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Create Grooves with Bitwig Studio's e-Head Device

Tutorial | Sep 20, 2022

In this video, I demonstrated how to use the e-head device in Bitwig Studio to create interesting hi-hat patterns. I went through the different features of the device and showed how to use velocity, decay, filter and modulation settings to create dynamic and varied sound. I also demonstrated how to use the arpeggiator, note repeater and humanize functions in the plug-in to come up with unique patterns and grooves. Finally, I showed how to record these patterns as note clips so they can be used in a track.

You can watch the Video on Youtube - support me on Patreon

Questions & Answers

Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:

What is the e-head device of Bitwig Studio?

The e-head device of Bitwig Studio is a white noise generator with an envelope, a comb filter, frequency modulation, and a modulation section that modulates the frequency of the frequency modulator itself. It also has a width knob that allows you to switch between mono and stereo sound, a velocity sensitivity slider to control the dynamic range, a high pass filter, and a resonance knob.

How can you use velocity to create different drum grooves?

Velocity is a great way to create different drum grooves. You can adjust the velocity settings of individual notes in a clip to emphasize or de-emphasize certain notes, which will change the groove of the drum pattern. You can also use an expression modulator to control the decay time of each note, or use an arpeggiator to create different patterns. Finally, you can use the global groove settings to add shuffle to your pattern.

What is the best way to create a hi-hat pattern in Bitwig Studio?

The best way to create a hi-hat pattern in Bitwig Studio is to use a combination of the e-head device,


This is what im talking about in this video. The text is transcribed by AI, so it might not be perfect. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.
You can also click on the timestamps to jump to the right part of the video, which should be helpful.

