2.0 new features: CID files and xrr_editor

CID: Cue Index File

 

Using X32ReaperAutomate or X32XliveAutoMate in a Musical or Theater Production[1]

 

Once done with producing a Mix (or several), you may want to go one step further for automating your performances. This is what Musical and Theater production houses are typically looking for; They also want to ensure their shows to be of consistent quality over time.

Changing sets from one Theater/Musical scene to next can be difficult and involve complex, multiples setup changes that can be optimized with automation.

To help achieve this, X32ReaperAutoMate and X32XliveAutomate are capable of chaining consecutive automation files (Mix files) on the touch of a button by enabling control of up to 500 sequences listed as X32 cues that can be managed with the “prev”, “next”, and “GO” buttons, right from the X32.

In order to link a set of Mix files or other events to the sequences/cues that can be launched from the X32, a “CID File” (Cue Index Data file) is created/assembled as an offline process. With support from an additional configuration flag, the Windows GUI extends its lower section for the user to enter a CID file to load in internal memory and enable the use of cues.

Once the CID file is loaded, its cues can be automatically populated in the X32, avoiding human errors. By setting the “On/Off” flag to ON, the X32 operator or remote applications can use the X32 Scene section buttons “prev”, “next” and “GO” to navigate or fire-up cues. The “Mix Init State” flag enables or disables loading the Mix initial Scene as a Mix file is loading while chaining cues or running a sequence of cues. Therefore (and only when in this mode), the state of your X/M32 is saved as the initial state of the Mix at every Cue loading, this ensures that as you progress from cue to cue in your show, each cue Mix has its ‘local’ init state if you ever “RtZ”, “Stop” or jog back in the Mix.

 

CID File (Cue Index Data file)

CID files are .csv (comma separated values) files. An offline Excel sheet template facilitates their generation, ensuring the right fields are present and ready to be interpreted during navigation or when launching cues.

X32XliveAutomate CID capabilities include the following launch type combinations:

                      USB      X-Live       Mix File    Application
                                  Session

                       -             -                  -                  -
                       -             -                  y                  -
                       -             y                  -                  -
                       -             y                  y                  -
                       y             -                  -                  -
                       y             -                  y                  -
                       y             y                  -                  -
                       y             y                  y                  -
                       -             -                  -                  y
                       -             -                  y                  y
                       -             y                  -                  y
                       -             y                  y                  y
                       y             -                  -                  y
                       y             -                  y                  y
                       y             y                  -                  y
                       y             y                  y                  y

 

X32ReaperAutomate CID capabilities adds 16 launch type combinations in addition to the previous list:

                      USB      X-Live       Mix File    Application     REAPER
                                  Session                                                    File

                      -             -                  -                   -                        y
                      -             -                  y                   -                        y
                      -             y                  -                   -                        y
                      -             y                  y                   -                        y
                      y             -                  -                   -                        y
                      y             -                  y                   -                        y
                      y             y                  -                   -                        y
                      y             y                  y                   -                        y
                      -             -                  -                   y                        y
                      -             -                  y                   y                        y
                      -             y                  -                   y                        y
                      -             y                  y                   y                        y
                      y             -                  -                   y                        y
                      y             -                  y                   y                        y
                      y             y                  -                   y                        y
                      y             y                  y                   y                        y

 

CID File Generator

The easiest and safest way to create the CID file is to use the Excel spreadsheet proposed with the application; We show below an example of file, where data has been entered for testing purposes.

Text is data that will be displayed on the X32 as help in recognizing the CUE contents

USB file index, SD card number and Xlive Session index must all be numerical values while Mix File name and Application Path are typically text data. If the wrong type is entered, the cue cell will turn red.

 

X-Live version show below. Similar programs exist for REAPER version

 

Saving this as a .csv file will generate the following file which will be interpreted by X32XLiveAutoMate or X32ReaperAutoMate:

 

Don’t worry about the “;” [or “,”] characters (don’t edit/remove them), they are needed for proper loading by the applications!

