Simple Step To Next Cut

The example scenario is multiple sound effect clips on one timeline (or maybe multiple timelines, nobody’s picky) separated by brief silences. A method to step forward (or back, but that’s not as important) during a live theatrical performance to the beginning of each cut without looking at the keys or screen and certainly not using a mouse. Cue up the clopping horses hooves or thunder and rain.

It’s not completely outrageous to want this for special effects and themes on a podcast, either. I did my tests in iTunes and while useable, was way too much work and took too much attention.

Spacebar Play and Stop.
Alt-Shift-F9 to cue and select the next cut. I’ve got sticky tape on the keys so I can find them quickly.


This is with reference to this posting:

They insisted on using labels, but I don’t care how it’s done.


I’ve read the thread, but the solution that spontaneously came to my mind does not work on Mac or Linux.
Imagine a Nyquist plug-in with 2 controls:

  • a multi choice with the entries 0, 1, … y, z.
  • a text field with the path to a label file.

You can now create up to 36 labels and export them as a text file.
When you start the plug-in for the first time, it will be necessary to enter the path (or we can choose a default value, such as “c:userdocumentssound-cues.txt”)
However, the multi choice control has the focus by default and it is enough to press the desired number or character and enter to play this clip.
Alternatively, you can organize the clips as independent tracks (up to 36) and do as before.
And a third method is to sort the clips in one track by the length of silence that surround them - either by a threshold or an explicit number of clips that should be produced.

I posted a couple of options to that question that do not necessarily involve labels

press the desired number or character and enter to play this clip.

That’s closer, but that has a production disadvantage. Since there is no cue-up-and-wait at the start of the desired clip, there will always be a delay between the keystroke and sound as the computer has to think about it. I consider it a very minor problem that you have to know in advance the number of the clip and you can’t go over 10 (too many keystrokes).

I don’t use regions (yet), but what we need is one tab-like keystroke that shifts focus to the next region. Normal Spacebar play should be able to take it from there.

Icing on the cake is Shift-Tab which selects the previous region. Obviously, I’m making up those keystrokes. We all immediately ran into the problem that all the desirable keystrokes and key combinations get captured by Label Text Editing. That’s why if labels are used at all they need to be carefully constrained. Pretty labels are not the goal.


Missed a step.

Is there any advantage to stacking the clips one above the other and semi-automatically switching up or down? You would have to manage SOLO or MUTE and Focus.

MUTE the current track.
Lower The Focus One Track and Un-MUTE and Wait.
Spacebar Play.

And then whatever the reverse of that would be to go back up if needed for, for example, rehearsals.

No labels, so all the keystrokes and combinations become fair game.


This is really easy to accomplish, except…
Try this:

  1. Create 15 secs of Noise
  2. label 3 non-contiguous ~3 sec regions
  3. click in the 1st label’s text field
  4. use the mouse (spacebar is gobbled by the label) to click Play in the Transport toolbar
    4a) after the first region plays the playback stops
  5. press the second region is selected-wait for the cue…
  6. again use the mouse to click Play in the Transport toolbar
    7-) repeat until the final SFX

Now, the less than easy part will be to create a keyboard shortcut which activates Play on the Transport toolbar. This is left to the reader as a challenge !

See? Label is not a unalloyed advantage.

That may work for the poster. I’m going to paste that into his thread.


(2 new posts meanwhile…)
The label solution could benefit from a play button in the edit labels dialog - a feature that is already proposed.
By the way, the delay for a sound played by a nyquist plug-in is currently 0.3 s.
It would be easy to write a plug-in (or rather 3 in a bundle) that can cycle through the tracks and play them.
in the analyse menu would be:

  • play current
  • play next
  • play previous
    You select all tracks and execute one of these plug-ins.
    It now copies all clips to memory (maximum 10 s or so) and returns the message “Initialized”.
    you now may have assigned the keys 2 3 and 4 to the individual plug-ins.
    4 would play the next clip, 3 repeatetly play the current (not the one in focus, that’s not possible) and 2 would jump back 1 clip.
    However, that’s not a good solution for a live pod-cast production.
    It would be nicer to have shortcuts that do play a certain track whilst recording.
    For example, you import all the clips you need (up to 10).
    You mute all tracks.
    You then start recording.
    You press shift-0 to play your intro piece and announce the episode number.
    And so on.
    The condition would be that the first tracks start playback from the very left - not the position on the recording time line.
    However, this idea can also dig its own grave at once since this is hardly possible with the current stream structure used by Audacity.
    But something along your ideas from above could certainly be realized using Auto-Hotkey or something similar.

The easiest solution: Use the right tool for the job. If they are on Windows, “MultiPlay” is free and excellent:

Not surprisingly, for Mac the right tool costs $'s (but I hear that it is very good).