Automation Join - question and request

Before I make this a feature request I’d like to hear if there are any opinions on it.

Currently:

When we enter “latch” automation mode our “join” options appear once we’ve written automation and then stopped recording it. The options;

- “Auto join”

When this is engaged before we reach the point where we stopped playback/auto write the last time; automation will “pick up where it left off”. It’s pretty self explanatory, visually obvious, and logical… it seems.

- “Punch out”

When the above has happened, meaning when we have re-started playback, engaged “auto join”, and automation has resumed hitting this button will “punch out” of that latch record pass manually. Good. Logical.

- "Join now"

This one I have a problem with. When we press “auto join” we’re telling the automation system that we want to “pick up where we left off”. By that we’re intending to keep writing the value at the time we stopped. I think the good thing about this is that the fader will move automatically according to the automation that’s written, and therefore at the point of “auto join” it will be at the correct position automatically, where we left off, which is where we want to pick up writing.

I would expect the system to ‘join’ whatever value is at the current location - wherever that is - when we press “Join now”. But that’s not what the system does. Instead it recalls the automation node where we stopped and begins writing that value instead.

Why is this a problem? Well, it’s obviously not a problem if that’s what you want, but if you wrote -10 consistently for 10 seconds, then dropped to -20 for 5 seconds, pressed stop, went back to that starting point again, pressed play and engaged “join now” after 3 seconds you would have an instantaneous drop from -10 to -20. I just don’t see how this is desired behavior in most situations. It seems that the only way to make this function useful is to only engage this if you know that your faders are “matched” to the stored automation node at the end of the previous pass.

And it seems as a misnomer to me because we’re actually not “joining” our fader with the underlying automation.

Multiple tracks writing at the same time.

But getting back to “Auto join” which works as expected if all you’re doing is re-starting playback as described earlier and simply reaching the point where we stopped writing. All tracks resume writing where they left off. Entirely logical. However, there are a few cases where I don’t think the “join” system works the way at least I would expect it to work:

If I enable “Auto join” then I would actually expect that to be on a per-track basis. In other words, when enabled ANY track that is untouched should pick where it left off, regardless of what happens to other tracks.

Why is this a “thing”? Because when I work by myself I will very frequently do my final mix passes riding multiple group channels. It has to be that way because of delivery requirements. So I’ll ride for example an FX and a Music group channel at the same time, balancing against dialog. If I reach a point where I feel I need to go back and adjust only the music group I would be able to do this in Pro Tools. I would simply have “auto join” permanently enabled, go back, manually pick up the music automation write whenever I touch that fader, and the FX channel will simply continue to read back automation until it reaches the “auto join” point when it would continue writing where it left off.

In Nuendo however whenever I touch one of the two faders the other channel drops out of automation record!

This means I have to not only re-touch to re-enable the other channel, but I have to do it at the right time as well. The only alternative is to re-write automation on both. This does not seem logical and at least to me it is not convenient.


So I’d love it if you could let me know if I’ve missed anything or if I’m just insane.

Anyone?

I think Nuendo’s automation system was inspired by Euphonix System5’s automation system, which is a mixing console launched in 1999…
Of course I don’t know the real story behind its history but personally I think Nuendo’s automation system is old fashioned, based on a multiple-operator-workflow and very “spartan”, so I agree with you that some (most?) functions need more-modern flexibility.


I’d say: let’s upgrade Nuendo’s automation system with some kind of function called “Join Collect”, which “collects” parameter-values by touching them before pressing “Join Now” ?


Maybe a suggestion for another automation-system-upgrade would be: “Auto-Join: Single Operator Mode”-option and (or) “Auto-Join: Multiple Operator Mode”-option, where “Auto-Join: Single Operator Mode” would be a ProTools Auto-Join-mimic workflow and where “Auto-Join: Multiple Operator Mode”- would be the -original- System5 workflow?

I don’t think you missed something and probably you have not turned insane; like I said, it’s just a very spartan, mummy-ish (Google translated) automation system.


So;
+1
and
+1

Niek/ Amsterdam.

The idea for me is two-fold in that I want the values at the point I previously stopped, and that I don’t have to touch-collect all parameters. So I’d prefer it if the system just picked up where it is and went back into write, no touching of all parameters. Maybe I misunderstood you.

I’m all for options.

Thanks Niek. I appreciate the input.

Btw, I don’t really have a problem with the system except for the couple of things I bumped recently. I think it’s pretty decent actually. I know some miss “glide” or whatever it is in PT and it’d be nice if that got added as well for those that miss it. But anyway, in general a good system I think especially taking into account the ability to use key commands and macros with it (PT drives me nuts not having assignable key commands).

I think I did not explain my feature-fantasy well enough:
Maybe the following “auto-join workflow” description will make it to Steinbergs developers?

Auto-Join: Multiple Operator Mode

  • If you want to auto-join-punch-in at the timecode and level you previously left your automated parameters when you stopped the transport:
  1. just use auto-join the old way.
  2. From here, you can continue writing your parameters.

Auto-Join: Single Operator Mode

  • if you want to auto-join-punch-in specific tracks, on a specific timecode and on a specific level (or any other parameter/value) and leave “all the other parameters which were being automated at the time you stopped the transport” untouched:
  1. Roll back the transport, let’s say; 5 seconds before this specific timecode,
  2. Press “Auto-Join: Collect & Set New Value” (feature request),
  3. Touch the specific parameters and set them to the new value you’d like to be written. As an option there could be some kind of Undo?
  4. Play the transport. As an option there could be a temporary “automatic read suspend” for the touched parameters?
  • The untouched parameters will auto-join-punch-in “the old way”: they will start writing at the timecode and level you previously left it when you stopped the transport.
    • The touched parameters wait until you press “Collected: Join Now” (feature request), and then they will start writing the “new value”. And yes; as an option (and new feature) a “glide” would come in very welcome.
    1. From here, you can continue writing your parameters.

Just my 2 cents.



And yeah, I also wish ProTools had the option to assign its KeyCommands. Especially when working on a laptop.
This switching back and forth between Nuendo and PT in my head/memory slows me down. Something in my system says; “ProTools is the industry standard, you should stick to it and keep up your routines with it” but although it’s far from perfect, I feel more at home with Nuendo.

Niek/ Amsterdam.

Unless I’m still misunderstanding you it’s a bit backwards and more complicated than what I think I meant originally.

  1. I want “Auto-Join” to automatically join automation for any UN-touched parameter at the position playback was last stopped. All touched parameters write what we modify them to write, but anything else should just read automation until that later position and then join automatically. Touching one parameter shouldn’t undo that behavior for all other UN-touched parameters.

That’s all there is to that request.

  1. I want the system to have the automation write join the underlying value that’s being read when I press “Join Now”. If I’ve played back and stopped recording and the value at that point was -20, and I move back 60 seconds and the value for the next 30 seconds is -10, then if I press “Join Now” after a couple of seconds I don’t want it to start writing -20, I want it to write -10, because that’s where the automation was at the time (now) I chose to “join”. I want my write-automation to join the already written automation, ‘here and now’.

And I think that should apply to only UN-touched parameters. Because obviously if I press play and start touching a parameter I want a different value.