LZX Timeline Module

I just ran across a video from 2017 and learned about the prototype module Timeline. Searching the forum I only found a couple mentions of it and a post from Lars saying that the modulator idea turned into Pendulum instead as it ultimately fit more with the Expedition series of thought. My question is, what else couple be done with this prototype and will an evolution of its features be developed at some point? I’m not really even sure what the module was intended to do, but “audio and video” and “feature film linked” and “multiple event generators” are all such promising ideas in a module. I know things are busy around the shop, there are more ideas flying and more engagement than ever from the community, there are probably whole notebooks filled with ideas, but Timeline really jumped out at me since it looks so functionally different from previous series of modules, and of course the lack of details piqued my curiosity. So this isn’t a post asking about production timelines, I’m just really curious what Timeline was supposed to do and if the ideas presented in it will be built upon in the future (whatever those ideas may have been). Thanks for any info! :slight_smile:

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We just had a pretty great discussion on animation, this reply expresses my current thoughts on Timeline and an inevitable animation module/system with the Gen3 modules.

The “transport” module I mentioned in the reply would be most similar to Timeline, but rather than a large single module, the idea is to make it an expandable hierarchy of smaller modules. A patchable animation rigging system.

I feel like Pendulum was a great proof of concept for an “integrated modulator”, but there are definitely a ton of ideas beyond that, that have been gestating for years now.

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I can’t speak to what happened to that prototype but you can totally patch the idea of an animation timeline generator up without this specific module.

Take the frame sync out from Cadet I / Visual Cortex / VSG, put it into a clock divider, then feed that divided clock into a tap tempo LFO that has a linear ramp waveform output set to a 0-1V range.

This will give you a modulation source that only updates at the top of the frame and provides the basis of creating many linked sub-animation events from this primary timeline.

To create ‘events’, you could use comparators (possibly windowed) with fixed thresholds at say 0V, 0.25V, 0.5V, 0.75V on the main ramp waveform, then take their gate outputs to sync other LFOs, trigger envelopes, etc. Make the comparator thresholds variable and now you’re able to change at what fraction of the total timeline length each event occurs. A 0.1V threshold would give you a gate when 10% of the timeline has passed.

If you don’t want to dedicate LFOs/EGs as modulators in this patch setup, or if you want a linear modulation ramp split across many different parameter inputs in sequence, rectifiers are the way to go. You can derive as many smaller modulation segments from one source as you like by using multiples of this. Both Arch and Fox’s Dual Rectifier offer easily patchable rectifiers.

Whether it’s Arch’s Darks/Lights or Dual Rectifier’s Top/Bottom outputs, it’s the same function where you essentially split a 1V signal into two halves that still are 1V on their outputs. The slope from 0-0.5V is on your Darks/Bottom output and the other half of the slope from 0.5V-1V comes out on the Lights/Top output. Keep in mind that the Darks/Bottom output remains saturated while the ramp stays above 0.5V so it will sort of ‘hold’ while the timeline ramp finishes its cycle up to 1V and then resets to 0V. It’s possible to patch them up as exclusive outputs but I won’t muddy the waters here.

You can keep on chaining each rectifier’s output into another rectifier to further split the amount of modulation segments you have available to patch out separately. If you use 3 rectifier sections, you can get 1/4 segments of 1V. Going as far as 7 rectifier sections, you could divide your timeline into 8 continuous sections that all spit out full 0-1V signals. There’s nothing stopping you from multing out the upstream stages of the rectifiers put into series–it just gives you larger fractions of time to patch elsewhere.

These segments could be waveshaped, mixed back together–whatever you can dream up but they will always occur in a linear sequence if a rising 1V ramp is the primary timeline source. Using Log/Expo functions on these segments would give you the basis of easing curves so you can alter the rate of change from 0-1V. A full wave rectifier (saw to triangle converter available as Mirror on Arch and Fold on Dual Rectifier) would cause the segment to go up to its maximum and then back down to minimum value within the original segment’s duration. Additional full wave rectifiers in series on the same segment output will give you multiple repetitions of this modulation segment but still within the same time duration.

