Markers change position when changing tempo

I’m writing a score for a short movie in Dorico 2, but have issues with the video markers I’ve added into the project. I noticed that, when changing the tempo of a certain passage, the markers coming afterward slightly change position. The longer the period from tempo change to the next marker is, the more it changes position. Markers set at cues suddenly don’t line up anymore, ranging from one beat to several measures. No need to say this is pretty frustrating, but perhaps I’m doing something wrong?
Before using Dorico, I composed in Cubase and there I set the marker track to time code, so markers were locked and wouldn’t move, no matter how much you fiddled around with the tempo. In Dorico 2 there’s only one option how the marker track is working as far as I can find out.

Since I would highly prefer to compose to film in Dorico instead of in Cubase’s score editor, I would be very grateful if someone could tell me what the trick is to eliminate these position changes, or if this is a known bug.

This is by design. The markers are linked to a specific time code in the video. If you change the tempo of the music, the markers have to change in order that the duration of those bars matches the duration of the video.

You might take a leaf out of Alan Silvestri’s book, since your process is, I guess, similar to his. He uses system-attached text rather than “real” markers for this kind of thing, since system-attached text doesn’t move when the tempo changes.

Yes, I know that, otherwise the cues wouldn’t be at the right place anymore. But that’s exact what happens in my case: the markers do move to a different time code than where I initially attached them. Sometimes it’s not that much, but recently it jumped almost a whole scene. A short one, but still…

I will try this, but the fact remains that the markers should stay at the exact position in the video they were attached to, no matter what you do with tempo. Unfortunately, they do move position, so I guess something is going wrong under the hood. It’s absolutely not my intention to insult someone or be rude, and I really appreciate the help, but I find it strange that I have to change my workflow (insert text markers) because the video markers don’t behave as they should, which is IMO the world upside down.
As I wrote in my initial post, In Cubase they stay wherever they were inserted, no matter how many times the tempo is changed. Unless the marker track is in musical mode, not time-based. Since Cubase and Dorico share a lot of things, I thought this would work the same, without problems.

The do stay in the exact position in the video.

If you have a score at 120 BPM in 4/4 time it takes 30 bars to play for 1 minute of real time. If you change the tempo to 100 BPM it only takes 25 bars to play for a minute, so a marker 1 minute from the start of the video will move from the start of bar 31 to the start of bar 26.

I don’t use Cubase so I don’t know what you did to “set the marker track to time code, so markers were locked and wouldn’t move,” but if you change the tempo a marker can’t be fixed to both the score and the picture.

Yes, as Rob says, the markers do stay locked to the specific time position in the video. If you change the tempo of the music, then that frame of the video is going to appear at a different spot in the music. I don’t see how it could possibly work any other way.

I wonder if the OP wants to write a music cue starting at a given point in the movie without bothering too much about synchronizing the end if the cue until after it is finished.

In that case, use a separate flow for each music cue, and use the flow attachment position and/or timecode offset properties to line up ONE point in the music and video.


Thanks for the above replies. However, I feel misunderstood and somewhat offended by the responses. I know how cues in music videos work, but I also run into the fact that they start to move out of position once you start fiddling with the tempo somewhere before in the track. And to answer Rob Tuley: it’s a video of 6 minutes, a short animated movie in one piece so to say, with music all the time.
I will try to describe exactly what I did: I had an important cue at 3:05 in the movie, wrote music for it, then went back to an earlier cue, got an idea, but had to change the tempo pretty much at that point and all of a sudden the cue at 3:05 didn’t match at all with the video anymore. And I’m not talking about a second away, it had really moved significantly towards the end.
So, how do I solve this? Maybe try it for yourself and find out what I mean exactly? I get the feeling you don’t completely understand my problem, hence I described my process.
I hope you will reply again.

I’m sorry you feel offended – I certainly didn’t mean to cause offence, and I’m reasonably sure neither Rob nor Leo intended to cause offence either.

Perhaps what you’re looking for is a feature that either adds or removes musical time so that the marker stays aligned with whatever music happens to be at that position. Unfortunately that’s not how the program works, and of course if the software had to delete material to keep that marker in the same place (because you have slowed down the tempo) that would be a bit of a scary operation. However, hopefully you should find it reasonably quick to add some music or delete some bars to bring your marker back into the expected alignment. You might find it helpful to add a bit of system text at the position where the marker is before you change tempo, so you can see what the offset ends up being when you change the earlier music. That might make it a bit easier to figure out whether you need to add or delete music or change the tempo again to bring the marker back into its original position.

Well, I think I finally guessed what you wanted to do in my previous post. In your first post, non-Cubase users had to guess exactly what the Cubase commands did, which wasn’t obvious (not to me, anyway). One way to interpret your original post was that Cubase was doing some sort of automatic time-stretching (or recalculating the tempo) on the music between two points…

Put the music for the 3:05 cue in its own flow, and set the attachment position so the flow starts at 3:05 in the video. Editing the other flows in the project then won’t interfere with that one.

At the end of the process you either make separate audio files for each flow and assemble them outside of Dorico, or you can set the gap between flows to 0 seconds and play the complete project straight through, or you can copy-and-paste all of the finished music into a single flow if you want.

I assume that the OP means that the markers should stay locked to a specific picture frame, and in that case, even with the tempo being changed, the markers should still stay locked to that same picture frame. That is how I score movies in Logic where they are called scene markers, and that is the idea behind placing a marker with video. However I tried it just now and in Dorico the markers do indeed move to another frame when changing the tempo. So I assume that markers in Dorico have another function than in a Daw?

Thank you Andre, that’s exactly how I meant it! I assume the language barrier came into play here :slight_smile:. You describe perfectly what my problem is, so I’m really glad you also looked into it and encountered this issue too.
Hopefully, with the help of Daniel and Rob, now we can come to a solution how to solve this.

Have you seen the two video interviews with Alan Slivestri?

Actually, with markers connected and locked to time code, their position should not change when changing the tempo. That’s the idea behind smtp locked markers.

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Daniel, when markers change their positions when the tempo changes, doesn’t this mean they are locked to the music and not to the picture?

In Dorico instructional videos, the Video markers are presented the way you describe, Andre, and how I would use them in the first place. However, now they act as they do, it appears they either have another function, or they don’t do what you expect them to do.
I think they should indeed be linked to a specific frame in the video, so the marker will stay there no matter what you do with the tempo. Now that they change position, the function apparently does not behave in the way it is meant to be, both in my opinion as well as based on the Dorico videos.

Dear Embee and Andre,
I understood that markers were linked to video time, so they should not move relatively to the timecode. If your project behaves otherwise (and that you can easily exhibit the problem), it might be useful to post that minimal project with simple instructions to reproduce the problem. This is the most useful help for the dev team IIRC

It’s very simple to see this happening. Start an empty project, attach a video and add markers. Now change the starting tempo or add tempo changes in the tempo map and you see that the markers are on different places in the video.

This happened with the first film scoring I did when this feature was added to Dorico and it happens still now. So I don’t think it’s a project related problem. I tried it yesterday and it still behaves the same way.

Ok, I spent about 1 hour playing around with this and watched the Dorico video about working with video in Dorico and markers. I have to conclude that they do stay attached to a specific frame in the video and so work as expected. Not sure why I could not get this working correctly before.

I created different markers in a short video with a short piano score.
I added tempo changes, immediately and graduals and inserted bars on different spots: The markers stay connected to the same video frame and the smtp numbers stay the same.
I moved a marker left or right which of course will move the other markers as well, but the smtp numbers in the markers stay the same.

So as far as I can see now, they do act correctly as scene markers, staying connected to the frames and not to the music.