[00:00.000] Hey folks, welcome back.
[00:04.060] Today it's about the e-head device of Bitwig Studio and I already made a video about e-snare
[00:09.100] and e-kick, so you can re-watch this on my channel, link is in the description.
[00:14.080] So today it's about the e-head device, looks like this, it's basically just an white noise
[00:21.420] generator with an envelope, a comb filter, frequency modulation and a modulation section
[00:28.180] that modulates the frequency here of the frequency modulator itself.
[00:32.920] And you can mix in here the FM and also the comb filter.
[00:36.880] We have a width knob where you can switch between mono sound, so we have just one noise
[00:42.280] generator and a stereo mode, 100% here, where we have like different noise on the right
[00:49.560] and the left channel to create a nice little stereo effect.
[00:54.040] We have a velocity sensitivity slider, which brings down the velocity to no dynamic at
[01:00.880] all, so every note hits the same amount in the same loudness.
[01:06.480] Or we can dial this up here to 60 dB, where the lowest velocity sensitivity and the highest
[01:12.240] velocity setting is 60 dB apart.
[01:15.800] So we can increase or decrease the dynamic range on a per node base.
[01:22.040] Then we have an output here, which should be at 0 dB in my opinion, and maybe bring
[01:27.600] this down into zero.
[01:29.280] And we also have here a high pass filter, which goes down to a pretty specific Hertz
[01:37.440] number, 831 for some reason, and we have here a queue where we can increase the resonance.
[01:44.680] It's basically like an EQ2 here, high pass, which goes to 831 Hertz, and it goes up to
[01:54.560] 10 like this.
[01:57.240] So we can do something like this here, pretty resonant high pass filter we can create in
[02:02.320] here.
[02:03.320] Okay, maybe dial this down and go up here.
[02:07.360] And we also have some dots here, right, a yellow dot, a red dot and the blue dot.
[02:12.960] And it's basically that you can change your mutable at the mix and the frequency at the
[02:18.720] same time, just with this dot here in multiple ways at the same time.
[02:24.240] Also here the modulation you can change and the comb filter, the mix and the frequency.
[02:29.440] Okay, so now we create here a node clip and just using our mutable nodes.
[02:39.680] And that's what you usually do when you create hi-hats, right?
[02:42.440] You have multiple nodes playing.
[02:48.040] So it's a bit quiet, maybe create here a limiter.
[02:55.440] And it's quiet because at first we have your six velocity of 60%, we bring this up, it's
[03:02.200] much, much louder.
[03:03.600] And also the velocity sensitivity here is at 60 dB.
[03:07.920] So we can bring this down maybe to 30 dB.
[03:13.200] And then we can bring down the velocity to something like this.
[03:20.480] And usually I dial down here the comb filter as you can hear, it sounds a bit like as if
[03:27.000] there is a phaser or flanger on a noise generator and I don't like that.
[03:39.880] So I usually just dial down the mix knob here of the comb filter.
[03:43.560] Maybe it's something you like, maybe at a certain mix point here.
[03:48.200] It brings in the right flavor.
[03:49.720] But for me, the comb filter never works actually on noise in this plug-in at least.
[03:56.800] So I dial this down all the time.
[03:59.440] And I only use here the envelope and the FM and the modulation here and of course the
[04:04.880] rest of the stuff, but the comb filter I never use.
[04:12.160] Okay, so the first lesson or the first thing that's pretty important to me and actually
[04:18.720] to making music is the velocity on hi-hats is pretty important.
[04:23.840] Also hi-hats are pretty important.
[04:25.320] The hi-hats are basically the roof of your track.
[04:28.720] It's top frequencies and it kind of glues everything together.
[04:35.080] Also the drums, the kick and the snare, it glues the kick and the snare together and
[04:38.640] also the rest of the track.
[04:39.960] So usually or sometimes I find myself at the end of a track to go back to the hi-hats
[04:46.360] and tweak the hi-hats a bit because they glue everything together.
[04:50.960] Also I find or try to find the right settings so everything makes sense with the hats.
[04:57.480] And they also create the groove most of the times of the drums.
[05:02.400] We can completely flip the groove of the drum loop without moving actually the kick or the
[05:09.080] snare around.
[05:10.760] It's made up most of the times by just the hi-hats and I'll show you this in a minute.
[05:17.480] So now we have here this pattern and when I want to change the velocity settings I
[05:23.600] have to do this here on multiple things, right, on multiple notes at the same time.
[05:30.240] And when you have a longer pattern here you have to step in and do this on all notes at
[05:34.720] the same time.
[05:35.880] So what I usually do is I make this clip pretty short like this one here where I have only
[05:40.800] two notes in there, delete these two and just let this loop because we are in a clip here.
[05:49.520] You can see this clip still loops twice as often as this one.
[05:56.600] So we are good.
[05:58.520] And now you just have to tweak your basically two notes.
[06:02.520] So we bring this down.
[06:09.400] So this is the first groove, pretty straight.
