So after my video tutorial on how to convert a FOF/Phase Shift song to RB3, I decided to tackle tempo mapping since it's the thing most people struggle with. In this video, I begin with something simple to tempo map (4/4; noticeable hits) and move on to an "advanced" part with time signature changes. I also wrote a text version to go along with it.
1. First, make sure you have all the required tools and plugins installed, including the C3 Custom template and the RBN tools (including the RBN preview plugin)
2. Open “Action” -> “Show action list…”, and make sure the following shortcuts are assigned:
F9 for opening CAT Tools
Q for Setting tempo by bar
T for Setting tempo by bar (new time signature)
Add the shortcut of your choice for the following action: “Markers: Create measure from time selection (new time signature)…”, it may be useful later. I assigned it to Alt+R.
3. Choose a song! Try starting with something easy, where you can count the times easily with a noticeable pattern (especially on drums). Avoid guitar intros or the likes in the beginning as well, because it will be harder to tempo map if drums are not playing.
4.Find the average BPM, you’ll need to change the default BPM on the first marker in order to have the right count-in. Three ways to find the average BPM:
- Use Google! Search “name of the song – name of the band – BPM”. Websites like songbpm.com will come up.
- Or use guitar tabs, Guitar Pro, MIDI files; especially Songsterr or Ultimate-Guitar. The average BPM is usually written on pro tabs, although it can be wrong (or doubled, such as showing an average BPM of 180 instead of 90).
- Use Reaper. Enable the metronome, place the first sound wave of the song audio on the third measure (make sure everything’s aligned) and create a new point on 3.1.00 (right click -> create new point or Shift+left click). Count the tempo in your head and see where the second measure starts. You’ll usually notice a distinguishable sound wave marking the kick pedal hit.
- Install an app on your smartphone. I use “BPM Counter”, not so much for charting purposes, but I like guessing the average BPM of a song and proving I’m right by using this app. Just tap your finger in rhythm with the song just like you would be tapping your foot on time during a concert because you’re too shy to move more than that.
5.Double-click on the first time signature marker and type in the average BPM.
6. Adjust the count-in.
7. If you haven’t already, place the song audio so that the first wave is on 3.1.00 precisely.
8. Turn on the metronome (top left) and hit play. You’ll instantly notice if you’re on the right BPM. Zoom in on 4.1.00 (alt+scroll up), you should see a sound wave like this:
Place your cursor on the peak of this sound wave and hit Q. It will create a new tempo marker.
9. Repeat for every measures to follow.
10. (Optional) Tempo signature changes are covered in the video