow it to the letter it will work (if you find errors please let me know). I use the technique for the infrequent films I do and it works great.

    Please contact me off-list and I can send it to you.

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