BETTER BY DEFAULT

[Updated for QLab 4.1 13 JUL 17]

The default cue level and crosspoint settings for a QLab audio cue are really only useful and appropriate for a 24 channel audio file, matrixed one to one to 24 audio  outputs.

Default Default levels

As at least 99.99 percent  of QLab use is not likely to use such a configuration, it’s probable that your workflow could be improved substantially by creating new default levels for new audio cues in settings/audio.

In this example we will assume that the bulk of our audio files are 2 channel (stereo). We will also assume that we want to manipulate levels primarily using the level sliders, only rarely altering crosspoint values.  In this example we have 10 audio outputs on our interface assigned to speakers as follows:

Outputs

At this stage you may have two questions:

Q: How do I name the cue level sliders?

A: settings/edit patch/cue outputs

Edit Patch

Q: What do  OP and PS  mean in these names?

A:  These are the traditional British terms which denote which side of the stage we are referring to. Prompt Side (PS) is on the actor’s left and  the audience’s right. Opposite Prompt (OP) is on the actor’s right or the audience’s left. I prefer them to left and right as they are completely unambiguous. I often come across rigs where the main PA is described as PA Left and Right, meaning audio left and right as in a conventional home stereo, however the upstage speakers are called Up Stage Right (USR)  and Up Stage Left (USL), as in actors left and right, which would be the normal theatre terms for these positions. OP and PS can only mean one thing.

Going back to our named channels, we have 6 outputs that are most likely going to be used as stereo pairs:

PA OP, PA PS, US OP, US PS, SURR OP, and SURR PS

and 4 outputs that are going to be monaural.

USC (Up Stage Centre), SUBS (Mono), and 2 feeds to practical loudspeakers on the set, GRAM and RADIO.

Given that, in this example, most of our audio material is mixed as stereo, our default levels and cross points might be set up in settings/audio like this:

 New Default

Which would create cues with the following default settings in the Device & Levels tab of the inspector:

Device and Levels

If we dragged an audio file to the workspace, this would mean that, by default, the cue plays from the main loudspeaker system (PA OP and PA PS) at a moderate volume. It also means that all the other sliders are immediately ready for use, and that sound can be sent to these outputs just by raising the slider levels. It also ensures that stereo audio files are premixed to Mono for our 4 monaural feeds.

We may also usefully gang our 3 stereo cue outputs in pairs.  This can be achieved in settings/audio by using Assign Gangs, and then putting an identical alphanumeric character in the gang fields you wish to group like this:

Pair Gangs

The example workspace shows  the classic ‘non diegetic’ to ‘diegetic’ sound curtain up sequence. Otherwise known as the one where the music starts front of house and crossfades to a record player/radio on stage.

Here’s a screen recording of the sequence being created, in a workspace with the defaults set as above:

You can download the workspace here

MenuGraphic

The example video contains royalty free music by Kevin McLeod (Incompetech.com)