Hey all,

I'm working on a new project that's much more abstract than what I usually work on. I'd like to approach the sound design more as a musical composition than a simple description of what I'm seeing on the screen. This means it's all going to be about motion and flow.

What I'd like to do is make up a spreadsheet of hit points (important visual moments) and end up with a linear graph of the whole timeline. If I can then manipulate the points vertically to show intensity/loudness that'd be great too.

I've tried doing it in OpenOffice and Excel, and it's really not coming out the way I'd hoped it would. Does anybody know of anything that works (and is as close to free as possible)?

  • 2
    some of the oldest tools in existence...paper and pencil. ;) – Shaun Farley Mar 6 '12 at 14:09
  • sigh I know. But computers make everything better, right? – g.a.harry Mar 6 '12 at 21:02

How about running the show in protools with an empty track, grab a fader and record automation . That'll give you a nice linear graph that's easily manipulatable. Then if you want take a screen shot(s) toss into another program like excel and make notes in the columns nearby the points you want to highlight. Or just drop markers with notes and output those markers to excel (via edimarker)

  • You are a f*ck!n genius. – g.a.harry Mar 8 '12 at 9:15

If you're going abstract it might be fun to try graphic notation.

INA-GRM have a free notation application called Acousmographe available here

You can register it for free as well to remove the nag-screen at start up.


There's a great website called Visual.ly that offers interesting ways to display data. Although you will find many of the examples not really suitable for what you're trying to visualise, there are some good examples of timeline-based ideas.

Here are a couple of examples (more can be found by browsing further):

Visual.ly - Quora

Visual.ly - Six Nations Head to Head

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.