[06:19.840] So we duplicate this here to a second clip and in this clip, I actually got back to this,
[06:26.280] in this clip here we change the velocity around, we pull this down and we amplify the second
[06:33.720] one.
[06:34.720] This one.
[06:44.360] So it's a small little different.
[06:53.920] So it emphasizes a different point in your drum loop and it changes the groove a bit.
[07:01.000] So now we duplicate this again here and now we use this clip and make something like this.
[07:15.600] Let's play this one.
[07:17.800] Actually we have to.
[07:25.080] Again a different groove.
[07:29.600] So now we duplicate this again here and in here we do the same thing.
[07:35.800] We just make this a bit shorter, something like this, or even shorter and emphasize
[07:41.360] here the first one again and de-emphasize this one, let's listen to this one.
[08:00.040] So you can change the groove just by changing velocity and if you use eight notes or four
[08:20.200] notes or quarter notes or 16 notes actually and then you can change a lot by just changing
[08:28.920] the velocity settings around and a thing you can do is you can emphasize this even more.
[08:36.520] So we have this decay setting here and you have these velocity settings.
[08:40.880] You can use an expression modulator and I do this all the time.
[08:45.160] You can use the velocity here from the expression modulator and can maybe increase or decrease
[08:51.960] the decay time for each of these hits by using the velocity.
[08:56.520] So when we have a high velocity here we make the decay a bit longer ring out or the other
[09:07.040] way around.
[09:08.040] So we bring this down and make the initial hit a bit longer.
[09:24.640] So just by tweaking the decay times, the velocity settings or the loudness you can bring in
[09:30.640] already different grooves without changing actually the position of the notes or anything.
[09:37.320] So this is pretty important actually to know that velocity and where you position your
[09:45.320] notes is important to the whole groove also to the kick and the snare.
[09:52.720] So it's not only the hi-hats, it changes the complete groove of everything.
[10:08.160] So maybe we can also do here a different curve for the short hi-hat and the long hi-hat gets
[10:15.920] a different curve, now it's a bit too boring I think I prefer this one, so different, something
[10:43.200] like this.
[10:47.760] So now that we have this we can also dial in a bit of shuffle.
[10:52.560] So you can do this multiple ways, you can bring in the shuffle only on the hi-hats by
[10:56.920] using here the note and the quantize option.
[11:01.160] So you can go custom 16 note grid straight and maybe bring in shuffle here by 33% or
[11:12.120] maybe even more just to emphasize the effect a bit, it's actually a note, 16 notes here,
[11:28.600] it's 8 notes, it's a bit too sloppy right, it's a bit too much, so dial is down to 30%.
[11:41.960] Or if you want to do it a bit more easily, then you just enable groove and dial in the
[11:54.320] shuffle here globally for everything and then you can find the right setting here with this
[12:00.280] knob, you can see then maybe 33% is the best.
[12:21.000] So we can do 16 notes here, we just duplicate this, right click and say scale it down 50%,
[12:29.960] so basically half of the length and then it shrinks it down to 16 notes, get something
[12:40.960] like this and the gap or the loudness between these two here are way too much, so dial this
[12:49.480] down, bring this back, bring this back to zero and then we can go in here and can say
[13:10.720] we want to maybe change this to this to this and then we want to have these two here, we
[13:23.160] select these two and then we hold alt and just drag this out, so now it randomizes basically
[13:30.640] the velocity settings between these two points, so we have on each iteration or on each play
[13:36.600] on each loop we have a slightly different velocity setting here and this one also goes
[13:44.640] down a bit, dial in shuffle, 16 notes and you find basically your sweet spot of shuffles
[14:06.560] setting here, so this is maybe the right amount for this track, 25% and then you can just
[14:15.040] use this number, deselect enable groove, if you don't want to have global groove you can
[14:19.880] select this then, go to quantize here, 16 notes, dial in 25 and you can see there the
[14:28.360] new position of these hi-hats and it's the same thing, but I prefer actually the global
[14:36.400] groove for everything because it also influences, appreciates us and note repeats and quantizes
[14:42.680] and so on and yeah, this leads to all kinds of different nice things and I'll show you
[14:48.480] this in a minute, so now that we have this here, we can even say we have using or we're
[14:56.720] using the velocity here to change the decay times which is nice, but you also can increase
[15:02.880] here maybe the filter or bring in FM, so also the velocity now decides not only because
[15:23.240] of the over the loudness and how long the sound rings out, but you also bring in FM
[15:32.080] modulation and you change the filter, so it sounds like you have different, on different
[15:37.840] hits different samples or different sounds for the hi-hat, exactly like a real drummer
[15:42.960] right, when you play the drums you never hit the same, the same strength on a cymbal,
