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Triggering clips using follow actions

From: Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

Video: Triggering clips using follow actions

When using Ableton Live in live performance, it's a good idea to have a strategy in place for how you're going to trigger clips and scenes. In this video, we'll learn how to trigger clips and scenes using follow actions. Now there is a few different ways we can trigger clips or scenes. Let's take a look at all three of them. So first of all, I have got a track here set up where I have sectioned a song into the different intros, verses, and choruses. Now one way I can trigger these is to use my computer mouse, but in Live performance that can get very awkward. Some alternative ways are to click your Key Mapping button and assign keys on your keyboard.

Triggering clips using follow actions

When using Ableton Live in live performance, it's a good idea to have a strategy in place for how you're going to trigger clips and scenes. In this video, we'll learn how to trigger clips and scenes using follow actions. Now there is a few different ways we can trigger clips or scenes. Let's take a look at all three of them. So first of all, I have got a track here set up where I have sectioned a song into the different intros, verses, and choruses. Now one way I can trigger these is to use my computer mouse, but in Live performance that can get very awkward. Some alternative ways are to click your Key Mapping button and assign keys on your keyboard.

So I have got the first one selected. Let me press the letter A on my computer keyboard. I'll go to the next one and press the letter S, and I'll hit my Escape key to get out of the Key Map mode, and now I can trigger that scene by pressing the letter A-- (Music playing.) --and the second scene by pressing the letter B. Another way I can do that is to use MIDI Map mode, and before I do that I am going to go back into Key Map mode here and delete those two, hit my Escape Key to get out of there, and now I'll go into MIDI Map mode.

And notice everything turns purple that I can map using MIDI Map mode. I'll again select that first slot, and I am going to press a key low-down on my keyboard that I'm unlikely to use. And I have assigned that to C1, and let me press the next one, and I'll assign that to D1. Again, I can escape MIDI Map mode by pressing Escape, and now I can trigger that first scene by pressing C1 on my keyboard controller. (Music playing.) And D1 triggered the intro B clip.

Okay. I am going to get rid of those two before we move on. Now in both cases, if I'm actually playing an instrument, taking my hands off the instrument to trigger clip might get tricky. So another way to do this is to use follow actions. So if I click on this clip and come down here into my Clip View area, you'll see that I have a box called the Launch box. Now I can show and hide that by clicking on this L that's down here in the Show/Hide buttons.

So one of the things that I can do here is set on amount of time that I want this clip to play before the next action happens, and I do that by typing values in this first row. So for instance, if I want that first clip to play four bars before moving on, I'll type that in. And after setting that length, I can choose a follow action from this menu here. So a couple that are obvious would be Next, meaning that after this clip goes through its four-bar length, it will go to the next clip. If I choose Previous, it would go to the previous clip.

So let me choose Next in this case, and we'll see what happens. So if I fire off Intro A-- (Music playing.) --it went on to Intro B, and we immediately saw that that was going to happen because the Launch button on Intro B started flashing green to say, "Hey I am the next thing that's going to happen." So we can set a variety of time, and we can also use a number of these different follow actions.

So, some of the others are First, which means that as a clip goes through its length, it will trigger the first in a group of clips on a track. Now note that those clips need to be grouped in such a way that there aren't any empty clip slots between any of the clips. Same thing with Last; in that case I would go to the last clip in a group. Or if you want to be a little bit more random, you can choose Any or Other. Now sometimes, you don't want the same thing to happen every time you go through a song. And we can do that because Live offers us to set two follow actions against a clip.

So if I say 4 bars, and then I say follow action 1 might be to go to Next, but I can set up another one to say, "Hey, let's go to any clip in the group," and then I can set a ratio of how that's going to happen. So for instance, if I put a 3 here and 1 over in the second one, I'm setting a 3:1 ratio that the next follow action will be this Next option versus the Any action. And by the way, if there is a 0 in any one of these fields, that action won't happen at all.

So let's see what happens here. (Music playing.) So I don't know if you caught that, but the follow action that happened, it actually did the Any that time, and what it did was it replayed itself. So it chose itself out of the group of clips before then on the second pass it triggered and went into Intro B.

Okay let's take a look at another example. And I am going to open up another Live set to do that. And in this case, I've got clips on several tracks, and I want to trigger them all using follow actions. So on this first track on the drums here, I have got a follow action set there to go the next clip, and I have got that set at 8. Let's change it to 4. I am going to the same thing on this Pad track. And so if I fire off Intro A, because these clips have the same follow actions, we should see them trigger clips on the next scene.

(Music playing.) Okay, and that worked. Now on the next scene, I've got clips going across the entire set of tracks. Let's see what happens in that case. (Music playing.) So that worked, and in each case, you'll notice that it dropped down and played a clip on the next scene.

But in the cases where there wasn't another clip to play on the next clip slot, nothing happen there. So that causes a problem in this whole sequence of events. Now what I did here on this second scene was I put a bunch of empty clips there, so that even though there isn't actually anything on this Bass track, when we went to the next scene it triggered the next clip. So in this case, if you're trying to set things up to work this way, we actually need to either put a blank clip in place so that we can go through this sequence of follow actions, or we need to remove the Stop button that's on a track.

