RLS User Guide: Desktop
This page will serve as a complete guide to the user interface and functionality of the desktop version of Rehearsal Live Share.
When Rehearsal Live Share (RLS) is opened, you will first see the main user interface windows for the opened show/musical program. All UI elements can be closed and reopened as needed. If some are missing or obscured, check the RLS menu item named "windows" and be sure that all are checked. You can also resize the RLS window to reveal elements that are obscured. The main UI elements are the navigation, mixer, and live share windows.
The navigation window allows the user to navigate to different parts of a show, as well as control playback and recording (when recording is armed). This window is broken into a few subsections, allowing you quick and easy access to your entire show with just a few mouse clicks.
On the left is the list of all the songs in your show, in performance order. You can select specific songs with the mouse or by the using the page up and page down keys on your qwerty keyboard. The currently selected song will be highlighted in blue, as well as named above the timeline.
On the right side of the navigation window is a list of markers for the currently selected song. By clicking on a marker, you will immediately jump to that part of the song. You can also see the approximate placement of markers within a song as red lines within the timeline. It is possible to jump to a marker while the song is already playing, but a countdown timer will interrupt playback if the director is in a live share session.
Customizing the marker list
By default, markers are derived from the song's MIDI conductor track utilized upon the show's creation. However, you can modify and create your own markers for the show within RLS.
The transport bar is found in the middle of the navigation window. From left to right, the buttons have the following functionality:
toggle visual/audio metronome
rewind to beginning of song / previous song
rewind by one measure
fast forward by one measure
fast forward to next song
RLS has a metronome feature to assist in your learning and rehearsal process. When you click the metronome button in the transport, it will activate both an audio as well as a visual click. (If the visual click window is not visible, make sure that it is checked on under the "Windows" menu bar). You can resize the visual click by using the arrow on the lower right side of the window. To change the volume of the click, visit the "click" tab in RLS preferences.
RLS has built-in capabilities to handle vamping within songs. This functionality pertains to RMS prepared Broadway musical shows, or shows that have been exported from RMS Coach to RLS, and is not currently supported for original shows created in Rehearsal Live Share. When your RLS show includes a vamp section, playback will keep repeating that section of music indefinitely until you press the "exit vamp" button. Once pressed, the program will finish its current playthrough of the vamp and proceed to the next section of music. If you would like a vamp to be programmed to play a specific number of times on every playthrough, simply click-and-hold on the vamp icon when it is lit up for that particular vamp. Select the number of times you would like it to play and RLS will use that for all future playthroughs. This finite number of repeats is recommended if you wish to create recordings in RLS.
RLS has the ability to instantly jump to any spot within a song by either measure number or marker name. You do this by first "arming" the relocation, then activating it. To arm, simply type in either the bar number or marker name (RLS will autocomplete the marker as soon as possible). Hit enter, and the relocate is now "armed". To activate the relocation hit enter again and RLS will instantly jump to that location.
The Mixer Window's function is to allow control over the show's underlying guide tracks. It is also used for changing audio output settings and reverb. Note that this window pertains specifically to the guide tracks in RLS, and does not involve the mixing of participants or recordings made in a live share session. Those features are accessed in the mixer view of the live share window (see below).
The parts mixer tab is found within the mix window. In it you will find channel strips for predefined tracks that were configured upon creation of the show. This tab allows you to easily adjust the overall mix of your show's guide tracks.
The headphone icon at the top will allow you to test the output of that channel strip. This is useful if you are first setting up your sound system and want a continuous test signal for configuring your equipment. The main slider controls the overall volume of that track. Below that is a knob and text box for panning left/right. The drop down text box at the bottom is the output channel selection, and allows you to specify which output channel you would like to use for the corresponding track. The speaker icons along the bottom will mute/unmute the channel strip.
