RBN2 Camera And Lights
This document outlines the MIDI notes & text events for the purpose of creating the cameras and lights portion of Rock Band Network song authoring.
Rock Band Network camera focuses, cuts, post-processing, and lighting cues are controlled by MIDI text events in the VENUE track.
If you do not author any camera or lighting events, Magma will autogenerate a venue for you. Look on Magma's Game Data tab to select an autogenerated theme that best matches your song.
Once you place one camera or lighting MIDI text event in the VENUE track, autogeneration is disabled, and you must author every camera and lighting event. The easiest way to start is to export the autogenerated theme and edit that. On Magma's Game Data tab, click the Export button, and Magma will combine your tracks with the autogenerated VENUE track in the exported MIDI file.
Some Tips on Venue Creation
- For camera cuts, a basic rule of thumb for beginners is to have a new camera cut every 2-4 seconds.
- This gives enough time for the shot to be established, and allows for any camera movement that might occur (such an inward zoom or a pan to the left).
- Many shots tend veer away from its focus when displayed for too long; four seconds virtually prevents any camera angle from losing its focus.
- It is recommended to have at least one-twelfth of the cuts be directed cuts; however, it is not necessary to add these special directed cams manually. Directed cuts are included in the pool of shots that are randomly produced.
- When creating a Venue track, try to create 2-3 special moments for each minute of music. Then it will be easier to add 'filler' shots until the pace feels right, and those awesome moments will shine.
- Above all, let the feel of the song determine how many camera cuts there are. Some HMX-produced camera sequences feature shots lasting nearly 12 seconds, and the Venue track to Hello There by Cheap Trick averages only 1.5 seconds per shot! The Venue track should reflect the mood and feel of the song, and so will always be the best dictator of camera shots.
- Always double-check your lighting cues when using post-proc commands, to ensure that the onstage action is visible. For example, avoid the Photocopy post-proc during a blackout, unless the resulting pitch-black screen is desired.
- Go ahead and abuse some of the post-procs to obtain the desired effects! Lighting cues vary greatly from stage to stage, but camera effects will always work, no matter what venue the band is playing in.
The author specifies each shot that it would like to display by adding text events to the VENUE track. The complete list of shots/text events is below,
Because only 4 band members can be displayed onstage at any one time, and because specific shots can include guitar, bass, and keyboard band members, authors will need to “stack” multiple shots in some cases to ensure that the correct camera shot is played.
For example, if you would like to show a 2 shot with the vocalist and guitarist, similar shots with the bass player and keyboard player should be stacked at the same time, since you cannot guarantee that any one of those three band members will be present in the song.
Camera Shot Priority
If the camera system discovers multiple camera shots at one time it will evaluate them in a priority order and use the shot that most closely matches the band members present on stage. If no shots match, it will pick a shot from a list of generic shots. The camera shots below are in priority order; basically these are listed from most generic to most specific.
Generic Four Camera Shots
If no other shot can be matched, one of these is used.
A three-character shot may be selected in such cases as well.
Three character shots (no drum).
These shots are similarly low priority because they always work in all contexts and are quite general, though by definition slightly more specific than four character shots.
One character standard shots.
These shots are pretty specific, but actually less specific than particular two character combinations. Drums and vocals are lower priority because drums and vocals are always present (i.e. they are more generic shots).
One character closeups.
We would still want two character combinations to take priority over these, but these should take priority over more general single character shots (e.g. a bass closeup should beat a general keyboard shot in the bk instrument configuration). Once again, drums and vocals are lower priority.
Two character shots.
These are the most specific of the normal (i.e. non-directed) cam shot categories. Combos involving drums and vocals are lower priority since they are always valid and therefore more general.
Note 1: As an exception to the rule, a single keys shot will prioritize over any combo shot.
Note 2: If a band member is missing when these flags are called, and there are no other stacked flags, the duo camera cut will fall back to a single camera cut of the remaining band member.