[15:49.560] it's always a bit different and that's what you simulate with this and this brings in
[15:56.760] the organic feel to your drums and you can also, you can always influence how much by
[16:03.000] using this velocity sensitivity, if you bring this down everything is the same, more or
[16:12.320] less, not modulation because the modulation is dependent on this velocity setting here,
[16:19.000] this is the same, but the loudness you can change here with this velocity sensitivity,
[16:34.520] nice, bit of stereo, okay, so this is a way of doing this, another way to create hi-hats
[16:58.600] is to instead of maybe hit stop here and duplicate this here to second track, remove
[17:05.640] all this stuff, another way of doing this is just by using one note of course and then
[17:15.960] nothing happens, we have just one note hit and then use an arpeggiator and here we have
[17:24.160] to probably use more velocity, higher, higher setting, because now we can dial this down
[17:32.880] here with the velocity scaler, so now it sounds like this, you can change here the speed
[17:40.400] setting, you can pull this down to two steps, make the second one here a bit less or four
[17:54.360] steps or also here an offbeat, some kind of two step, right, it's more like a garage
[18:16.320] speed here, 140 bpm, maybe put this here, need more room for the snare, but it's more
[18:26.360] like a garage speed or maybe an early snare, so your typical garage stuff, so go back to
[18:51.800] 110 here and put this over here and hold this down, so you can create with the hi-hat
[19:03.000] or with the arpeggiator some hi-hats and you have everything here in the chain, you can
[19:07.760] change the velocity settings for each step and you have a lot of influence with the speed
[19:13.200] setting here, if you select the arpeggiator you can use your update rate at next step,
[19:22.760] so every time you play here a step, it updates basically or synchronizes when something is
[19:28.600] happening, so you can do speed increases here, use the step mode, pull everything down and
[19:40.320] at the end of the sequence you maybe increase the speed setting to one, which is then 32
[19:49.760] speed notes, right, so you can do something like this, we have like rolls at the end from
[20:18.960] the groove, then you can do something like bring and humanize here and say you want to
[20:26.640] change the velocity a bit randomly, so you can also add here a step mode and say at the
[20:38.320] end of the sequence maybe make this a bit slower here, every two bars you want to have
[20:42.800] here randomize the velocity pretty heavily
[20:59.040] and also here with the arpeggiator you can see we have this multi-active shuffle enabled,
[21:04.360] so the global groove also changes the playback of the arpeggiator and brings in the groove,
[21:22.320] make this something like this, oh yeah at the time you can also influence here, you can
[21:41.440] pretty mess this up or bring down the chance, so not every hit is played, so you can do
[22:01.080] this and if you're happy with it or when you think the result is actually in the ballpark
[22:09.960] that you like, then you create a new instrument track, hit record and then as an input you
[22:16.520] go to your e-hat and grab everything that comes out of the humanize, which is the last
[22:23.720] device in the chain before it goes into e-hat and then you just record it here, when you
[22:33.720] think there's a nice sequence in there, then hit stop and then you can use this here as
[22:45.280] a new note clip and you can see here that we have a lot of different velocity settings
[22:50.720] created by this humanize device and you persisted basically the randomized output here as a note
[22:57.080] clip and you can then use this as a pattern, so it's basically a small little pattern generator
[23:02.880] in the chain of Bittrick Studio and you tweak this around until you think it outputs a lot
[23:10.640] of nice little patterns and variations, you record it to a note clip persisted or you
[23:17.560] record multiple note clips and then you can use this to arrange your track or whatever
[23:25.120] or tweak it even further, you can go in and tweak this even further, so this is a nice
[23:30.760] way of creating patterns in my opinion and sometimes it leads to nice results, if you
[23:37.400] have no idea and you more like to tweak around here with a lot of modulations and experiment
[23:43.280] and fiddle around and then you just record results and then you use then these clips
[23:52.440] to arrange tracks.
[23:55.760] So you can use humanize, you can use the arpeggiator with one note here, you can modulate the arpeggiator
[24:01.800] to create nice little rhythm variations, but you can also do of course use the repeater
[24:10.600] here, the note repeater and it takes one note and it repeats the note.
[24:25.520] You can change the speed settings of course, eight notes, 16 notes, maybe eight notes and
[24:33.880] then you use a quantize because some of these settings here like this, right there are not
[24:40.600] on the grid, there are somewhere between the 16 note grid, so you can use the quantizer
[24:47.320] here and the quantizer corrects all these notes and you can also enable here basically
[24:55.240] the groove which is the global groove, so the grid actually is shuffled, so you can