A note about output channel configurability in RLS:
The output channel selection feature was inherited from RLS's predecessor, RMS Mix. Since RLS is intended for use with headphones over the internet, this feature might only be utilized in very special circumstances. Nevertheless, here is an explanation of this functionality: Users have the ability to route any guide tracks to specific stereo output pairs for advanced mixing/playback configurations. For a basic setup that only has a single stereo out, there is only one option "A", where outputs 1 & 2 represent the L and R stereo channels respectively. If you are using a multichannel interface, you will see more output pairs corresponding to the number of available outputs. The default letters "A, B, C, . . . etc" represent the additional stereo output pairs on the currently selected audio device. For example, if you have an interface that supports 6 outputs, you will see "A, B, and C", where "A" represents outputs 1-2, "B" represents outputs 3-4, and "C" represents outputs 5-6. If your device has both analog and digital outputs options like ADAT and S/PDIF, you might need to experiment to determine which letters go with which ports. But once identified, you can relabel the output names in the output tab of the mixer window.
By thoughtfully assigning instruments to the available outputs, you can create a very sophisticated sound design:
Take advantage of outboard gear for individualized mixing, eq and other processing.
Route to separate speakers.
Hard pan instruments left or right for further isolation to an individual channel.
And much more.
Output mixer tab
The other part of the mix window is the Output Mixer. This gives you control for pairs of stereo outputs on your system, and also allows changing the reverb settings. The reverb settings here are applied to participants during playback and recording in live share sessions.
The master fader on the right controls the overall sound output level of of the guide tracks in RLS . Please note that this is independent of your system's volume controls. The knob at the bottom of each strip along the left allows you to control the amount of reverb "send" from that output. The knob at the bottom of the master fader lets you control the overall level of reverb applied to the entire output of RLS. The drop-down menu at the bottom lets you select which output the reverb is sent to.
Live Share Window
Selecting "Live Share" from the windows menu will open the Live Share window. This window is the main UI element for Rehearsal Live Share sessions with others, but also has functionality when using RLS independently.
The Live Share window functions similarly in personal live share mode as when using it in an actual Live Share session with others, so take this opportunity to acquaint yourself with the window.
On the upper right hand corner of the live share window are the view mode controls. There are three views selectable from the upper right corner of the RLS window, as well as a fullscreen button. Here are the 3 different view modes:
In this view, all participants will always see the director in the foremost position. The director meanwhile will see the person whose video feed is selected. Arrow buttons on the left and right side of the main video allow the director to select the video feed of other participants.
This view displays everybody on a separate a mixer channel, with sound controls and recording assignments that may be adjusted independently. There is also a channel for the backing accompaniment. The director will see all participants here, but participants will only see the director and their own fader until the sharing of individual recorded tracks has occurred. The sound settings and recording assignments made here are unique to each user in a Rehearsal Live Share session, so everyone in a session may adjust them independently to meet their needs.
This is similar to other video conferencing apps, with everyone's video feed arranged in a grid pattern. Hovering the mouse arrow over a participant box will reveal basic volume and panning controls.
Using Rehearsal Live Share
Rehearsal Live Share may be utilized on own's own, or with other musicians. When RLS is used without connecting to others, it may be referred to as "Personal Live Share", or "PLS". When you use RLS to connect with others over the internet, it is a "Live Share Session" The next section will explore using RLS as both Personal Live Share, as well as when connecting with others in a Live Share session.
Personal Live Share (PLS)
There are several uses to the PLS window:
confirming mic, camera, and headphone sound settings
practicing with recordings made in previous Live Share sessions.
Confirming Equipment in a PLS window
The PLS window serves as a great place to check and make sure that your camera, microphone, and headphones are working properly. For more information on how to confirm settings in the PLS window, check out our Pre-session Check Tutorial Page.
Practicing in a PLS window
If you have already been involved in a live share session with others that involved recording, the PLS window may be used to continue to rehearse with those recordings on one's own. For example, if you were in a live share session where the director recorded individual tracks, and then shared them back with all participants, every participant will have every other participant's recorded performance saved as files on their device. Those files will remain, and can be played back even after the aforementioned live share session is over. Recording assignments work exactly the same in a PLS window as they do in a live share session, and may be uniquely set and saved for every user. For more information about recording assignments, see that section below.
Recording in a PLS window
Any user with a subscription may record in the PLS window. Recording in a PLS window will always function as if "record individual tracks" is selected in preferences. Otherwise, recording in a PLS window functions exactly the same way as it does in a live share session. For more information about recording, see the main recording section below.
Live Share Sessions
The Live Share session is the main feature of Rehearsal Live Share, which allows a group of musicians to collaborate on music projects remotely. This feature requires 2 or more users who are each running Rehearsal Live Share on their respective devices, are logged into unique accounts, and have the same show open at the same time. For details on the setup of RLS, see our Getting Started page.
