How would you scale measures?

I have this problem all the time when scoring music to a video.
I have points where my cues start, but I don’t necessarily want to write my cues in order.
Some folks have a project per cue, but I don’t have VE PRO as of yet and it takes too long to load all the vsti’s in my project.

So here is the deal:
If I have a cue from measure 1 - 70 and I like the bpm at 120
Then I jump to measure 300 and I set the tempo to 96, I have no problem there,
but if I go back to measure 160 and I set the bpm at 200 and write a cue that needs 150 measures, then I’m screwed. I could steal some earlier measures, but what if my first song was at 60 bpm and lasted to measure 159?

I essentially have to use the time warp tool to move everything over, then pull back measures to compensate.
This can get really messy if I have a ton of cues on my timeline. Plus, I can’t figure out how to move tempo changes with everything I select, just one at a time.

Is there an easier way to add measures, I could give a crap about what measure things start on, wouldn’t it make sense to be able to lock starting points of songs and set a tempo at a previous point to that song, so that the latter song wouldn’t be affected? Like a measure scaling tool.

The only tools I see so far are the project tempo tool, which wont move timeline events with it and the time warp tool, which can only move predefined measures around, but I need the tool to add more measures in between points to compensate.

Please help, I’m at a loss.


Also, I tried insert bars, but that will move everything over and even split videos on the timeline.

I need something that scales the measures between locked sections, so that the bpm changes, between the locked points, as the measures increase or decrease and the locked points on either side are unaffected and keep the music where it is. Or something to that effect.

Embedding timelines would be helpful, much like video editing programs do, but the tempo would need to be independent of the timecode, so that the midi data wont conform if I place one timeline onto another.

Actually, independent bars and beats would solve this issue. It would allow me to create a start position for the tempo and control the bpm, then I could end it wherever, even if the cue ended in the middle of a measure. Then the next song would have its own tempo and bars and beats starting position.

Either way, without all of this, my projects end up pretty messy. It’s nice to have a ton of ram and processing power, I tend to use 16 hr+ projects, just so I can have a sandbox area. If I use different projects, the big issue tends to be that my mixes drift a little from project to project and this keeps everything uniform and tonally similar.

What do some of you guys do in this situation?

Any ideas would be helpful.

Look up Musical and Time Linear Modes.

Yeah, I knew about that already. If you turn a track to a time linear or musical mode, it still doesn’t allow the scalability of measures between warp points.

This is actually my second post on this. I’m starting to think that this is just a lack of feature issue, but if anyone has ideas about how to do it differently, please let me know.

You shouldn’t be working in one big sequence then.
You’re trying to manipulate absolute time while still maintaining bar+beat relationships. It’s not worth the effort.

You could work all in one sequence if you lay down your basic Cue footprints in chronological order and then nail down the tempo map with railroad ties. But not bouncing around the way you describe. And what happens if you get a new edit from the film editor? Even then you still might make a change later that will cause trouble in other parts of the project.

I generally think it’s a bad idea to do everything in one sequence for a feature length project - so many things can go wrong.

But if you feel compelled to work that way you should just chop the video into scenes or reels and separate them with enough room so you can add bars if you need to. Then make sure you have a tempo event at the beginning of each cue. Make sure you have a good slate or 2pop on each section so when you export the stems you have an absolute reference for the film editor.

Scoring is usually done based on “reels” which traditionally are about 20 minutes long. With video projects that length is arbitrary but it’s still observed by editors and if one of your cues spans across a “reel break” you may find yourself in a discussion with the film editor which will probably end up with you changing some of your work.

Pace yourself. you should be working in a minimum of three cubase sequences for a feature length project. The more autonomous sequences you have, the more creative you can be without courting disaster.

best of luck


Thanks for the reply, stevont. It is great to have decent replies and not the usual simple useless responses.

Yeah, that is pretty much what I do now. This isn’t my first rodeo, I’ve done a few features; so I’m very aware of reels. We are working with four reels now and I have a project totaling 16 hrs in length; which gives me plenty of room and a place to have a sandbox area to do test compositions. My problem in the past was that I would end up tweaking my template as I go and I would eventually have to keep a database of every track preset, but inevitably still loose uniformity of tonality and balance, which is usually just annoying and not a big deal.

My main problem is that my template is really huge and takes 20 min to load each time, which I don’t completely mind, but I like to reuse parts here and there and then fiddle with them to make them fit. Like I mentioned earlier, I don’t have VE Pro yet or money to invest in it, which would move all of my template outside Cubase so I don’t have ridiculous load times.

I found if I keep 3 hrs of time between reels, it is an ok work around, but still annoying. It would be much simpler if I could embed timelines or have individually controlled tempo sections. Or the opposite direction would be to give Cubase a shell where it can load all of the vsti’s and not have to buy something like VE Pro.

Either way, I hope Cubase 7 has a lot more features than it does now. I’m the sort to not always be completely satisfied, but I think they could use some newer features like the ones I have mentioned.

Thank you.

I got a sharp pain in my chest when I read that.

That’s one of the reasons I started using PH REASON many years ago. Having an autonomous rack of gear that loads lightening fast and is RAM & CPU friendly saved me from slitting my wrists on several projects. I’d occasionally have to reset Rewire connections but that was due to my own mistakes.
I know it may not be the right solution for you due to cost. And it may not be the best choice for orchestral content either. But it really is a fantastic bit of kit and combined with CB I sometimes feel invincible .