You could invert/bias the timeline ramp itself to make it ‘reverse’ direction (1V->0V). Log/Expo functions applied to the timeline ramp would do the same thing as with the individual segments. Using an exponential shaper would mean that the animation would appear to slowly traverse its timeline at the start but then get faster the closer it gets to the end of its cycle. Opposite for a logarithmic shaper that would quickly traverse most of its timeline and then slowly complete the rest of the cycle. Again, the total length of time is not changed unless you alter the timing of the module generating your original timeline ramp.

A full wave rectifier here gives you a back and forth kind of animation effect as it changes the overall shape of the timeline from 0V-1V to 0V->1V->0V. Same deal with adding more full wave rectifiers to the timeline waveform–one extra stage would double how many times the back and forth timeline occurs within the same amount of time set by the frequency of the LFO or whatever you use.

EDIT: @creatorlars Please school me if I’m getting my wires crossed here.

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Dude you’ve got it!!

Here’s a fun site for more animation slope ideas:

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Thank you both! I learn so much handing around and reading this forum. What was a late night curiosity turned into a detailed idea of the possibilities ahead for the idea behind Timeline as well as an education that is already leading to new creative thoughts. Awesome :slight_smile:

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Amazing explanation. Sawtooth as time and Sawtooth as ramps, they are slowly becoming my favorite wave shape. Opening my eyes to a totally different way of synthesis, more ‘signal processing’ style and less ‘additive oscillators signals’ direction. :slight_smile:

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@rempesm :zap: :fire:

PRO TIP
patch that circuit!!!

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This is fantastic info - but it ties up a lot of 1V resources for modulation. I’d prefer to dedicate them to video, so I prefer using modules from the Eurorack audio world. I use Monome’s Teletype and expanders to get events (envelopes) triggering and LF0’s cycling in the range of days.

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This is a big point that’s kept me from rushing into any big animator modules. When we get to some animator modules, it may make sense to use lower bandwidth parts in order to make larger animator rigs possible without the cost associated with wideband processing. For example, a rectifier circuit with 1N4148 diodes and TL074 is a huge price drop for the circuit compared to one designed for wideband processing (1N5711 diodes + video opamps.) This would be a first for LZX though, so we’d have to think about how best to approach it.

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Bill makes a great point here.

Lars, I have always wanted to see your take on this type of narrative based sequencing. Conceptually everything you have mentioned has me drooling.

Maybe some midi and/or digitally based - event stage preset architecture in addition to the more standard/preexisting LFO animation?

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@DesertMuseum Yes! I love it when the decision on analog/digital is just a matter of “what makes most sense for this user control concept?” Some control concepts rely on a specific architecture, some don’t.

The idea behind the Orion series was that the new function being added to the system was not digital, but memory. Fortress gives short amounts of RTL memory to base logic functions in the form of shift registers. Diver gives audio sample buffers 2-dimensionality. Memory Palace & TBC2 give the video frame itself memory. Escher Sketch is a CV recorder for expressive user control. They’re all focused on messing with time and memory in ways that only a digital architecture can do.

And I imagine as Orion series functions move into Gen3, that we’ll follow a similar approach. I am really interested in something that at least feels from the user interface perspective like an Edit Decision List or animator’s log sheet. The “Storyboard” module?

examples borrowed from Google image search

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@creatorlars

:heart_eyes: :exploding_head:

I am actually tearing up with excitement!

I am so much looking forward to seeing where you go with this! The possibilities here are in essence the reason why I am involved with eurorack video. Everytime you drop more on this subject it makes me more excited and each time confirms how you have this nailed (of course….as always).

Throw in some fractal algorithms / integer sequences / turing machine/ Lorenz & Von Neumann chaos and let that thing loooose!

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I’d think a whole side exploration could be in order - just a simple re-imagining of audio sequencers, dividers, track&holds, etc… Just pair them down to 1V native and add the necessary circuitry so the gate signals & whatnot don’t step mid frame.

I’m using (expensively) my Pingable Animation Generator for just this sort of thing, it’s a giant dedicated clock grabber (sensory translator pings it) - which I can then pipe into an audio clock divider and then send that thru sequencers etc to trigger envelopes and all sorts of things, the beauty is its all synced to framerate. Or at least it’s not switching mid frame & tearing.

