Fading In an Audio Cue
I think it helps to understand fading audio cues by thinking through a physical, tangible environment rather than the purely digital world of QLab.
Let’s say I have my Walkman and want to play my favorite Michael Jackson song, Billie Jean, through the sound system of my high school auditorium during prom. These scenarios are all just ones I’ve made up.
With my trusty Sony WM-501 plugged into my sound board I would first lower the volume of the sound board so that you can’t hear the music right away, then I would hit play on my Walkman, then over a count of 5 seconds I would slowly raise the volume for all to hear!
The same steps are necessary in QLab to fade audio in. You need to 1) have your audio file, 2) start the cue at an inaudible volume, and 3) raise the volume over time.
So here I have my workspace with an audio cue already created. If I select the file and hit “Go” it starts at full volume right out of the gate. My next step is to ensure that it starts at a low volume. This is simply done by selecting the cue and lowering the master volume to negative infinity, nothing, nada.
If I play the cue now we here … nothing … nada. I’m going to leave this cue playing.
So, to fade the cue in I’ll add a fade cue! By dragging and dropping the cue from the tool bar. Since it’s the next action to take after starting the song, I’ll drag the fade cue to occur after the audio cue.
You’ll notice after adding the cue that it’s broken, something’s wrong with it. If I hover over the red X it tells me that it has “No Target Cue”. Which makes sense, we need to tell it who or what to fade. To do this, I’ll drag the audio cue onto the fade cue. You’ll notice the blue box around the fade cue that tells you it’s about to have the target applied. Let go and you’ll notice that the name of the fade cue adopts the name of the audio cue. (By the way, you could also drag the fade cue onto the audio cue, two ways to do the same thing).
But we still have a problem, that pesky red X. Now when I hover it says “No fade parameters have been applied”. I guess that makes sense, we should actually fade something. If I select the Fade Cue, you’ll see an Audio Levels tab, just like in the Audio Cue. Here however all the faders are gray, which means “No change”, “Nothing”, “Skip Me”. If you grab the master audio fader and pull it up, you’ll now hear the music that was previously playing at -INF now playing at -20, -10, and 0dB.
Quick note. You’ll notice that the fader turned yellow, “Change”, “Something”, “Pay attention to me”. If I click the fader again, it’ll turn back to gray. Click again, yellow.
Alright. Now if I hit escape, everything will stop.
Going back to the beginning. Press GO to play the song, and press GO again to start the fade.
Add the song “Cry of Love” from the attached music. Using a fade cue, make the song fade in rather than abruptly start.
Were You Listening?
In general should you have your sound effects start at an audible or inaudible level?
An inaudible level.