Directed Cuts Priority
This section is intended to prioritize directed cuts only. For full information on how directed cuts work please see the “Directed Cuts” section below. Directed cuts are always more specific than normal cam shot categories. This list attempts to arrange them in order from least to most specific. First come the "all" shots, since they are always valid and are therefore generic.
- [directed_all_lt] *
- [directed_drums_lt] *
- [directed_drums_kd] *
- [directed_bass_cls] *
- [directed_guitar_cls] *
*Free directed cuts
Directed cuts are special camera shots containing animations that don't appear in the normal looping animations that are seen when calling basic camera cuts.
When calling a directed cut, the text event for the directed cut should be placed where you want to see the 'hit' of the animation. For instance, if a shot of the bassist jumping, or the guitarist kicking the camera is called, the note should be authored on the beat where the bassist should land, or the impact of the guitarist's kick should fall. Directed cuts have a variable amount of pre‐roll, meaning that the camera system switches to the directed cut, but not the 'hit', a bit before where the text event is placed on the track.
Vocal and guitar shots designated with PR have longer Pre-roll (the animations have greater potential to start long before where the note is placed), and PT shots have longer Post-roll (less pre-roll, and more designed to happen after the hit).
These directed cuts feature the entire band. Use sparingly, as they are very dramatic and should be used for very special moments in the music. Using them too often may make the moments look forced, and cause them to lose their specialness.
A pool of varying shots of guitar/bass/keys/vocals interacting with one another. Works nicely for exciting parts of songs, especially ones with sing-alongs.
- [directed_all_lt] *
Tricky to time correctly, but when used in conjunction with [bonusfx], looks nice in glam metal songs and tracks by big bands.
For a Big Rock Ending. All the characters will flail around and shred on their instruments.
Makes all the characters, stomp, strum hard, or bang on the drums on the BRE final note.
These are directed cuts featuring a single character when he/she is not playing in the [idle] state.
Standard directed cuts featuring a single character which have a “hit” moment, like kicking the camera or dropping to the floor or pointing. Drums has an alternate long duration version (lt = long time)
- [directed_drums_lt] *
These are directed cuts featuring a single character and have a specific hit that is often kicking or headbutting the camera, with the guitar and bass characters hitting the camera with their instrument. Keys and bass don’t have pre-roll and post-roll pools, because there are fewer cuts.
These are stage dive shots. Currently, only the vocalist does stage dives. These should also be used with caution, to avoid the effect of the vocalist 'teleporting' back onto the stage on the next focus note call. It's best to only use these if there are at least 16 measures of music after the directed cut before singing/tambourine/cowbell resumes, to simulate the effect that the vocalist got back on stage. Another thing to keep in mind is that there is no lip sync in a stage dive cut, so when the character dives, his/her mouth will not move.
These are close up shots that are used to emphasize a player, specifically hand animations, lip sync, and kick pedal movement. They are great for interesting vocals sections, guitar or bass solos, or parts with heavy drum work.
- [directed_bass_cls] = fretboard shot *
- [directed_guitar_cls] = fretboard shot *
- [directed_drums_kd] = drummer’s kick pedal *
This is a pool of shots in which the drummer points at the camera. Use with caution, because in some shots the drummer won't be playing.
Guitarist interacts with the audience, like high‐fives, showing off for the crowd, etc. Good for more silent breakdown sections.
Same as crowd_g but for the bassist.
These are sing‐along shots. Guitar and bass will interact with the vocalist, while the drummer has his/her own set of solo shots.
*These free directed cut flags only involve unique camera angles while still using looping animation flags authored on the instrument tracks.
- 87 D#5 = makes the guitarist sing along (or keys in the absence of guitar)
- 86 D5 = makes the drummer sing along.
- 85 C#5 = makes the bass player sing along (or keys in the absence of bass)
The above are sing‐along notes‐‐they apply the lip‐sync animation from the vocalist to other characters during playback.
Note that if Harmony parts are present for the vocals these notes will cause the guitarist to lip-sync Harmony 2, the bass/keyboard to lip-sync Harmony 3, and the drummer to lipsync Harmony 1. If there is only a bassist/keyboardist present on screen, bass will lip-sync HARM2 and keyboard will lip-sync HARM3.
