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How I script

Crispy Pyro

Member
Joined
Apr 2019
Messages
10
Someone posted a comment on my YouTube video asking how I do scripting, so I thought I'd post the info here as well in case others are interested.

1: Update inventory in Excel. I've got a workbook with lots of formulas so I can see what I have in inventory, what I've used for the current year, what's left, etc. (as well as basic metadata on timing, effect, etc.).

2: Create simulations in Finale for anything new (cakes, shells, etc.). I do this up front so it doesn't interrupt my flow. I've found getting things right in Finale (especially timing) really helps me when it comes to mapping out the show. I probably go overboard on trying to get the simulations accurate, especially since the old version of the software won't be supported next year and I can't justify the Finale 3D cost. This part probably isn't as critical, but I love being able to see my show.

3: Edit song(s) for time using Audacity or Adobe Audition. I try to always start with FLAC files as source, and I output mp3 & FLAC versions of the edited songs. Audition is a lot more powerful in how edits work, but it's expensive. I add 10 seconds of silence to the beginning of each song.

4: Script each song one at a time as their own "show" in Finale. I do separate "shows" for several reasons, including the fact that Finale got unstable for me as my show got bigger, I like to play with song order, and if a song isn't working for me, I can swap something else in. I update inventory in Excel with what I use as I go. As I work on additional songs I will sometimes over-use my inventory, but I don't worry too much about that in this first phase. I watch, tweak, repeat a bunch of times until I feel like I'm 90% there with what I want. Some song are really easy (30 min - 1 hour). Others are not (1-5 hours). It really depends on how complex the song is.

5: Merge the songs into a single file using Audacity. This is why I output FLAC versions during the editing step, so my final output is of highest possible quality.

6: Merge the "shows" into a single show in Finale. This part is probably the clunkiest since copy/paste doesn't work quite how I'd like it to in Finale, but I make it work.

7: Clean up the show. Now that everything is in one place I spend 5-8 hours tweaking various things like resolving inventory issues, shift things around, add/remove effects, etc.
 

UPPyro23

Member
Joined
Jul 2019
Messages
6
I know exactly what you mean by finale gets unstable for you using one long script. When I get to the end of my script especially at the tail end of the finale, the software doesn't like to cooperate and likes to freeze on me (due to my laptop)

I never thought about scripting each individual song like you are suggesting. How exactly do you merge all your different scripts(songs) together into one after you have say 5 different scripted songs in finale? Do you then open your one finished music track on finale, then somehow merge all the scripted simulations onto this script? Do you have a hard time adjusting the songs on the timeline or is it quite simple and I am not following you completely? Can you dumb it down a little bit for me?

Btw, Are you worried about what's going to happen come 2020 with finale? Will we still be able to script shows on finale or what exactly happens come 2020? I'm hoping they come up with a different solution for us 1-2 show a year backyard pyros, the cost of finale 3d is unrealistic for us. Maybe they will come up with a cost effective solution for us?? Doubtful I suppose, Back to cobra show creator I guess
 

Crispy Pyro

Member
Joined
Apr 2019
Messages
10
I'm definitely worried about what will happen in 2020. I tried to simulate what it would be like by running in offline mode, though I didn't spend much time. I'll get around to that eventually (I'm kinda in denial right now). I'm sure Cobra Show Creator is great, but I really like being able to visualize my show

Regarding the details of merging songs (warning, too much detail below)...

Setup/background: I have a default "template" show in Finale that has my firing positions mapped out but no music or cues. Every time I start a new show, I open that, add the audio, save as a new show, and start adding cues. Once everything is done:
  1. Write down the exact start time of the first cue in each song (for me it's usually ~10 seconds in since I add that to the beginning of each song).
  2. While merging the songs into a single file in Audacity, write down the exact start time of each song as it gets placed. This is the actual start of the file (including the 10 seconds of silence).
  3. Calculate the new start time for each first cue in the new file using the info above (I do this in Excel to make it easier)
    • Example: Song 2's first cue is at 10.2 seconds in the standalone show. When Song 2 audio is merged with the rest of the music, it starts at 1 minute 37 seconds. The new first cue location for Song 2 will be 1 minute 47.2 seconds.
  4. Open the template show, add the audio for the merged file, and save as a new show.
  5. Open the Song 1 show, select all of the events on the timeline, and copy them to the clipboard
  6. Switch back to the merged show, add a new cue to the time calculated in step 3 above, and paste.
  7. Click on the 1st pasted cue and drag it to align with the new cue created in step 6 above (it should move all of the pasted cues together).
    • Note: The paste will move the events over but not the cues.
  8. Repeat 5-7 for each song you have.
The paste operation doesn't also paste the cues. Since I do tweaking to the show even after everything is merged, I go back and add them. It's a little convoluted since you have to add the cue, drag anything aligned with that cue off the spot (and release the mouse), and then drag it back so it "snaps" to the underlying cue. If you don't you can't click/drag the cue and have the attached fireworks move with it. I don't know if this is necessary for other reasons since the cue isn't actually in the export for the firing system, but I've just always done it. I really wish the paste operation would paste the cue as well...

Rich
 

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