So, for example, if I want the first scene to trigger every clip on the next scene, I am going to need to put those blank clips in there. I have already got this set up with a blank four-bar clip, so let me copy that one. That's Option+Click and drag. And then I'm going to copy that across to these other slots. Now I'll stop those, and we should see this first row all fire off, and you should see the lights blinking on the Launch buttons of the second scene.

(Music playing.) Okay, so that worked. Now in the next case, I may not want to put a blank clip slot, and I actually may want something to continue playing. For example, if I wanted this Brass patch to continue playing during the scene, one of the things that I could do would just be to remove the Stop button here so that that's blank and then make sure that I set the follow action on this particular clip to be the length that will then play until it gets down to this next clip slot.

As you can see, follow actions are a very powerful feature of Live. Using them can get a bit complicated at times, but they can make performing with tracks a real performance experience.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Ableton Live 8 Essential Training
Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

69 video lessons · 17060 viewers

Rick Schmunk
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 30s
    1. Welcome
      49s
    2. Using the exercise files
      41s
  2. 8m 43s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      4m 13s
    2. Choosing the right gear and setting up a system
      4m 30s
  3. 12m 59s
    1. Setting up audio preferences
      3m 54s
    2. Setting up MIDI preferences
      3m 31s
    3. Optimizing performance
      5m 34s
  4. 35m 42s
    1. Understanding Session view
      8m 7s
    2. Working with Live browsers
      5m 3s
    3. Working with Live clips
      7m 57s
    4. Understanding clip properties
      7m 52s
    5. Working with Live scenes
      6m 43s
  5. 28m 16s
    1. Building Live Sets and projects
      4m 25s
    2. Learning Live file management
      4m 2s
    3. Exporting content from Live
      7m 32s
    4. Importing and exporting Live Packs
      3m 17s
    5. Searching for and auditioning clips
      4m 58s
    6. Setting up frequently accessed folders
      4m 2s
  6. 23m 3s
    1. Preparing to record MIDI
      5m 51s
    2. Recording and overdubbing MIDI
      4m 32s
    3. Working with alternate MIDI entry methods
      6m 49s
    4. Using multi-output virtual instruments
      5m 51s
  7. 24m 26s
    1. The MIDI Editor
      4m 49s
    2. Quantizing MIDI data
      6m 6s
    3. Advanced MIDI editing
      6m 49s
    4. Setting up groove in editing
      6m 42s
  8. 9m 18s
    1. Preparing to record
      5m 0s
    2. Recording audio
      4m 18s
  9. 22m 37s
    1. Understanding Arrangement view
      3m 41s
    2. Recording in Arrangement view
      3m 51s
    3. Recording from Session view to Arrangement view
      5m 21s
    4. Reworking clips
      9m 44s
  10. 27m 57s
    1. Understanding Live's mixer
      12m 38s
    2. Using sends and returns
      3m 47s
    3. Building headphone cues
      3m 49s
    4. Grouping tracks
      7m 43s
  11. 43m 14s
    1. Working with effect devices
      4m 56s
    2. Understanding EQ and filters
      7m 14s
    3. Using compressors and dynamic processors
      7m 28s
    4. Building interesting effects with delay effect processing
      8m 18s
    5. Using reverb effectively
      8m 22s
    6. Setting up side chain effects easily
      6m 56s
  12. 15m 37s
    1. Creating rhythmic patterns with the Arpeggiator effect
      8m 38s
    2. Building background parts with the Chord and Scale effects
      6m 59s
  13. 25m 24s
    1. Building automation patterns
      8m 44s
    2. Editing existing automation information
      5m 3s
    3. Using fades to mask audio pops and clicks
      4m 10s
    4. Understanding the power of clip envelopes
      7m 27s
  14. 20m 17s
    1. Understanding the basics of looping
      6m 54s
    2. Creating tracks that loop smoothly
      7m 50s
    3. Using warp features to quantize audio
      5m 33s
  15. 17m 47s
    1. Using the computer keyboard to control Live
      6m 39s
    2. Mapping device controls to the MIDI keyboard
      4m 36s
    3. Using Live's instant mapping feature
      6m 32s
  16. 10m 44s
    1. Exporting audio
      5m 37s
    2. Freezing tracks
      5m 7s
  17. 20m 45s
    1. Building with the Impulse virtual instrument
      11m 35s
    2. Working with the Simpler virtual instrument
      9m 10s
  18. 36m 22s
    1. Overview of Live racks
      10m 13s
    2. Combining instruments and effects into a single device
      8m 22s
    3. Adding effects with Drum Rack
      11m 28s
    4. Assigning rack parameters to macros
      6m 19s
  19. 13m 53s
    1. Setting up ReWire with Pro Tools
      7m 3s
    2. Setting up ReWire with Logic
      6m 50s
  20. 33m 43s
    1. Preparing audio clips with the Warp tool
      14m 31s
    2. Triggering clips using follow actions
      8m 9s
    3. Using Live as a sound source
      11m 3s
  21. 7m 21s
    1. Working with video files
      7m 21s
  22. 37s
    1. Further Recommendations
      37s

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