Unlike focus notes that regulate camera cutting, these notes must extend for the length that the author wishes to make the selected character sing along.
- 41 E#1 = spotlight on keys
- 40 E1 = spotlight on vocals
- 39 D#1 = spotlight on guitar
- 38 D1 =spotlight on bass
- 37 C#1 = spotlight on drums
Spotlight notes can be used one at a time or in conjunction with each other, in any combination. Like the sing‐along notes, spotlight notes must be authored for the length of time the author wishes the light to remain active. When the note ends, the light will turn off.
- C3 note: Spotlights use about a second or so to get fully lit. If you want the light to sync better with the music, drag the MIDI note back to start a 32th (or even a 16th at higher tempos) before you want the spotlight to actually hit and it should look more synced in-game.
These text events are used to apply video post‐processing. These are video effects that are added on top of the existing camera shot to provide additional ways to make the performance look awesome.
A video demonstrating how each effect looks in-game can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUjv-dCQ2gs
- [ProFilm_a.pp] - Default post-process, no notable effects
- [ProFilm_b.pp] - slightly mutes all colors
- [video_a.pp] - slightly grainy video
- [film_16mm.pp] - grainy video
- [shitty_tv.pp] - very grainy video, dramatically lightens colors
- [bloom.pp] - slightly brightens picture and adds a choppy, low frame-per-second effect
- [film_sepia_ink.pp] - reduces colors to a wide range of yellowish-gray shades
- [film_silvertone.pp] - reduces colors to a wide range of gray shades
- [film_b+w.pp] - reduces colors to a variety of gray shades, smaller range than film_silvertone
- [video_bw.pp] - reduces colors to a variety of gray shades, smaller range than film_silvertone, slightly gritty
- [contrast_a.pp] - very gritty, somewhat polarized black and white
- [photocopy.pp] - choppy, low frame-per-second effect
- [film_blue_filter.pp] - reduces colors to a wide range of blue shades
- [desat_blue.pp] - produces slightly grainy images with blue tinge
- [video_security.pp] - grainy, reduces colors to a wide range of green shades
- [bright.pp] - brightens lights to a bloom-esque effect, lightens darks
- [posterize.pp] - flattens colors, notable in shadows
- [clean_trails.pp] - creates a small video feed delay, like a visual "echo"
- [video_trails.pp] - creates a video feed delay, longer delay than clean_trails
- [flicker_trails.pp] - creates a video feed delay, slightly darkens images and mutes colors
- [desat_posterize_trails.pp] - creates a long video feed delay, flattens colors
- [film_contrast.pp] - darkens darks, lightens lights
- [film_contrast_blue.pp] - darkens darks, lightens lights, slightly blue hues
- [film_contrast_green.pp] - darkens darks, lightens lights slightly green hues
- [film_contrast_red.pp] - darkens darks, lightens lights slightly red hues
- [horror_movie_special.pp] - polarizes colors to either red or black
- [photo_negative.pp] - inverses colors
- [ProFilm_mirror_a.pp] - left side of screen mirrors right side, changes colors to variety of oranges, greens, and yellows
- [ProFilm_psychedelic_blue_red.pp] - polarizes colors to either red or blue
- [space_woosh.pp] - lightens colors dramatically, creates three small video feed delays in blue, red, and green
For a page with screenshots of the Post Process effects, go to Post Process Screenshots (C3 Note: currently unavailable).
Lighting cue text events are added to the VENUE MIDI to change the on-stage lights in each venue. Every in-game venue has its own preset lighting arrangements that are called off by the cues. Smaller venues tend to have much lower variety (upwards having only a few white lights to use), while the biggest stages have dozens of colors shining of the stage.
All lighting cue text events are formatted as [lighting (________)], with the descriptor for each one filling in the blank. For example, a fast strobe cue would be entered as [lighting (strobe_fast)]
(Note: The [lighting ()], [verse], and [chorus] events used in RBN1 Venue authoring are no longer valid entries)
This is a cue to transition between the lighting state used for the introduction to the song and the actual authoring. It should be used as the very first lighting preset and can be blended into the next authored state.
