Building A Scoring Document
To set up scoring cues in a Streamers document, first set the Document Mode (in the toolbar) to the conductor icon.
The Reels table is where you add all the movie files to which your cues are synced. Click on the + button to choose a movie file, or drag one from Finder onto the Reels table. Then set the SMPTE start time corresponding to the first frame encoded in the movie.
Whichever reel is selected in the Reels table will play back in sync with timecode. By default, the document's reel selection mode is Auto (Timecode). This means that the appropriate reel will always be selected based on incoming timecode, and you do not need to select new reels manually. If no reel is selected, the output window will revert to overlay functionality.
Each scoring cue contains an event list that defines the tempo and meter map, as well as any individual events to be added.
Note: If Streamers is running alongside a sequencer such as Pro Tools or Logic, and all the visual events are already sequenced as MIDI events in the sequencer, then you do not need to add any cues in Streamers. If there are no cues in the current document, Streamers will simply sit and wait for incoming MIDI events to trigger punches and streamers.
However, by programming cues into Streamers, you can avoid having to calculate timing offsets.
In film scoring, each cue conventionally begins with a green streamer into the downbeat and a yellow streamer into the first warning click, and ends with a red streamer. These default events are added automatically by Streamers. You can adjust the length and color of these default streamers in the Transport page of Preferences. More about the countoff is in the Transport Settings section below.
Importing a standard MIDI file (SMF) is the quickest way to set up a cue in Streamers. From the gear pull-down menu at the bottom of the cue list, select Import SMF... and select a file to import.
If the selected file contains a track named "Streamers", Streamers will interpret any MIDI events in that track according to the MIDI mapping you have defined in the External MIDI Triggers section of the MIDI page of Preferences.
In addition to selecting a file to import, the import dialog gives you the opportunity to do some quick adjustments to the cue's timing. The Cue start at bar option adjusts the bar numbering, which you can change later using the bar # offset option in the cue's inspector. The Preroll bars to drop option is useful in cases where there is a certain amount of time built into the MIDI file before the cue's downbeat. This information cannot be extracted automatically, because MIDI files do not support bar number information.
For example, if a cue starts at bar 1 of the score, but there are 4 bars of preroll in the SMF, simply set Preroll bars to drop to 4. When the cue is imported, any events in the first four bars will be disregarded, and the SMPTE start time will be offset by the amount of time necessary to keep the rest of the cue in sync.
Note: Streamers will attempt to extract the SMPTE start time from an SMF. However, the SMF specification only allows a perfunctory amount of information regarding timecode offset, and different sequencers implement this feature differently. Some major sequencers, in fact, implement it completely wrong. So always double-check the sync point of your cues after you import the SMFs.
To add an event to the selected cue, choose the event type from the + pull-down menu below the event list. Most types of events can be locked to a location in bar/beat time, a bar number, or a SMPTE timecode. (Some event types are special cases that can only be locked to one type of time.) The lock time of the selected event is set in the upper-right-hand corner of the event's inspector; press L or click in the text field to edit this value.
You can nudge the selected event forward or backward in time by pressing the up and down arrows next to the lock time, or pressing the ; (semicolon) and ' (apostrophe) keys. You can also lock the selected event to the current time, while playing back or paused, by clicking the registration mark next to the lock type, or by pressing Shift-\.
Streamer events are useful for adding a streamer in the middle of a cue. The time-shifting of streamer events is taken care of for you; if you add a white streamer into bar 13, for example, the streamer will start early enough to end exactly at bar 13. If Punch at end of streamers is checked in the Display page of Preferences, a single punch will also be added at the streamer's end time.
Streamer length is, for historical reasons, defined in feet. Each 3 feet is equal to 2 seconds.
Note: You do not need to add streamer events to get a green streamer into the downbeat, a yellow streamer into the countoff, or a red streamer into the cue end. See the Transport section below for more details.
Add a punch event to get a free-standing punch (which is not attached to any streamer or click change event). You can define both the color of the punch, and the number of holes for a flutter.
Use meter change events to define the meter map of a cue. Optionally, you can also set a new click duration or mute clicks entirely as part of a meter change event. However, this only supports constant clicks. If you need to set a click pattern, or if you only need to change the click duration without changing the meter, use a click change event instead.
By default, each cue begins in 4/4 with quarter note clicks, until a meter change or click change event is encountered.
Meter change events can only be locked to bar numbers.