 

 

Managing REAPER projects (some elements also valid for XLive)

X32ReaperAutoMate in conjunction with a CID file can help you manage your REAPER projects, opening them using Cues you have listed in a CID file with your .rpp project files. In that case the application helps you further with ensuring you will be requested to confirm the saving and loading of your REAPER files when passing from one cue to the next. You can therefore work on several files of your REAPER projects without having to jump back and forth between the PC and the desk. This is possible with the “XLoadConfirm” flag being also set along with the “XIndexFiles” flag in the .X32ReaperAutoMate.ini file. Make sure the “XREAPERAppPath” variable points to your REAPER application.

 

 

 

 

Important notes:

  • In the case of X32XliveAutoMate, Audio scrub (jogs) and “GtE” transport functions are only active/valid when an X-Live session is in use.

 

  • In the case of X32ReaperAutoMate, Audio scrub (jogs) and “GtE” transport functions are only active/valid when a Reaper file is in use. We also try to keep the times in sync between REAPER and X-Live if an X-Live audio session is also active, nevertheless time drift can build up when a REAPER and an X-Live session file run together and Audio scrub is used.

 

  • Whatever the cue data, only the “RtZ”, ”Stop” and “Play/Pause” transport functions are effective on USB files as they play. Audio scrub (jogs) and “GtE” transport functions are inactive on USB Files.

 

  • Mix file timing and sync precision are better when X-Live session files are in use (X32XliveAutoMate case) and Reaper files are in use (X32ReaperAutoMate case) as they respectively act as time master.

 

  • Application launch sync (when selected) takes place at the start point of the cue. If a delay is necessary, it has to be built-in the application or script, or two consecutive cues should be used.

 

  • Be advise some time buffering takes place when CID files are active; Indeed, the programs need to take into account delays that are necessary for running an external application, selecting and loading the contents of an SD card, launching a USB file, etc.

 

  • In order to offer you a better working experience with this additional feature, X32ReaperAutoMate and X32XLiveAutoMate initialize certain parameters of the X/M32 scene handling: In the SetupCONFIG screen, the programs set “Scene Go Next” and “SHOW VIEW” to “Cues” so the “prev”, “next” and “GO” buttons directly act on Cues and automatically point at the next Cue after one has been loaded. You may also want to set “POP-UP PREFS” to avoid having to systematically confirm loading a Cue.

 

  • When chaining cues or running a sequence of cues, the “Mix Init State” flag can disable loading the Mix initial Scene as a Mix file is. Hitting “RtZ” for example will reset the X/M32 to the state of the X/M32 at the cue load time.

 

 

 

xrr_edit: An AutoMate event file editor

 

There are times when one needs to amend or update data in the event file(s) created by X32ReaperAutoMate or X32XLiveAutoMate. To help when online, the applications propose different options with Channel Select to choose two sources, and Channel Edit and Delete which enable selective editing and deleting already recorded events respectively, as the Mix is being played or developed.

xrr_edit is a standalone, separate application, enabling offline editing; The event file (with .xrr extension) of a saved Mix is first transcoded into readable format so it can be edited with a standard text editor[2] before being transcoded back into binary format suitable for use with X32ReaperAutoMate or X32XLiveAutoMate applications.

The file for text editing has a specific name [.xrrxrrxrr.xrr] and looks like below:

 

This represents a list of time stamps in the form hour:minute:second.millisecond, followed by a typical X/M32 OSC command [/ch/06/mix/fader~~~~] with a single tag parameter [,f~~], as the X32 sends when changes take place into the desk.  Tags can be ‘f’ for float, ‘i’ for integer, or ‘s’ for string. The ‘~’ character is used to represent a byte with value 0 (which cannot be displayed/edited in a text editor), and associated binary data values are displayed as float, integer or string data.

 

With the xrr_edit application it is possible to delete lines (events), change time stamps, commands or values as long as you respect the formats. The editor does not verify the syntax after edition; therefore, the saved/resulting file may be corrupted if these are not correct. For a description of X/M32 OSC commands and tags, please refer to the X32 OSC Remote Protocol document[3].

 

It may also be a good idea when editing files to insert new events in time ascending order in order to limit jerky moves in faders or jumps in console parameters.

 

[1] New with 2.000 versions of X32ReaperAutoMate and X32XLiveAutoMate

[2] X32AutoMate chose Notepad++ as a text editor

[3] X32/M32 OSC Manual available (free download in the Products section) at https://x32ram.com