9 Replies Latest reply on Dec 22, 2013 8:35 AM by Rick Gerard

    beats per minute...

    fredo viola

      Hello all,


      I'm almost positive AE won't allow this, but I do a lot of hybrid music/visual pieces in which I'd really like to be able to edit video with more accuracy than 30fps (I'm looking for sample accuracy).  The absolute dream ideal would be to be able to have a beats per minute grid so if I want to loop something visually to a track that is 90 bpm I could do so in a less cumbersome and highly inaccurate way than I can now.  But I'm also quite sure that some smart person on this site might know whether such an app or purchasable tweak for AE exists that would allow me to do this?


      Many thanks in advance.  Any info is helpful! 


      - Fredo

        • 1. Re: beats per minute...
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          Well, then why not simply ramp up the comp fps? AE allows you to go to 99fps and, when nesting such a composition back to a 30fps comp, AE will figure in all the specifics for motion blur or keyframe interpolation. Likewise, feel free to pre-render such a comp and re-import it, then use time stretching with frameblending to get the desired output. The only problem I see, is that working at such high framrates will impair your ability to use RAM previews - memeory wil lfill up quickly and your computer may not be able to guarantee you realtime. As for other apps - Fusion and Nuke allow higher fps settings, but then again they don't support audio. combustion* maybe, but I haven't looked at it in a long time, so I may operate on outdated assumptions... and of course on a Mac, Motion does some nice audio stuff, but because it is using hardware for acceleration all the time, it will bump into the same issues as AE very quickly.



          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: beats per minute...
            fredo viola Level 1

            Awesome, thanks so much, Mylenium!  This makes it a bit easier to edit, but there are many more than 99 samples per second when you are using an audio editing system such as logic.  The problem I have come upon is when I try to loop some graphic element, because the sample accuracy is not there, and there is not a bpm grid making sure visual loops keep falling in line, eventually stuff drifts out of sync.  It's not a real problem per se, as I can just go through and keep syncing up by eye, but... well, it's a hellish kind of work!  And something always goes wrong, especially when you are using a great many layers that need to be kept in sync. 


            Do you know of a visual app which can be made to follow bpms?

            • 3. Re: beats per minute...
              yenaphe Adobe Community Professional

              If you are creating you how music, i guess you can export to multi track audio.


              To get visual synch, i would import a metronome track and use the brilliant Trapcode soundkey plugin. You will be able to set it up to display whatever you want for every tick. So you will have a visual representation of your metronome, and it will help you to synch up your graphic design.


              And for your viewing pleasure, some info and tutorials of sound keys here.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: beats per minute...
                fredo viola Level 1

                That is another great answer, and certainly a great way to keep track of the beats visually.  I own and am currently working with Sound Keys, but hadn't thought about bringing in a click track.  :)  Thanks so much!


                But the question remains, is there an app that is kind of a audio/visual hybrid?

                • 5. Re: beats per minute...
                  Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

                  I understand your concerns, but on the otehr hand I think you are overstating the case somewhat. Given, that any video format will have a frame rate that is much lower than the actual bpm, you will always have to make compromises. Even if you timed it correctly, the interpolation may ruin it, as a given hit/ cue will be off-frame and e.g. a bright light flash will then only be visible after its climax as a faded halo. not really sure if it is that big a problem. as for visual clues - Sébastien's idea is a good place to start. Also, if you already know the bpm you would be able to set up expressions on a source text property in a text layer. It's a simple division (time*bpm/60) that would give you the exact current beat count at any frame. In addition, do not forget that you can time-stretch/ -remap multiple times. It's absolutely possible to stretch a 90bpm comp in another 90bpm comp by 200% to get the effective 180bpm. The only difficulty then is, that you may need to apply keyframes on top of time-stretched other keyframes, which has lots of potential for creating a mess...



                  • 6. Re: beats per minute...
                    yenaphe Adobe Community Professional

                    Well i don't know any hybrid audio/video app that would do things like that.

                    • 7. Re: beats per minute...
                      fredo viola Level 1

                      Hi again, Mylenium.  No doubt the problem is solvable with AfterEffects.  All the ways you have suggested would work well.  I just was looking to see if there was some kind of app hybrid really.  Computers are bringing the art forms of music and visuals closer and closer together, so I wondered if there was some way to literally make AE follow bpms automatically.  Or if not with AE, perhaps somebody knew of some strange app out there, or plugin package... 


                      For example, in Logic you can create a clip which lasts for example one bar, and by clicking "loop" it will fill the rest of the bars of the song.   Also, when you pull the end of the clip in to edit it's length it snaps to the BPM points at different music intervals.  Obviously I'm not suggesting that AE is anywhere lesser because it doesn't do this.  It's a graphics program that has very light sound capabilities.  But I'm really interested in playing with visuals the way I do music. 


                      I think using Sound Keys with an imported click track is perhaps the closest I'm going to get to this kind of capability.  And thanks a lot for all the suggestions, folks.

                      • 8. Re: beats per minute...

                        I dont know if this will help your situation but there is a new wave of software coming into existence based on a new art form called Vjing or visual djing.


                        Resolume arena is one such software but my preference as a Mac user is modul8 it is not a composting tool like after effects, however once you have your shots corrected and compiled the way you want them you can dump them into modul8 and sync it to your host audio daw's bpm you can then trigger visual tidbits loop, warp, and automate with midi clips or audio input much like

                        the spectrum in after effects.


                        These softwares are still not as advanced in the arrangement side as they should be because they are pushing the envelopes on the 3D projection mapping side more.


                        I would personally love for adobe to add a bpm grid feature to the timeline it couldn't be that hard but then again I'm no code expert just a person obsessed with audio visual material.


                        hope this helps !

                        • 9. Re: beats per minute...
                          Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          I've been getting paid to cut music to video since 1969. Cutting at the sample rate is necessary for editing music but, and I can tell you this from experience of a lot of experience, cutting or syncing video exactly on a beat is usually not as good or as effective as adjusting the timing of the cut to to mood and tempo of the music. Most of the time you have to lead the beat, but some times you have to follow it. It's like conducting an orchestra. Our eyes and brain are connected inexplicably to our heart and we don't see and hear and feel things at the same time.


                          AE has lots of tools you can use to visualize the beat of the music, and the new waveforms are very good at that, but timing a cut down to 99fps and exactly matching cuts to beats on to about .01 seconds is in my experience not the way to most effectively sync up music and picture for maximum emotional effect. If it were simply a perfectly mechanical thing then displays that use software to switch on and off lights or images (color organs for us old guys) would be much more enjoyable to watch. Everything that is happening is a shot is important to the story that you are telling. You may find that cutting before the beat or holding for a frame or two after is way more effective story telling. The only way to know for sure is to play back the sequence and see how it makes you feel.


                          I hope this helps. Telling a story with moving images is a lot more about heart than mathematics.

                          1 person found this helpful