The Tempo Change event adds a tempo change to the tempo/meter map of the cue. You can use any basic or dotted note duration from a sixteenth note (semiquaver) to a dotted whole note (dotted semibreve) as the base duration for a tempo definition.
By default, each cue begins at quarter (crotchet) = 120 bpm until a tempo change is added.
The click change event gives you more fine-grained control over the click settings than a meter change event, and does so without affecting the cue's meter map. In the simplest cases, you can use a click change event to mute and unmute clicks, or to change the click duration. In more complex cases, you can also change the click pattern, or set up automatic punches, to occur on each bar and/or each beat.
To set up pattern clicks, type a series of numbers in the text field next to the note duration. These numbers are interpreted as multiples of the base duration you set. So, for example, to set up quarter-quarter-eighth-eighth-eighth clicks in 7/8, select eighth note as the duration and type "2,2,1,1,1". Because two eighth notes equal one quarter note, each "2" in the pattern is then interpreted as a quarter note, and each "1" as an eighth. You'll see a preview of the click pattern underneath the text field.
The pattern you define starts at the beginning of each bar, and any time left after the pattern is filled with the base duration. So to simplify the above example, you could simply type "2,2" to define the first two quarter notes. The rest of each bar will be filled in with eighths.
Click change events, unlike meter change events, can be added to any location and do not have to be locked to a bar.
A cue end event stops the bar/beat counter, ends the click track, and (if set to do so) adds an ending streamer into the final beat of a cue.
There are no settings to adjust in the Cue End event's inspector, because the only adjustable setting, the automatic streamer, is defined globally in the Transport page of Preferences.
Naturally, only one Cue End event can be added to each cue. If any events are sequenced after the cue end, they are ignored.
A countoff event is useful for sudden tempo changes in the middle of a cue. It adds free clicks, punches, and/or warning streamers into an arbitrary location. The countoff clicks are added at the tempo of the first beat after the lock time. In other words, the countoff event functions more or less like the countoff added at the beginning of each take, but without having to stop and start recording.
So, for example, a countoff (four quarters, locked to bar 24) with a tempo change (quarter = 180, locked to bar 24) will result in four quarter note clicks at quarter = 180, even if the tempo before bar 24 is 72 bpm.
Note: Do not add a countoff event simply to get a countoff into the start of a take. Use the cue's transport settings instead.
Bar # offset: This option, just below the cue title, allows you to change the bar numbering of your cue's tempo/meter map to match the bar numbering on the score, by adding or subtracting the given number from the bar numbers of all your events. If your cue starts at bar 1, you should leave this at 0. However, if your cue starts at bar 5 (which is not uncommon if, for example, you use Logic and avoid its negative bar bugs by starting your preroll at bar 1), then you can set the bar # offset to 4. Note that this does not add any bars or change the cue's timing; it simply causes the first bar of the cue to be displayed as "5|1|000" instead of "1|1|000".
Sync point: This is where you define how the cue is positioned relative to the film's timeline. Any tempo/meter changes you make that occur before the sync point will cause the cue start to be adjusted as necessary. If your leaning is toward the simile, think of the sync point as a thumbtack pushed through the poster of your cue and into the bulletin board of SMPTE time. The cue can move around it, but the cue location you define will always stay fixed relative to the SMPTE timeline.
Near the bottom of the document window, below the event list and inspector, is the transport bar. The left side of the transport bar is where you set the countoff options for a cue, and where you can reset those options for a pickup into the middle of a cue.
To set the number of free clicks, press F. By default, countoff clicks will match the click settings of the first bar of the take (bar 1 if you haven't set up a different pickup time). However, you can also select constant clicks of any normal or dotted duration by clicking on "free" and selecting a note duration instead. Free clicks will always match the tempo at the downbeat or pickup time.
The transport settings make it easy to adjust a cue for a pickup. For example, if a take is to start at bar 98, simply set the starting time to "98|1|000", and adjust the click options if necessary. Press T to jump to this setting quickly. If the Transport page of Preferences is set to do so (which it is by default), Streamers will also add a yellow streamer into the first warning click, and a green streamer into the downbeat of the take—whether that is the downbeat of the cue or the start of a pickup.
The rightmost of the cue transport options is a pull-down list from which you can select one of three click modes. Click on will cause clicks to play during both the countoff and the cue. Click Mute, unsurprisingly, mutes clicks outright. Free-time lets clicks play during the countoff, but mutes them for the duration of the cue.