In HeavyM, Sequences are the objects that let you divide your mapping in multiple parts, kind of like scenes, or even slides! They are managed in the Sequences module, in the Sequencer.
In this article, you'll learn what you can achieve with them, how to organize them and playback possibilities.
What are sequences?
A Sequence is an object that contains shapes, which are stored in a Map and organized in Groups with their effects, and on which you can also apply effects, a transition, as well as include an audio file.
You can have as many sequences as you want in a project and in each sequence, you can change all these different elements and thus create a list of preset scenes that you can switch easily.
Edited vs. played
A sequence is represented by a tile in the grid of the module. It can be in three different states:
- Edited: the edited sequence is the one with the Edit button toggled ON . This sequence is the one shown and editable in the Canvas and whose settings are currently in the Settings panel. Only one sequence can be edited at a time and there is always one.
To make a sequence Editable, simply click on its Edit button.
- Played: the played sequence is the one whose tile is yellow, with a black dot in the top right corner. This sequence is the one currently displayed in the Output (whether there's a projection open or a Spout/Syphon/NDI render). Only one sequence can be played at a time and there can also be none.
To Play a sequence, simply click on its tile (it'll also become Edited). If you click on an empty cell, there is no Played sequence and the rendering is blacked out.
- Edited & Played at the same time: the same sequence can be both the Edited and the Played sequence. In this case, the sequence is fully yellow in the matrix and is both rendered in the Output and previewed in the Canvas.
Note: when the Played and Edited sequence are different, a warning appears above the Sequencer to remind you which sequence you're editing in the Canvas. Since the preview of the rendering is disabled in the Canvas in this case, it can be confusing.
Draft sequences (2.12)
If you want to make sure that a particular sequence doesn't get Played, for instance because you are still working on it or have changed your mind, but still want to keep it close, you can quickly put it in "Draft" mode (right-click "Mark as Draft").
Draft sequences can still be Edited, but can never be Played, even when mistakenly clicking on them. When you're ready to publish, right-click and chose "Mark as Ready".
The content of the Edited sequence can be changed in the Canvas, but a sequence also has a few properties that you'll find in the associated panel on the right of the module:
- Name: the name of a sequence is unique and is displayed on its tile in bold.
- Comment: it's a little note that you can add and that will be displayed on the tile in small text below the name.
- Color: the color of the tile representing the sequence in the grid. There are 7 possible colors. It doesn't affect content.
- Maps: shapes are stored in Maps. You can have as many as you want and you can choose which one to use in each sequence.
- Transition in: a sequence can have a unique transition. You can choose one for each sequence from a wide built-in catalogue (use the "..." button) and set its duration in seconds. The transition is triggered each time playback of the sequence is started. Most of them even have parameters that you can customize directly in the settings panel!
- Audio: you have the possibility to add one audio file on each sequence. The track is played when its associated sequence is Played and stops if the Played sequence changes. The track is restarted from the beginning each time playback comes back to this sequence.
- Shaders: in addition to the content inside the sequence, you can add post-processing effect on top of it (kind of like filters). They work like shaders on players.
To add a sequence, simply click on the + icon of an empty cell in the grid.
You can also use the right-click menu or common shortcuts to Copy/Cut/Paste/Duplicate an existing one, or use Insert to add a new one in a new column before/after.
Note: when you add a new sequence from the + button, it becomes Edited right away, but not Played, that way you can even add sequences during a live performances without disrupting playback. To add a sequence that is directly Edited + Played, double-click on the + button.
Sequences can be arranged as you wish in the grid, simply drag & drop them to move them around. You can add or remove rows/columns from the right-click menu in the grid to increase the size of the matrix.
You can even add different tabs of sequences. Each tab represent a new matrix view of sequences. To add a tab, click on the + icon in the title bar of the module. You can then go through the different view by clicking to select a tab or by using the arrow buttons.
Note: a sequence is unique and can only exist in one tab view at a time. To move a sequence to another tab, cut and paste it.
Automating the playback of sequences with Autopilot
As mentioned previously, to play a sequence, you can simply click on it in the grid manually and it'll be displayed in the Output, or use the Next and Previous buttons to play through the list of sequences in the tab. Another manual possibility is the use of Controls to trigger the playback.
But in a timed show or even sometimes during a live performance, you might want to play through a few sequences without manual intervention.
In this case, there are two options: using the Timeline module to program a chain of actions, or use the Autopilot mode, a quick-to-set-up playback option that is directly integrated in the Sequences module.
How does Autopilot work
What Autopilot does is that when it's ON, it goes through the list of sequences in a tab and changes which sequence is playing, one after the other, according to a few settings that you can adjust in the settings window from the title bar of the module:
To quickly disable the playback of a particular sequence in the list, put it in Draft mode (right-click "Mark as Draft"). Draft sequences are skipped by Autopilot. (2.12)
- Trigger next: this determines which sequencing step Autopilot uses between each sequence change. The same step is used for all sequence changes. If you want to vary between each sequence please see the Timeline module.
- Duration: Autopilot skips to the next sequence after a fixed duration, either in time or beats.
- Source: Autopilot skips to the next sequence when the first or last Source playing in the sequence ends. It is considered that a Source ends when its last media reaches its end (no matter which loop mode it it set too).
Note: if no Source is playing in the current sequence, it never skips to the next. Same goes if a media is on infinite loop in the middle of a Playlist Source, since the end of the last media is never reached, Autopilot never skips.
- Direction: this determines what the next sequence will be (empty cells don't count).
- Left to Right: Autopilot reads sequences in the tab from left to right, row by row.
- Random: the next sequence is chosen randomly from the ones in the same tab.
- Loop: this decides if Autopilot continues playing from the first sequence once it has finished playing all sequences in the tab, or if it simply stays on the last one (can only be unchecked in "Left to Right" direction.)
- Scroll follows playback: when this option is checked, the scroll automatically adapts in order to keep the Played sequence in the view (only if it's in the current tab) so that you can keep track of playback. This also works when changing sequence manually while Autopilot is OFF.
Running with Autopilot
To turn ON Autopilot, simply click on the toggle button in the title bar of the module . There are two possibilities:
- There is no sequence playing when Autopilot is toggled: the first sequence of the current tab (row 1, column 1) starts to play and Autopilot will play through the list of sequences in this same tab, skipping Draft sequences.
- There is already a sequence playing when Autopilot is toggled: the activation is seamless, the Played sequence keeps running and Autopilot simply starts the timer at first. When one step has passed, it jumps to the next sequence in the same tab (but skips Draft sequences).
To turn OFF Autopilot, simply untoggle the button . Playback will just stay on the same sequence until you change it manually.
Note: while Autopilot is ON, you can manually change the Played sequence. In this case, a new step begins and playback resumes from this sequence. If the trigger in question is on an empty cell, then it stays on loop in blackout until you manually change it again.