Step Seven: Digging Deeper in QLab

Now that we have discussed the basics of QLab, we will look at a few other features that might be useful to you.

We learned how to have music fade out, but fading in is slightly more complicated. Let’s say that we want to fade in a song at its middle. First, we would enter the Time & Loops tab and drag the starting point of the cue to the point where we will want to start fading up.

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Next, we will drag the volume slider to the bottom to have the sound start off silent. Then, we click the Fade button again to create a fade cue.

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Again, we will drag our desired cue (in this case, cue 3) to the fade cue. This time, instead of dragging the volume of the fade cue to the bottom, we will enter the number 0 (or whatever volume we want to fade to) into the master volume box.

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Again, enter the Curve Shape tab to specify the duration of your fade-in.

Say we want the sound of crickets to start automatically a minute after the song begins to play. First, change the Continue settings of the first sound cue to Auto-continue. Then drag in the cricket sound effect. The problem here is that while the two cues are connected, we don’t want the second one to begin for another minute.

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This is when we use the Wait tool. Under the Basics tab of the second sound cue, the crickets in this case, find the Pre Wait and Post Wait boxes. Using these, we can cushion the time around a sound cue so that it or the following sound will wait to play. In this case, we want to use the Pre Wait box to tell the sound to wait 1 minute before beginning.

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Say now that we want the cricket sound to continue for the whole scene, but the clip is only around 2 and a half minutes. This is when we use the Loop tools under the Time & Loops tab. We can choose to make the sound play a specific amount of times using the Play count box, or we can cause the Infinite loop tool to cause the sound to continue indefinitely. You will likely want to use a Stop or Fade tool to create a cue that stops it at the end of the scene, however.

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Using combinations of these tools, you will be able to create a variety of different effects in your sound design. Again, there are many more features to explore within QLab, so make sure to play around with the software to get a feel for it.

Next, we will look at using QLab during the show.

Ask questions in the comment section below, and make sure to follow Staging Sounds for more information about theatrical sound design!

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