Essential Tools

Bedroom Producer’s Blog – Essential Sources

BPB

This blog is exactly what it says on the tin: a blog entirely geared toward producers tweaking away in their bedrooms.  There’s plenty of sources for free stuff, but most of them are hit-or-miss in terms of quality.  You’re not likely to find any buggy, poorly designed, or otherwise useless freeware at BPB.  Everything they’ve ever led me to has been extremely use-able and a lot of my current go-to synths, effects, and samplesets are finds from BPB.  Be sure to check out their ‘best of’ lists.

http://bedroomproducersblog.com/

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Push Style Layout For any DAW with Katapult

Last week I talked about how great the Push was.  It’s still great, and I still don’t have one, but the scripts I made for FL Studio let me close my eyes and pretend a little.  But what about other Digital Audio Workstations?

Anyone using Ableton Live will probably make use of the built-in scripting options to make your own Push-ified Launchpad.  Motscouscous.com really dug deep into the Python scripting for Ableton and made a ridiculously functional Push emulation available HERE.

For anybody using a DAW other than those listed above, I recommend Katapult:

Katapult is a very flexible mapping application for the Novation Launchpad and apple iPad. It allows you to map customisable multipage layouts to the Launchpad  or iPad and send the MIDI output to any MIDI application or device. Katapult supports bi-directional communication, meaning that your software can update the controls on the Launchpad or iPad surface.

– midikatapult.com

Alongside some great built-in controller layouts, you can script your own pages (up to 16) by editing ‘layout.txt’ in the Katapult’s home folder.   I’ve created 8 pages of Push-style keyboard layouts available HERE.  You can use this file to replace the original OR you can open your current layout and paste the text at the end.  Be sure to rename the page numbers at the beginning of each layout page to numbers that are not already taken.  I recommend 9-16, as it will give you the native Katapult functions on the first row and the Push scalar layouts on the second.

Page order is as follows:

  1. Major
  2. C Dorian
  3. C Phrygian
  4. C Lydian
  5. C Mixolydian
  6. C Aeolian (Minor)
  7. C Locrian
  8. Chromatic Layout (lit buttons are white keys, unlit buttons are black keys)

Push Style Layout for Launchpad in FL Studio

If you’ve not heard of the Ableton Push, I suggest you check it out, if for no other reason than to see what’s really possible with a touch sensitive grid these days.  Alongside everything else it does, I’m particularly impressed with how they’ve chosen to lay out their instrument controller mode.  Rather than try to awkwardly squeeze all 12 tones onto the grid, or arrange the 8 ‘in key’ notes in straight octaves across each row, each row is in key and a fourth up from the last.  I’ve never felt comfortable using a grid to control an instrument or play a melody because of how unnatural it feels, but this configuration really turns the grid into a comfortable way to play phrases:

Great right?

But If you’re like me you’ve got two problems:

1. You’re an FL Studio user

2. You don’t own an Ableton Push

No problem!

With the release of FL Studio 11, FL Studio now tightly integrates with the launchpad.  In addition to some pretty handy premade tools (including one or two of those awkward note layouts I was lamenting earlier), they’ve included the ability to create your own scripts.  Everything can be edited in Notepad.  Command lists and language can be found here: http://forum.image-line.com/viewtopic.php?p=672604.

Photo Aug 28, 4 35 05 PM

 

I’ve whipped up 7 different scales in the key of C.  Feel free to use or edit these scripts.  Just copy and paste them to C:\Program Files (x86)\Image-Line_FL11\FL Studio 11\System\Hardware specific\Novation Launchpad (this may be different depending on your machine and how you chose to install FL Studio) and delete the name of the scale from the filename (“Page15 Lydian.scr” should read “Page15.scr”).

Enjoy!: http://ge.tt/3li3BJq/v/0?c

Make it Go: Keying Video with Adobe Creative Suite (Green Screen)

You need to key something. You were pretty sure buying the Adobe Creative Suite meant that you had the capability, but nothing seems to work.  Everything you’ve tried gets you get one of two results:

  1. bits of your subject around the edges get keyed out (you don’t want that)
  2. bits of your green background around the edges of your subject are left in (you don’t want that either)

You sought help in various video edtiting and post production forums.  The advice you got probably centered on your lighting.  “You have to have perfect lighting, and a perfectly smooth green background with no variation in shading or color whatsoever,” they told you.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to reshoot (with a different camera or different lights or a different green screen).  You just need to use the right tools. (more…)

ASIO4ALL – A Must for PC Users

So, you’ve finally decided to jump into the world of digital audio.  You downloaded a program or two, maybe even bought yourself a MIDI controller, and you’d like to get started.  You’ve figured out how to load and record a virtual instrument.  Things are looking good.

But . . .

There’s a horrible lag between when you press a key on your midi controller and when the note sounds.  You notice the same lag when you press play, stop, or any of the other transport controls.  But worst of all, you can only load a couple of plugins before your computer starts to stutter.  You thought you had a fast machine, but your modest project has sent the CPU meter through the roof.  Between this stutter and the lag, there’s very little room for creativity. (more…)