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HOW TO | SMPTE timecode in Playback
HOW TO | SMPTE timecode in Playback

Getting started using SMPTE in Playback.

Trevor avatar
Written by Trevor
Updated over a week ago

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SMPTE Information

SMPTE is a set of standards used to label frames of video or film, and has been adapted to be used to synchronize audio, video, and lighting in productions.

Introduced in v7.6.5, SMPTE is now available in Playback natively.

NOTE: SMPTE is a Playback Premium feature and requires a Playback Premium seat.

Setting up SMPTE in Playback

SMPTE Frame Rate Settings

To enable SMPTE, first set the frame rate settings applicable to your setup from the “General” tab in PLayback’s settings.

Setting up the SMPTE bus output

Next, you’ll need to route the SMPTE buss to the appropriate output.

⚠️ Important Info:

  • The SMPTE bus cannot be routed to an output that already has an audio bus routed to it.

  • SMPTE sends a white-noise-like sound at a high volume that shouldn't be routed to speakers to prevent equipment damage.

To route the SMPTE bus, navigate to the “Busses” tab in Playback’s settings, and tap on the “SMPTE” bus to change its output. Now Playback will send SMPTE timecode out of the selected output. Continue to learn how to add or adjust SMPTE time markers.


Adjusting SMPTE Output Volume (New)

Requires Playback Version 8.1.4 or higher.

Now in Playback, you can adjust the output volume of SMPTE out of Playback using a dedicated SMPTE bus. To find the SMPTE bus, head to the "Buses" layer in Playback using the layer toggles to the left of the "Master" fader label in the bottom right corner of the Playback app.

Unique behavior with the SMPTE Bus that sets it apart from other buses in Playback:

  • The SMPTE Bus is locked as a global bus and is not effected by the "Song Specific Buses" toggle in Playback's "General" settings.

  • The SMPTE Bus cannot have MIDI Mapped to it while in MIDI Mapping edit mode.

  • The SMPTE Bus' Volume Fader cannot be automated with Automations in Playback. (The SMPTE Mute/Unmute toggle can be automated to mute and unmute SMPTE output.


Setting SMPTE Follow Behavior Per Song (New)

Requires Playback Version 8.1.4 or higher.

By default, SMPTE in Playback will dynamically change with the song section changes made in Playback. For example, if a chorus is removed, the SMPTE for the following sections would all be adjusted accordingly and would dynamically change. Adding a song section would do the same where it would adjust the SMPTE for subsequent song sections.

Now in Playback, there's a way to change this behavior with a new 'Follow Default Arrangement' toggle, available in each individual song's edit menu. When 'Follow Default Arrangement' is enabled, SMPTE timecode will be based off of the default song map, with duplicated/deleted sections not affecting the timecode of the surrounding sections. When disabled, SMPTE timecode will be based off of the current song map.

Enabling "Follow Default Arrangement"

  • Open the "Setlist" edit menu by clicking "Edit" in the top right and confirming you have the first "Setlist" edit menu selected.

  • Tap on a song tile to open its' song menu.

  • Scroll down in the song menu to the "SMPTE" portion toward the bottom of the song's edit menu and toggle on "Follow Default Arrangement."

Note: Users working with SMPTE to program show elements may get unexpected results if working with "Follow Default Arrangement" enabled and ARE NOT building off the default arrangement of the song in Playback.


Adding and Adjusting SMPTE Markers

To add or adjust a SMPTE marker, tap the “Edit” button to reveal the edit menu, and select “SMPTE" on the far right of the edit menu drawer.

You'll now see your marker on the timeline for each song. Tap a markers label to reveal the marker's edit window and its settings. From here you can change the markers position and the SMPTE Time start. Be sure to select “Update” after making any changes to update the MIDI marker appropriately.

Have any more questions? Check out the full Playback User Guide, or use the messenger on the bottom right of your screen for additional help & Support!


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