C3 note: As of RB3, this seems to no longer be necessary.
Manual Lighting Calls
These presets use the keyframe triggers below to cycle through their colors.
- verse = tends towards soft yet full blends, such as orange and green; varies per venue
- chorus = tends towards stark, dramatic colors to invoke a peak state, such as saturated blue and red; varies per venue
- manual_cool = cool temperature lighting.
- manual_warm = warm temperature lighting.
- dischord = harsh lighting, blend of dissonant colors.
- stomp = all lights on or off; only responds to [next] trigger
Lighting Keyframe Triggers
These text events are used to cycle through the keyframes of the lighting. (Note: these do not require the [lighting (_____)] format, and are simply bracketed)
Automatic Lighting Calls
These presets are set lighting cues. Some will cycle automatically over time. Note that frenzy, bre, loop_cool, and loop_warm will not cycle automatically (and can't be cycled manually) if they are the last lighting cue in the song, a cue of a different lighting style must be called before the end of the song for them to cycle.
- loop_cool = blend of cool temperature colors.
- loop_warm = blend of warm temperature colors.
- harmony = blend of a harmonious color palette.
- frenzy = frenetic, dissonant colored lighting that alternates quickly.
- silhouettes = dark, atmospheric lighting, shows of the darkened silhouettes of the characters
- silhouettes_spot = same as above, but can be used in conjunction with spotlights. Characters are also visible.
- searchlights = lights that sweep individually.
- sweep = lights that sweep together in banks.
- strobe_slow = strobe light that blinks every 16th note/120 ticks.
- strobe_fast = strobe light that blinks every 32nd note/60 ticks.
- blackout_slow = darken the stage slowly.
- blackout_fast = darken the stage quickly.
- blackout_spot = blackout state with an added underlighting – it’s the blackout equivalent of silhouettes_spot. Use this where it would make sense to use blackout while putting a spot on, say, the guitarist, but where the guitarist might be absent (meaning the whole stage is just blacked out). Also good for the ends of songs if you still want to be able to see your characters
- flare_slow = bright white flare that fades slowly into the next lighting preset.
- flare_fast = bright white flare that fades quickly into the next lighting preset.
- bre = frenetic lighting used during a Big Rock Ending. Looks like [lighting (frenzy)], only crazier.
For a list of lighting calls with screenshots, check out Lighting Screenshots
Lighting and Post Process Blending
Lighting presets and Post Procs may be blended into each other, by the simple method of putting down 2 of the same queue in a row. The system works as follows:
If you place two different events down, the system will cut sharply from one to the other. In this example the engine will switch from [Lighting A] to [Lighting B] at the location of the [Lighting B] event:
[Lighting A] . . . | . . . | . . . | [Lighting B]
In this example the engine will blend between [Lighting A] to [Lighting B] beginning at the second [Lighting A] event and ending at the [Lighting B] event:
[Lighting A] . . . | [Lighting A]| . . . | [Lighting B]
The system works in exactly the same way for Post Process Effects.
- C3 note: This trick can also be used to make a directed camera cut last for a custom amount of time.
These calls trigger an explosion and a sound effect on the note they are called. These should be used sparingly, to really accent certain parts of the song. We usually only use Pyrotechnics 2 or 3 times in any song, if it's used at all.
- [bonusfx] = Triggers the explosion effect. [bonusfx] will only be seen in arenas, and the system will ignore the [bonusfx] call in smaller venues. A song with 6 [bonusfx] calls played in an arena will show 6 explosions, but the same song played in in a small club will show none.
- [bonusfx_optional] = Same as the above, but the effect will only be triggered when the player is doing well.
In Big Rock Endings, [bonusfx] should not be authored because the effect will be triggered automatically. For instance, if the player(s) are finishing a BRE in an arena, and they hit the last note and score the bonus points, the effect will be triggered. If they don't, the effect will not be triggered.