6. The Timeline
The Timeline is where you build your show. Learn how to navigate the Timeline, create new tracks, add sections, and much much more.
6.1 Overview of the Timeline
What is the Timeline?
The terms Timeline and Track Player both refer to the section at the bottom of the d3 interface. The reason for using two different names to describe the same section is that they suggest different meanings; whilst Timeline conveys a sense of time, Track Player refers to the function of playing a track. Therefore both names are used synonymously within the User Guide depending on their context.
Objects within the Track Player
The Track Player is a specialised object editor used to play and edit tracks. All d3 sequencing and Timeline information is organised into tracks. The Track Player is constructed from a series of properties explained below to make playing and editing tracks more intuitive.
Track title bar ( 1-5 )
The Track title bar contains a series of time read outs for the currently selected track:
- Time passed since the track started ( 1 )
- Section name ( 2 )
- Time passed since the start of the current section ( 3 )
- MIDI time code (MTC) ( 4 )
- Track name ( 5 )
Please see the sub-chapter Tracks overview for information on tracks.
Content layer ( 6 )
Shows all content layers and their arrangement in time. Please see the chapter Working with Layers for information on how to create, sequence and structure different content layers on the Timeline. In addition, please see the chapter Audio for information on how to attach audio files to the Timeline.
Track bars ( 7 )
Shows one rectangle per bar (4 beats), with section boundaries marked with different colours; the white rectangle shows the location of the Play cursor.
Track notes ( 8 )
Allows you to place text notes on the Timeline.
Scroll bar ( 9 )
Lets you work with very long tracks.
Transport buttons ( 10 )
Controls how you move around the track : Play, Play-to-end-of-section, Loop Section, Stop, Previous and Next Section, Return-to-track-start, and Previous / Next Track.
Frames-per-second value ( 11 )
Shows the number of frames d3 is processing per second.
Time value ( 12 )
Explains the current time in your location.
Closing/re-opening the Track Player
- Left-click the ‘x’ icon in the top left corner of the Track Player to close the Track Player.
- Left-click track in the d3 State editor (bar at the top of the screen) to re-open the Track Player.
This is a useful feature, particularly when you want to make screenshots and the Track Player is obscuring part of your view.
Controlling the Timeline with Artnet
d3 can be configured to control the Timeline with Artnet. For step-by-step instructions on how to do this please read the sub-chapter Controlling the Timeline with Artnet.
6.3 Tracks overview
What is a track?
All d3 sequencing and Timeline information is organised into tracks. Tracks provide a method for organising the show; the entire show may be placed into one track, or can be divided into multiple tracks.
Using tracks to sequence content to the beat
As described above in the Overview of the Timeline sub-chapter, the Track Player is used to play and edit tracks. This chapter explains how to create, manage and edit tracks. However, what is not discussed are layers and audio files. Layers are placed on the Timeline in the currently active track for d3 sequencing. This is fully explained in the Working with Layers chapter. Audio files are inserted into a track, enabling content to be sequenced to the beat. For more information please see the Audio chapter.
6.4 Creating/managing tracks
Creating a track
To create a track:
- Left‐click track in the d3 State editor (bar at the top of the screen). This will open up the Track manager.
- Type in the name of the new track in the new track text field and hit
Enter. The new track will be created, added to Track manager and activated on the Timeline.
Switching from one track to another
- Select the track you want to switch to from the Track manager. The currently active track in the Timeline will immediately update.
Creating a set-list
A show often uses many tracks. To make this easier to manage the tracks can be organised into track set-lists.
To create a set-list:
- Right-click the all box to open up an options menu.
- Left-click new box to highlight the text field.
- Type in a name, in this example set list.
- Left-click and drag tracks from the all box into the set list box.
- Deactivate the Sort button to drag tracks in the correct order. The Sort button’s background shows as a light grey when it is activated and black when it is deactivated.
6.5 Editing tracks
Right‐click the Track Player title bar. This will open up a Track editor that lets you edit various track properties.
If set to a non‐null object, selecting the track will automatically change the output feed setting to the specified feed.
If required, d3 can disable DMX fixture output whenever the track is selected. To do this, set DMX fixtures to disabled.
This property allows individual tracks to override the Master Transport object. This allows each track to specify its own triggering mechanism. For example, one track may trigger itself via beat‐clock, one via MIDI Show Control and yet another one via DMX.