[25:09.880] shuffle basically the quantization which is actually nice.
[25:25.920] So now that we have here the quantizer in place, we can play around here of course with
[25:30.080] the repetition and can use a step modulator here to bring in some variation to the repeating
[25:40.960] value here.
[25:42.720] So for instance we maybe can change here the repeats or make it faster or slower, let's
[26:01.680] do the quarter note.
[26:16.760] So you can just draw in some random stuff in here or maybe use the randomize button
[26:23.000] and then just come up with different repeating patterns.
[26:27.360] And again you can record this then in the different track and make it persistent or
[26:32.320] make multiple iterations of this, draw in multiple curves here and create patterns this
[26:38.160] way.
[26:59.360] But also here is the key basically that you record then the output as a note clip to make
[27:04.680] it persistent if you want to use it in a more like a traditional song, but it's nice to
[27:10.200] know how you can generate random stuff and use this then for pattern generation.
[27:19.280] So this is something you can do, we can also switch this here of course to a clip mode,
[27:27.360] maybe remove this here and then we have here also the density where we can increase how
[27:32.960] many notes we want to play in one bar, you can also say how many steps you want to have,
[27:40.000] 16 steps within a 16 note grid I think.
[27:50.960] Maybe remove here the quantizer, or the chance, so I can, and we need this too.
[28:18.160] And here with the accents you can basically dial in at different positions velocity accents
[28:24.320] and change the velocity this way, low velocity and then dial in here the accents to create
[28:37.040] some kind of grooves.
[28:43.320] So an easy way to create hi-hat patterns with just one note, note repeats or a pitch theater,
[28:48.400] it doesn't matter, you can again record the stand to a note clip and make it persistent
[28:53.560] or just leave it that way and use a step modulator and modulate over time, or at the end of the
[28:59.440] sequence right to bring in some variation.
[29:01.960] So a lot of possibilities to create patterns in Bitwig Studio, and I showed you, I tried
[29:07.560] to show you this that you can apply it.
[29:11.400] Okay, so instead of using the chain here to create notes or repeats, you can also use
[29:19.680] the note itself right, you can select this note, you go to the left side to the operators
[29:24.280] and subdivide basically the note into different subdivisions, or maybe stop the same.
[29:42.680] Again use then here a quantizer if you want to, this is worth without, or maybe even increase
[29:59.160] this here a bit more, and then you can switch this off or on, that's too even, it's better.
[30:12.200] Note numbers are better.
[30:14.800] So instead of switching this on or off, you can use the forgiveness, forgiveness all
[30:21.760] the way up to 100% is basically switching this off, and then you can draw all these
[30:27.960] notes back to the grid by pulling this down to zero.
[30:32.600] So you can use a step mod here, you can say at the end of the sequence I want to have
[30:40.360] the heads pretty loose, and in the meat of the sequence I want to have them straight
[30:47.840] to the grid.
[30:59.840] So here it's basically off the grid, in a way, in a nice way, and here it's straight
[31:06.280] on a 16th note grid.
[31:09.320] So this is also possible, but just remove this quantizer again, and we go back to this
[31:16.440] here, pull this down to zero, and maybe make an easy four note pattern, and then subdivide
[31:27.920] this here.
[31:45.280] Can hear slides at repeats, so we have the subdivision here, right?
[32:15.240] And this is just one note, you can't select your multiple individual notes, but you can
[32:20.800] slice at repeats, and then you have individual notes, you can remove them.
[32:31.240] Maybe we need here a short decay time, so yeah, so you can do that, also subdivide this
[32:45.280] here, or slice this, and then remove certain things here, or maybe select all these notes
[32:52.920] and then pull down the probability of these notes, and then you have at certain points
[32:59.280] only some notes playing, which can be interesting, but yeah, it's also a way of creating some
[33:14.800] nice roles for trap, maybe, or add certain transitioning positions in your arrangement,
[33:22.520] so you can transition with a role in with the heads to the next sequence or something.
[33:28.560] So it's also possible, so you can use note repeats with a piano role, you can also use
[33:33.400] note repeats in the chain, you can use the refrigerator and chain, you can record everything,
[33:39.040] so a lot of possibilities, and everything done with the head, which is basically just
[33:45.720] a noise generator with some fancy stuff you can dial in.
[33:54.320] We also can do something like using a delay, so for instance, we have your two notes, and
[34:02.120] I added here more notes in these clips, but here I don't want to use actually notes in
[34:10.040] between here, so you can use a delay, for instance, a delay one, and this one here is
[34:17.200] mixed 100%, all the filters are switched off, or actually at the extreme points here, and
[34:26.120] what I'm doing here, I am just delaying the audio signal by three 16 notes, I think.
