Film Score Composers: How do you like to organize your template?

I’m specifically curious about one thing. Say you have folders set up by instrument category (strings, brass, woodwind, Perc, synths, etc). Each folder contains an multi out instance of Kontakt or Sine (or whatever as an instrument track) with 16 MIDI tracks that are routed to that plugin. Do you keep the instrument track inside the same folder along with your MIDI channels or do you prefer to place “host” instrument tracks together all inside one folder (for example named “VST Instruments”) and just the MIDI tracks inside the category folder? What works best for you?

I’d be grateful if you could share any other tips or tricks you have about organizing tracks/folders, types of FX used for your sends, etc.

I don’t keep the instrument track in the midi tracks folder but, I leave it in the default folder “VST Instruments” because accessing the instrument is easy from the midi track so no need to have it any closer. Also I always have open “Channel settings” window for the selected track and there I have expanded the “output chain” so I can easily move to the Instrument audio track (or the group track) with one click.

In general I never use instrument track (Kontakt) for editing the sound, volume or pan so I rarely need to to open this track. This kind of edits I do on the Group track after the instrument, this way after you freeze or export the instrument as an audio you still have full control of sound edits, sends and so on.

My start template includes 6 FX sends I use only for reverbs and delays, for other fx I create new ones when needed.



Thanks so much for your reply. I must admit, as a Cubase beginner, I only understand some things you said so please bare with me.

Could you please elaborate on how exactly you move an audio track or group track from the channel settings window? I managed to bring up the Output Chain and Direct Routing by toggling from the “window layout” in the channel settings window. I see the Stereo Out fader and the Direct Routing window now, but I’m not sure what the workflow is supposed to be like.

If there is a tutorial video you could kindly point me to, that would be amazing! I don’t want to take your time.

Also Happy New Year :slight_smile:

Hi and Hppy New Year to you to :slight_smile:
Sorry I miss lead you, I’m not moving the channel but rather I meant I can easily switch to Group (or Main out) channel setting window by clicking on the fader.
For me this is useful because I have 2 screens/monitors so my channel settings window is always open on the second screen. But if you work with one monitor it mey not be possible to have channel settings window open at all time.

And about my work flow: in the start template i have only piano loaded, all other instruments I load as needed.
Lets say I work on the strings, I load a Kontakt instance and I send it to Strings Group. inside this Kontakt i load “multi preset” (I have few previously saved) with all strings on 5 midi channels (I str, II str, violas, cellos, bass). Than in the process of working if I need some sound edit (volume, pan) I open Kontakt and do it to the instrument or if needed I change the instrument itself. Same with Brass, Woods, etc. If I need something special I set a separate Kontakt and than I can do EQ or inserts on this Kontakt channel.
Also for some complex sections I create them on a separate Kontakt (for example: if I need “I strings” section created from few different instruments)

After I finish all composing/arranging I export all separate instruments (without inserts in full volume) as stereo audio tracks and I work on the mixing. At this stage I use the channel settings window a lot.

I have the 3 mixer windows set differently
the 1st shows all tracks,
2nd only midi and instruments,
3rd only groups, fx sends and main out.

Some Good in dept info you can find on this youtube channel
And for great film scoring tuts go to the master :wink:
just scroll to the older videos (2 years and back) and you will find the best tips, the “Studio Time” series are great.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:

Wow, these are some great tips and I’m beyond grateful to you for taking the time to share! I don’t know why i didn’t think of saving multi preset in kontakt - that’ll definitely be a time saver!

So in your other comment you said that you have your VST instruments in a separate folder from your MIDI channels. What is the best way in your opinion to work with the separate audio channels that you’ve enabled for your multi out Kontakt for example? Say you want to automate a parameter (like filter cutoff or vibrato) in your plugin, do you just collapse the instrument track from your VST Instruments folder in your project window to see the channels and work with the automation or is there a way to do it directly from the MIDI channel itself?

Thank you for sharing those two youtube channels - subscribed to both. I’m eager to learn some tips from Tom - I never managed to get around watching those!

hey great the tips ware helpful for you, unfortunately I don’t know a easy way to control the automation for plugin on audio track from a midi track.
For convenience if you need you can slide the midi and audio tracks next to each other in project window but still they will be separated.

Of course on the other hand you can create a “Instrument track” than your midi and instrument (audio/plugiins) will be on one track including the automation.

I personally don’t use instrument tracks because of my workflow, very often I have 2-3 or more midi tracks send to one instrument (for example drums) or another thing I do is when I need to test some different melodic/harmonic version I just duplicate the midi track, do my test and if it works better I’m deleting the original and keep the new version if it doesn’t work I just delete it and keep the original.
All this you can do with instrument track as well but for me personally I find it more flexible and convenient to do it with “Rack instrument”…and of course it’s a habit :wink: