10 Hidden & Advanced Features of Turntubelist

turntubelist logoWell, it's been a couple-a weeks since we got TurnTubelist out the door! Now that we're starting to see a bunch of people making TurnTubelist a part of their getting-ready-to-go-out-on-a-Saturday-night routine, I thought it would be good to expose some of the advanced features that lurk under the covers.

Do note: these are current as of March, 2009... but much is set to change - so hopefully in the near future the "hidden" features will become "obvious" features.

  1. Auto Play mode
  2. Keyboard Shortcuts
  3. Publish and load your sets
  4. Load YouTube playlists
  5. Stored track volumes
  6. Set/Cue Points
  7. Import/Export tracks
  8. Clear the playlists
  9. The awesome cross-fader
  10. Other Pro-Tips

Auto Play Mode
The most useful feature of TurnTubelist by far - a feature you will come to love (unless you have some kind of anti-streaming policy at your workplace).

autoplay buttonAuto Play Mode does the cross-fading for you, so you can relax and boogie while DJ Revolves It (the TurnTubelist resident DJ) spins your favourite tunes. To start Auto Play Mode, just load up a track and set it in motion. Then just check the "Auto play mode" box, and that's it. It loads up tracks, plays them and cross-fades them. More amazing than a player piano!

Keyboard shortcuts
Yes, yes... everyone knows that if you want to master a program, then you need to know the keyboard shortcuts inside-out. These are particularly handy when you need to execute those tricky mixes:

  • The cross-fader: f,g,h,j and k
  • Play/pause: y and u
  • Rewind: t and i
  • Cue (see below): d and l
  • Secret demo mode: z

Publish and load your sets

publish playlist boxI love this. Once you've got a killer set under your belt you don't want to lose it! And until we give you guys log-ins - this is the best you can do!

Publishing a set will make it available from a URL that you can send to your friend, or have printed on a t-shirt. Just hit the publish this set button, and give your set an appropriate name. Liiiike, "Good gosh, this is some pumpin' zydeco". Or something. Once you give the all-clear to publish, it will be saved and display the URL for you to note down in your copybooks. Here's my current favourite: www.turntubelist.com/set/themes_from_stuff

If it's extra good, it might even end up on the Featured Playlist hall-of-fame.

Load YouTube playlists
This is a bit half-arsed at the moment, but it is possible to load existing YouTube playlists into TurnTubelist. To do so, you need to get the playlist's ID. If you search for playlists on YouTube you will see the URL looks something like:

Simply take that string of characters after p= and append it to the URL: www.turntubelist.com/playlist/. So in our example above, you'd have this handy URL: www.turntubelist.com/playlist/8408F393783E277A.

Clicking on this link will take you to TurnTubelist, and load up the YouTube playlist placing every even track in the left playlist, and every odd track in the right playlist. Ready for you to mix.

Stored track volumes

volume faderThis one is important if you're going to publish some top notch listenable sets: Because the volume levels vary so much on YouTube videos, we have included individual track volume sliders.

By default a track will load with it's volume at 50%. Avoid the temptation to just push this to 11! It's set in the middle, so that you can adjust the track volumes up and down for each track to achieve consistent overall set volume.

If a video is too quiet, bump it up... if it's too loud, pull it back. When you reload the song next time, it will remember the volume you chose and automatically adjust it. This way you can publish your sets in a way that won't require user interaction as Rick Ashley suddenly screams out many decibels louder than your previous selection.

Set/Cue Points
Set/Cue - this is a bit of a wacky feature. It is implemented on a lot of mixers, so might make sense if you are a DJ by trade. The idea of the cue point is to mark some spot in the track that you want to come back to quickly.

As a track is playing, you click the red Set button. It will change to a green Cue button: and anytime you click Cue it will instantly jump back to the cue point - enabling some nice st-st-stutter rap effects and help to cue videos which have lots of nonsense at the beginning.

To re-set the cue point, click on the green light at the top of the button. This will change it back to the red Set button, ready to go again.

An issue with this feature is that YouTube only lets you jump to a keyframe within an FLV movie: which means the Cue point will only be approximate to the point you set. Have a play - you'll see what I mean.

Import/Export tracks

options menuYour playlists are just stored as cookies so we can reload them when you come back: So if you go show playlist options then click the Import/Export option you can get your cookies in and out.

It's just a work around until we get the real playlist management happening.

Clear the playlists
I just added this one to get the advanced features up to 10. Though it IS very useful, and it IS pretty hidden... Click on the "show playlist options" again, under your track list. Click "Clear Playlist". Click "Yes". All your songs a gone (from that playlist). Much easier than individually deleting all the tracks!

The awesome cross-fader
Turns out that a cross-fader algorithm is actually quite complex. Most cross-faders people code just have the volume of each track based on a linear scale: like, 50% loudness on each video if it's in the middle, 75% loudness for one, 25% loudness for the other if the fader is three-quarters the way across etc.

But that's not how cross-faders work: in fact they all work differently and have different "response curves" depending if they are for scratch djs, or music djs etc - and you can switch out the cross-faders on most mixers to suit your needs.

The Turntubelist cross-fader uses a pretty simple algorithm that goes like-so: 1+cos(x*x*pi)/2
Where x is the fader position. That gives the right volume. 1-x for the left volume. Something like that. At any rate, it gives a nice smooth curve, where the maximum volume for each track is around the centre:

crossfader response curve

Other Pro-Tips
This isn't a feature, but it's fun to do: Select a track and load it up. Then drag it across to the other playlist and load it up on the other channel. Now you have the same track loaded on both channels. Press play on one track and wait a second or two. Now press play on the other track. Both tracks will be playing, but slightly out of time.

Using the keyboard shortcuts for the cross-fader (or the mouse, if you really love it), switch between the tracks. If you do it carefully (try using the set/cue to make it easier) you can achieve some pretty snazzy beat-juggling effects. Kind of.

Pump up the volume
That's it
Stay hard.