⭐ This article revolves around a Pro feature.
In other Sequencer articles, we've tried to explain the operation of the different modules. But you might feel that these rely too much on technical depictions and don't really show you how and when to use the modules.
Here, we'll present a use case using the Timeline. Of course, there are many ways to use HeavyM, but we thought a real-life example might help you understand the different playback possibilities.
Use case presentation
We want to create content based on an audio track. We don't have precise timings but we want our visuals to "fit" the song. Let's imagine we're making a teaser of our full project here, in a kind of Instagram Reel format. At our disposal we have:
- an audio track: "Indecision" by Dyalla (get it from the royalty-free Youtube Studio audio library)
- a project with some visuals, created using only HeavyM content, with just 2 simple shapes and some integrated effects: usecase-template_timeline.zip
And that's all we need to get started!
1. Getting comfortable
We know that we're going to be working mostly with the Timeline and the audio waveform, so let's configure the interface with only the modules we need.
We won't need to see the accurate rendering during creation, so if you have limited display space, you can open a small preview window with Output → Windowed, or even use only the Canvas as a preview by disabling View → Show Geometry and keeping only the rendering. Here's a suggestion:
2. Setting up the audio and Timeline
First off, let's import our audio file and set it on the Timeline. While HeavyM is not an audio editing software, there are some tips and tricks that can help set up in a simple situation:
- Import the audio file using this button .
- Set the Timeline length in the settings to the duration of the file (2:42). If you want to cut the end of the audio, you can also put an inferior Timeline length value.
- The audio file is adjusted at 00:00 but we only want to use parts of it. Here, we don't need powerful editing features so we'll just "cheat" with the help of cues.
Place "Marker" cues by double-clicking on the cue track and adjust them with the help of the audio and waveform. Navigate quickly in the track with a mousewheel grab or horizontal scroll and zoom in/out with a vertical scroll.
The part we want to keep is around 30s and starts at the 1minute mark. After that, we want to skip directly to the fade out at the end of the song. So we have placed 3 markers named "1", "2" and "3" at different positions (01:06.866 ; 01:29.227 ; 02:36.316).
- Now, we'll use "Jump" cue actions to skip the unwanted audio parts.
- Right-click at the start of the Timeline and select Add Cue → Jump to → 1 to create a cue at 00:00.
- Click on cue "2" and in the Cue Settings panel on the right change its action to "Jump to 3".
Our audio is ready! Place the playhead at the start and click on Play to see (and hear) that it now only loops on the parts we want.
Note: if you need more audio editing capabilities, there are many free apps out there to prepare your soundtrack before importing it into HeavyM. Audacity is a great one!
3. Using cues to trigger a chain of events
What we want now is to display specific sequences at specific moments in our audio. To do that, we simply need to place "Play" cues that relate to these sequences on our track. And it's pretty easy since we already have all the visuals ready with transitions organized in the sequences module!
- Let's transform Marker "1" into a "Play" cue first. Select it and change its action to "Play 0°" to play the first sequence.
- Then, simply set up cues on the track wherever you feel like. The easiest way to place a "Play" cue is to drag & drop a sequence directly onto the Timeline and adjust its position precisely with keyboard arrows.
- At the end of the track, we've also added a "Stop" cue so that our Timeline doesn't loop and the rendering stays in blackout.
An here's the full result, once we hit play, all the steps are automated and in sync: (volume up!)
4. (optional) Exporting the rendering as a video [⭐ Pro+]
Know that the total length of the Timeline is exported in this case, with only "Play" cues taken into account. As we've used "Jump to" cues in our example to "cheat" with the audio, some edition will be needed to get an accurate rendering though.
To prepare a project meant for a video export it is best, as advised earlier, to prepare your soundtrack in advance so that you don't have to use the "Jump to" trick in HeavyM. But you can also easily perform a few post-prod cuts on the export, for instance with the trim feature found in any native video editing app on your operating system (Clipchamp, iMovie, etc).