Roles: Director and Participants
In a Live Share session, there are 2 roles: Director and Participant.
The director leads an RLS session, is seen and heard at all times, and has exclusive control over navigation, playback, recording, and "sharing" (collecting and distributing the recordings made in a Live Share session). While the director controls many functions of a live share session, all users have unique control over their sound controls, and may change them individually to fit their preference. The director role is automatically assigned to the user who initiates the Live Share session. Any user can direct a live share session, provided their account has a subscription.
The participants are the singers or instrumentalists, and perform music for the director. The participant role is automatically assigned to users who accept an invitation to join a live share session. The participant role is also assigned to those who request to join a Live Share session that is already in progress.
Starting A Live Share Session As Director
To direct a Live Share session, select "Start/Join a Live Share Session" from the tools menu to bring up the "invite people to rehearsal" window. This window contains the names of all users who have access to your show.
RLS employs a system of colored dots next to any user's name to designate their availability for an Live Share session. Here's an explanation of their meanings:
Green Dot - This indicates the user is online, and ready to be called into an RLS session. In order for users in your live share window to have a green dot, they must open the compatible application, version, and show.
Yellow Dot - This user is online, but may not be called into an RLS session due to to their having a different application, incompatible version, or show open. If you hover over their yellow dot with your mouse arrow, a tooltip will appear displaying that user’s application, version, and show details. Using that info, you may communicate with your cast members outside of the software to inform them of any action needed to correct the mismatch.
Red Dot - This user is currently in an RLS session, and may not be called.
Red Dot (directing) - This status means the user is directing an RLS session. If you have the compatible software, version, and show open, you may request to join this user’s session by double-clicking their name. Once they accept your request, you will be added to that session in progress.
Black/Grey Dot - This indicates the user does not have the application open, and may not be called into an RLS session.
If the mouse arrow is hovered over a colored availability dot of a user for longer than 1 second, a tooltip will appear with useful information about that particular user's application, version, and show. The information displayed will help diagnose any connectivity issues that might be happening. If you are unable to invite users into a session, see our Troubleshooting page for tips, or call our tech support team for additional assistance.
With the invite list window open, highlight the name of one or more available users, and click "Start Rehearsal" to start a Live Share session. You can select multiple users to start a session with by either holding shift while clicking on the first and last name of your list, or command-clicking (control-clicking on windows) each name that you want to highlight individually. Once "start rehearsal" is clicked, those users will receive an invite notification, which they must accept to join the session. Once one or more users accept your invitation, the Live Share session has begun, and you will see and hear those participants in the Live Share window.
Show Version Mismatch
Because it is possible for directors and participants to have different versions of the same show, and because a mismatch can lead to issues in a live share session, we have added a prompt that helps to correct the mismatch easily. When a director invites a participant who has an older version of the show, both the director and participant will receive a prompt informing them of the mismatch, as well as provide steps to rectify the mismatch immediately. The prompt that both the director and participant receive will read as such:
The director needs only to close the dialog box with this message. Only the participant will see the "update show" button, and should click it to update to the latest version of the show.
Joining A Live Share Session As Participant:
There are two ways that participants may join a live share session.
Invitation from the director:
Participants may join a live share session by being directly invited by the director. This requires only that the participant have the software open, and have the same show open as the director. When the director invites a participant, the participant will receive notification that the director is inviting them to join a live share session. This invitation comes in the form of a small dialog box that pops up, accompanied by a piano ringtone. The dialog offers the user the ability to accept or decline the invitation. When the user accepts the invitation, they will immediately be connected with the director in the live share session.
Request to join a session in progress:
Participants are also able join a live share session already in progress. This is done by first selecting "Start/Join a Live Share Session” from the tools menu. When the live share window opens along with the “invite people to join rehearsal” box, the user should highlight the director’s name (which will have a red dot, and will say “directing” next to it), and then click on the button labeled “rehearse”. The director will then receive a notification that the user in question wishes to join, and may choose to admit or decline the participant.
During The Live Share Session
When a live share session first commences, the default state is that of “conversation mode” where the guide tracks are stopped, and all users may speak to one another. This mode is the only time when participants are able to hear/see one another’s live microphone/camera feed. When a participant speaks, their sound, as well as their video feed is relayed through the director’s channel. The other participants can then hear each through the director channel strip, and see the speaking participant in the upper-left hand corner of the director’s video frame. If multiple participants are speaking, the loudest user is heard in conversation mode. For this reason, it is recommended that participants speak in turns. There are also settings in the live share tab of RLS preferences that allow directors to tweak who is heard when multiple users are speaking in conversation mode.
A note about conversation mode: Technically speaking, live share sessions do not create “peer connections” between every single user in a session, but rather, only between the director and each participant. It’s for this reason that conversation mode works a little differently than programs such as Zoom. Instead of each user communicating and speaking to one another through a direct connection, each participant’s speech is channeled through the director’s channel, then re-broadcasted to all participants. This design choice allowed for much higher efficiency and reliability in RLS’s main function of music making.
Playback In RLS
To play a song in a live share session, the director should use the navigation window.
The top of that window contains transport controls that allow the director to control playback. Pressing the play button in the transport will initiate playback for all participants in the live share session. When play is pressed, a timer will immediately begin counting down. This countdown serves as a buffer of time to account for any latency present in the director’s connections to participants. After countdown completes, participants will immediately begin to hear, and perform along with the guide tracks on their respective devices. While participants will not hear each other’s live performances, the director can provide real-time feedback to participants.* During playback, the participants performances are synchronized for the director, who hears everyone performing together with the guide tracks. To stop playback, the director may click on the stop button in the transport of the navigation window.
* If the "director can participate" preference is checked, participants will not hear the director's live microphone feed during playback or recording.
The director can record the performances of the participants in a live share session by using Rehearsal Live Share’s recording feature. This is done by first clicking on the “arm recording” button at the bottom of the live share window.
When arm recording is engaged, the play button in the transport of navigation window will change to a blinking record button.
Clicking the blinking record button will behave similarly to playback, except the resulting performances of the participants will be recorded. The recording process ends when the end of the song is reached, or the director presses stop, at which point the recording files are saved. The files yielded by the recording process depend on which recording option is selected in the RLS preferences, under the live share tab. Note that all Mac/Windows RLS users will have recording options in their preferences, but those options only apply when the user is directing a live share session. If a user is acting as participant, those preferences have no effect. Here is a description of the recording options in RLS preferences:
Record Stereo Mix
If "Record stereo mix" is selected as the recording preference, the file created after recording will be saved to the director's computer, and will reflect the sound settings the director had in place during the recording. This includes any backing tracks that were audible by the director during recording. After recording, the stereo audio file is automatically assigned to the application channel strip, and may be shared to all users using the share button. The the below sections on sharing and recording assignments for more information about those features.
Record individual tracks
If "Record individual tracks" was selected as the recording preference, the resulting files will be saved to each participant's device, respectively. Those recorded files will reflect each participant's microphone input only, as a separate audio stem. After recording is complete, the individual track recording is automatically assigned each participant's channel strip. They can then be collected and redistributed by the director to all participants via the share button. Participants are then able to "unassign" their own recording on their channel strip, effectively creating a "mix-minus" playback configuration. Individual track recordings may also be mixed and processed outside of Rehearsal Live Share if desired.
Beneath the "Record individual tracks" option are several more options pertaining to that selection:
Record backing - This saves the guide tracks of the song as a separate file on the director's machine. This allows the director to mix or process it outside of RLS along with the participant individual recordings.
Record video - This option will record mp4 video files alongside the audio files for each participant. Those video files may be collected by the director during the share process, but they are not redistributed back to all participants. Only the director will receive all video files, and may use them in video editors outside of RLS to construct a music performance video as desired.
After recordings have been created in a live share session, they can be easily transferred with the share button.
The share button is a single button that performs many functions, so it is useful to be familiar with it’s behavior in various contexts. This behavior is largely determined by which recording options are selected in the live share tab of RLS preferences.
Sharing when "Record Stereo Mix" is selected
If a recording was made with this option, the recorded file is saved to the director's computer. The presence of a newly recorded stereo file is indicated by a recording assignment beneath the RLS channel strip in the mixer view of the live share window. When the share button is pressed, that recording is transferred to all participants, at which point, the recording assignment will be reflected on each participant's device. Pressing play at this point will allow everyone to hear the just-created and shared stereo recording.
Sharing when "Record Individual Tracks" is selected
If a recording was made with this option, the recorded files are saved to each participants device, respectively. The presence of a newly recorded individual track is indicated by a recording assignment beneath the participant's channel strip in the mixer view of their live share window. When the share button is pressed by the director, those recordings are first transferred to the director. What happens next depends on another setting in the live share tab of RLS preferences:
If "Automatically share back new takes" is checked (default setting) - then after the director receives all takes, they will then be automatically redistributed to all participants. This means every participant will have every other participant's individual track recording. This is evident by each each participant having new channel strips for all participants involved. Each channel strip will also have a recording assignment respective to the strip's represented user. If the director then presses play, all participants will hear each other's recordings, and be able to change the mix individually. Sharing individual tracks also presents participants with the option to enable a "mix-minus" listening configuration for future playback or recording. Note that while participants will now be able to see channel strips for one another, they are not expected to see live video feed in the other participants' strips. The new channel strips function only to assign and change the sound settings for individual track recordings made.
If "Automatically share back new takes" is unchecked - The sharing process is complete once the director receives the recordings from each participant. They are not redistributed back to all participants. This option is preferred when the participants do not wish for the other participants to have access to their isolated recordings. However, it also prevents the participants from hearing each other's recorded performances within RLS during subsequent playback, as well as the ability to establish a "mix-minus" configuration.
Sharing when there are no new recordings
If the director presses the share button when there are no new recordings to share, then it performs a different function altogether: rather than transfer files, it pushes the director's current recording assignment configuration on all participants. This allows directors to pick and choose takes for each participant in the session, and then apply those choices to the participants so that all users are hearing them. It also allows directors to quickly unassign all recording assignments for the participants.
Recording assignments allow users to “assign” and playback recordings made in RLS through any of the channel strips found in the live share window. Recording assignment options are only accessible after a recording has been created in the selected song. Recording assignments are made automatically after the director records and shares, but may be changed by anyone at any time. Each user has individual control over all of their recording assignments, but the director's assignments may be imposed after the sharing function is performed. To start working with recording assignments, click on the recording assignment icon found under any of the channel strips.
When a user clicks on the recording assignment icon, the recording assignment dialog will appear. This dialog will allow users to: 1) select and assign a recording to that channel strip 2) unassign a recording to a channel strip, or 3) reveal the location of the recording files on your computer.
Recording Assignment Shortcuts
If an individual track recording is assigned to a user channel strip, then when playback is engaged, the recording will also start to play, and the channel strip in question may be used to control the volume, panning, and muting of the assigned recording's playback.
If a stereo recording is assigned to the application channel, then that recording will be heard when playback is engaged, AND it will supplant the playback of the backing tracks. Like user channels, the stereo recording's volume, panning, and muting are controllable by the application channel strip.
Changing a recording assignment to "unassigned" will stop a recording from playing back when applied to a user channel strip, and will restore the playback of the backing tracks when applied to the application channel strip.
Unassigning Recording Assignments
We recognized that if you are in a session with many participants, opening the dialog and unassigning for each one can be tedious. For this reason, we implemented keyboard shortcuts that facilitate unassigning one or more participants quickly. You can unassign recordings in one or all channel strips using the following shortcuts:
On Mac, holding command while clicking on the recording assignment icon will unassign that channel strip. Holding command + shift together while clicking on the recording assignment icon will unassign all channel strips.
On Windows: holding ctrl while clicking on the recording assignment icon will unassign that channel strip. Holding ctrl + shift together while clicking on the recording assignment icon will unassign all channel strips.
Be aware that a director making such changes will only affect the recording assignments locally, on the computer of whoever made the change. If a director wishes to use these shortcuts and then have all users to get the unassignment changes, the director must then click the "share" button to push that assignment configuration to all participants.
Ending A Live Share Session
Participants may leave at any time without disrupting the live share session by either clicking on the Leave Rehearsal button, or simply quitting RLS. If a participant leaves a session, they are able to rejoin the session by requesting to join.
The Director may end rehearsal by either clicking on the End Rehearsal button, or by quitting RLS. When the director ends an RLS session, it ends for everyone.