Film Scoring: do you start music at bar 1

For those people who regularly score to picture, when you get a MOV file which (for example) lasts 10 minutes and the music starts at 8 minutes, do you:

a) set Cubase bar 1 as 00:00:00:00 and therefore have hundreds of empty bars before the music starts or
b) set Cubase bar 1 as 00:08:00:00 and therefore have hundreds of negative bars


Well, option “b” would only be useful if you only have one musical cue in the film… it wouldn’t help you at all if there were also another cue to write, beginning at 9 mins 20 sec.
As regards the bar numbers themselves…

  1. You can set a Bar Offset in the Project Setup dialog.
  2. If you are using the Score Editor, you can set a project-wide Bar Display Offset, by double-clicking on a bar number (above or below the staff itself)
  3. You can make use of the empty space between cues (or, in the instance you describe, between 0 and 8 minutes), to use the TimeWarp Tool, to drag any barline to correspond with the start of the desired event. This can be very useful if you have several cues, each demanding a fixed time position (which is most unlikely to correspond with a Bar Start in Cubase)

Sorry: should have mentioned that it’s one cue per project file so no other cue to write, but thanks for pointing out the Bar offset feature in the Score Editor.