Using logic… framerate AND sensory translator pulse didn’t seem to work. Maybe a slew for the trigger would help

Be nice to just have an out the box divider that has sync in, a sequencer with RCA sync on the back that makes sure it only moves between frames etc etc

Maybe someone else should step up to the plate and start pumping out an animation suite (basically just audio modulators @ LZX spec, with frame sync as needed) :smirk:

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@creatorlars perhaps an interim approach (and this is in the reach of third party/DIY) is to make a device to help integrate timing/events from the 10V to the 1V world - simultaneously scaling sync pulse voltage and conditioning sync pulses in step with the vertical refresh rate. Essentially what @Jesse has patched…

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I do think (As @wiatrob mentioned) that there are already a number of flexible scalable LFO/animation voltage type modules out there, so not sure if it would be worth the R&D time, cost value, hp, etc. to try and reinvent that wheel when many folks already have these voltage sources in their systems or are already available.

But yes, to @Jesse’s point what many are lacking is frame syncable options and they certainly don’t have our (video) use case in mind. So again as @Jesse mentioned a re-imagining is in order.

Maybe something like @creatorlars was referring to in line with a Orion Class 3 “memory” type module using the same front end digital memory interface as TBC2 and MemPal but maybe this frame syncs all 4 inputs to the lfo cv input voltage sources, has multiple cv inputs for your external LFO/animation/timing sources, midi, a gate/trigger input, and is essentially a digital preset routing matrix bank for your editing decision list/ logsheet. 4 RGB ins and at least 2 RGB outs (or however many make sense when weighing the cost and hp value per module). Then program I want RGB input 1 to run and switch to RGB input 3 when the gate is high and go to output 1, then I want RGB input 2 to que when lfo input hits 1v to output 2….etc. basically reading down your edit decision list/ logsheet.

Heck, I would think this thing should even be able to scale your voltage or atleast you could set the voltage value 0-5v, 0-1v, etc kinda like you can set the working voltage scale on Mempal or Escher Sketch?

This is fun to think about. Can’t wait to hear some other thoughts on this.

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Bridge on steroids? Instead of just voltage U/D add a handful of gate I/O’s where the erratic gates go in & out come frame sync’d gates?

I’d probably name it “Transit” but that’s just me.

A quick go between would be stellar, maybe redesigning the existing euro modulation world isn’t actually necessary, or maybe it would prove fruitful?

@creatorlars Y’all got any more of them sync subassemblies? :mask:

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@DesertMuseum

Now that’s a cool sounding module! A digital programmable timeline routing matrix :wave::wave:

Just a bunch if ins, bunch of outs, and some decent interface for staging/timing events. At that point I’d be tempted to link it to the PC

A Midi>CV module can get alot of this done, can make events in the PC and trigger switches, faders, gates etc etc

The sky is the limit!!!

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VDMX has a good implementation of something similar. Cue List.
Anything can be plugged as ‘time’ (normaled to timecode module) and the cues can go out to any target in the app (opacity of a layer, clip latch, etc). You set a fixed value/voltage output for the cue and slew/not slew.

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I have something similar to that in the sketchbook.
Not an animator module, more like a routing matrix with midi sequencing.
It’s a core module with 32ins and 16outs (lmh6586 or adv3203), as a huge matrix and midi-in.
A second module much simpler would be able to store the ‘patches’ and communicate via midi.
The midi communication opens up the possibility of using a 16n for example to choose the in for every single output (though with very little resolution per slider) or sequencers.
If anybody wants to pick up the project or collaborate…?

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We do have a switcher module planned, it is 4:2 (so 4x RGB input, 2x RGB output, 4x2 gate inputs/buttons for select… like a broadcast switcher!) The gate inputs will have a frame latch enable/disable as well. So this is a good case where 5V clocks and gates could interface quite fluidly with the video signal path in a single module. A “Matrix Switcher” would be an interesting variation on this. So that’s one approach to all this – rather than a separate converter module, we just have switching/multiplexer modules that are tolerant of different logic standards or frame latch options.

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