By default, when you jump from one section to another, d3 will respond immediately. If the quant property is 1, d3 will wait until the next 1‐beat boundary before responding; when the value is 4, then it will wait until the next 4‐beat boundary. Quant can be useful when jamming to music outside of a normal track environment, but it is not recommended for normal use.
This reads out the average beats per minute (bpm) of the entire track. Editing the bpm value has no effect; it simply reflects the average bpm.
By default the bpm value is set to 60 meaning that each bar represents 4 seconds. For shows where quantized audio is not required it can be useful to set the bpm to 240. Each bar will then represent 1 second, i.e. jumping for example to the 17th bar in the timeline means that you are 17 seconds into the track.
This represents the number of bars in the track. Editing this value changes the length of the track; you can use it to truncate or extend the track.
If for any reason you need to delay various tracks differently, you can do this by right-clicking the track titlebar to open up the timecode chase tab and editing the MTC adjust property.
For more information on timecode chasing please see the sub-chapter Midi timecode control.
To select tracks based on an external MIDI note event, type in the track ID property in the text field with either a note number or note name (eg. ‘C#1’). When d3 receives a MIDI note, it will scan all tracks in the current active set-list. If it finds a match, it will trigger the track. For more information on MIDI notes please see the sub-chapter Midi notes.
For step-by-step instructions on how to use the track ID property to change tracks with artnet scroll down to the section ‘Step 3: Changing tracks with artnet’ from the sub-chapter Controlling the Timeline with Artnet.
Midi Bank LSB
To select tracks based on a bank select message, type in the midi bank LSB value in the text field. When the specified bank number is received, the track will be triggered. This setting is useful when you are driving d3 from a drum machine or MPC device.
By default, the action taken when the track is triggered is specified by the MasterTransport object (for more information please see the sub-chapter MIDITransport). However, a track can override this behaviour by setting its auto play value to one of the following: play, play-to-end-section, loop section, or off (which does nothing).
This property is used when synchronising to MIDI beat‐clock (as opposed to using timecode). It sometimes happens that the clock received is a multiple of the track bpm. For example, the track may originally be 60 bpm, but the input clock is received at 120 bpm. Setting the clock divider property allows you to scale the input clock; in this example, setting the divider to 2 will achieve the desired result.
The count in property is also used only when synchronising to MIDI beat‐clock. When the clock starts for the first time, d3 will wait for the specified number of beats before triggering track play.
Scroll down to the section ‘MIDI beat-clock track settings’ in the MIDI beat-clock sub-chapter for more information.
d3 allows you to export Track Cue notes to a table, allowing you to edit them en masse in a word‐processor or spreadsheet.
Write Cue Table
Left-clicking write cue table opens up a tab‐separated text file in a folder called
Read Cue Table
Edit the cue names in the text file. Then go back to the Cue Table and left-click read cue table to load and apply the cue names.
6.6 Adding/removing sections
Adding a section
- Right‐click the bar at the point where you want to the start a new section and select split section fom the popup menu.
- You can also hit
Alt‐S, which creates a section break at the current cursor position.
Removing a section
- Right‐click a bar within the section and select the merge section option from the popup menu. As a result, the current section will merge with the previous section.
- You can also hit
Alt‐M, which merges the section containing the current cursor position with the previous section.
Jumping Track bars on the Timeline using keyboard arrows
You can control how to jump Track bars on the Timeline. This is useful if you want to, for example, find and create a cue point on the track from when the chorus is about to start later in a music video. To do this:
- Right-click the d3 icon at the top left corner to open up the Program Settings menu.
- Left-click deferred jump. This will point to two options.
- Left-click yes to activate deferred jump. With this feature activated, you can now hit the left or right
Arrowkeys to jump Track bars without losing sight of the original bar you jumped from (this bar will also continue to flash).
- Left-clicking no will deactivate this feature.
Jumping to cues from a cue-list
After creating sections and adding notes you can open a cue-list from which you can jump to a specific cue.
Ctrl+Gto open the cue-list.
- Left-click the name of the cue (the note name) to jump to the selected cue.
6.7 Adding notes
- To add a textual note or a section name to a point on the timeline, right‐click the bar where you want to add a note, left-click the note text field and type in the text you want to add.
- Alternatively, you can hit
Ctrl‐N, which lets you type in or edit the note for the current cursor position.