[34:37.960] So there's no feedback, there's actually no echo tap, it's just delaying the audio.
[34:48.720] So now using your two beats, I'm basically delaying this note here to this position,
[34:56.960] audio wise, and then I bring in this here in between, right, and then can basically
[35:11.680] change the velocity setting, or the loudness of these notes in between.
[35:16.960] So this is also something you can do, so instead of having these two notes, you bring something
[35:30.800] in between.
[35:37.960] And then you maybe can filter this, let's see, so we bring in here chain, pull this
[35:46.400] in here, we have 100%, so the delay is in the chain, and then we use the mix knob of
[35:51.640] this chain, and now we can filter here, the whole EQ or delayed signal, okay, there's
[36:06.760] also something you can do on the drum bus itself, so you can go to the drum bus here,
[36:15.200] just delay the signal, and bring this in with a dry signal, and then maybe use a chain,
[36:31.680] chain device, put this in here, mix 100%, pull this down, use an EQ here to filter basically
[36:38.760] the drums, and what you get here is basically the same drums delayed and filtered, which
[36:49.240] sounds more like a percussion layer, okay, so this is also something interesting you
[37:08.720] can do on the drums, just to fill in the space, and create more like a groove, okay, so we
[37:26.160] can do this, okay, so we can do this, okay, so we can do this, we can do this, okay,
[37:53.720] so also something, so a lot of possibilities actually to tweak the hi-hats, but the main
[38:00.520] point of this video was basically that you can use the e-hat for all kinds of these ideas
[38:06.880] to create hi-hat patterns, hi-hat sounds, and that it's pretty important how you tweak
[38:16.040] your hi-hats, that the hi-hats are actually an important instrument in your song, because
[38:21.480] they glue everything together, you can also use the e-hat device for cymbals, crash sounds
[38:28.560] or something like this, and I can show you this here quickly, so e-hat, maybe I use it
[38:36.480] the same pattern from this, so maybe for a ride you want to have a bit of noise and a
[38:53.760] bit of noise, maybe more like this, okay, so we can do this, okay, so we can do it,
[39:19.760] depends on what kind of ride you want to have, or you, so let's call this ride here,
[39:44.360] and then you can also create a crash sound, let's call this crash, maybe make this a bit
[39:56.200] longer here, something like this, so we need a long decay time, okay, so let's do it,
[40:26.120] maybe we need to use here an EQ to emphasize here this frequency,
[40:56.040] right, so we can kind of get some electronic crash sounds and ride sounds, maybe put your
[41:25.880] limiter on it, or maybe use my ultra fat, ultra fat, or use here crossover, what I do
[41:54.680] here with crossover, you can watch in my tutorial about making this ambient tune, it's one
[42:04.000] of my recent videos, okay, so let's do it, okay, so let's do it, okay, so let's do it,
[42:33.840] okay, so let's do it, okay, so let's do it one more time, let's do this, okay, so
[43:21.560] They bring in more.
[43:42.280] And of course make this here probability down to 30%.
[43:51.120] Make this a bit shorter here.
[44:20.960] Maybe this needs a bit of distortion and I'll put this here in the FX box.
[44:50.800] Maybe shape the kick here.
[45:15.600] You can use the symmetry here a lot on the kick drum.
[45:26.400] Gives completely different tonality to the attack sound.
[45:38.440] There's a frequency shift in here.
[45:55.880] Maybe this needs a bit of distortion and I'll put this here in the FX box.
[46:25.720] Okay.
[46:41.520] Just flow down the rhythm.
[46:59.240] You actually can make all the decay settings a bit longer because you have more room between
[47:05.240] all these sounds.
[47:11.600] If you speed it up, if you go to drum bass, maybe 170, you can make all these sounds pretty
[47:18.920] short.
[47:36.800] You need to bring this back to zero here.
[47:52.480] Something like this.
[47:53.480] You want to go to garage, you go to 140, need to switch here, there's a bit around, maybe
[48:11.080] pull this.
[48:29.040] Maybe the hi-hat is also a bit different here.
[48:46.680] Maybe there's some stuff here in between, maybe here.
[49:04.600] So again, switch between different genres pretty easily just by switching up the groove
[49:10.000] and changing the sounds, how long the sounds are, decay settings.
[49:14.880] Some genres have different specific settings, so drum bass is most of the time the high-pitched
[49:20.120] snare.
[49:21.920] All these sounds are pretty short and hip-hop drums are more longer, have a fatter, thicker
[49:27.800] bass drum.
[49:29.880] So you can switch between these things pretty easily, actually, all with the e-kick, e-snare,
[49:36.560] e-hat devices.
[49:38.680] I think that's it for this video.
[49:40.560] Maybe I do some more videos on the E-Tom and E-Cowbell and E-Clap, of course, which are
[49:46.840] also nice devices in the future.
[49:49.160] So thanks for watching.
[49:50.160] Leave a like if you liked the video.
[49:51.280] If you have questions about some of these things, then please leave it in the comments
[49:55.760] and subscribe to the channel, of course, and I'll see you in the next video.
[49:59.240] Thanks for watching and bye.