Timewarp, film music : can we lock bars ?


I would like the following bars to be locked when i drag previous ones in timewarp mode. When i work for a film, i oftenly have from 10 to 20 cues on the timeline, at different tempi. When i adjust one by dragging a start of a bar on a particular film frame, i would like the other cues not to move. It’s always embarrassing when the director comes to your home and all cues have been moved…

I know it’s not clearly explained : if you put the start of a cue to bar which correspond to a particular frame in the movie, if you move previous bars to start the previous cue to bar (same tempo each), then some timewarp thing will set a different tempo point somewhere before and if you change it to the desired tempo, all your cues will stay at the good bars but not at the good frames.

If you’re aware of a trick, don’t hesitate.

best wishes


Set your tempo change, then shift-click to lock it.

No that’s not what i am talking about. Sorry for not being clear enough.

I mean : you cannot use the tempo change trick to adjust bars to begin at particular frames because you can’t lock bars (or, to be more precise, you can’t lock your grid as you want) and every change you’ll do BEFORE will f**k the rest of your project.

For example :

I have a cue that i put to bar 505, and I put bar 505 to TC 01:15:16:20. Tempo is 124 bpm, 4/4. I have loads of Midi events here, and audio events too. Well, if i do any change to tempo before, intentionally, or while dragging another bar to another cue to another particular frame before, then my bar 505 will not stay in place with TC 01:15:16:20

I don’t care if it becomes bar 506 or 689, i want my cue to stay in place on a grid, i want Cubase to fill and calculate itself what it needs (tempo change, bars etc) to keep my cue on a 4/4 grid at tempo 124 at the TC i have decided.

Is it more clear ? Is there a way ? I’m losing so much time because of this


If I understand what you are saying, then you need to change the tracks you want to lock to time/linear mode.

Nope. It makes the changes less chaotic but it doesn’t fix my problem.

(while I’m trying to recreate the situation here)…
in the meantime, place another tempo event at the end of the previous cue. That way, when you timewarp the next event, everything before that newly-added tempo event will stay in place.

Yes, i have done that. It results usually in the tempo marker from previous cue being adjusted to kind of 120.856 and the tempo marker from the next cue to kind of 124.239. Of course i can live with that when, like in my example, the changes are not too big.

I also tried creating fake tempo event in between two different cues, to act as a a buffer (or a pad ? sorry for my english) which would take the dammages but it’s not working.

I think it is more becoming like a feature request : lock bar number + tempo to specific timecode position.

Thanks for investigating !


That is the correct approach :wink:
So (just to be clear) you do have a situation where you can move a cue to a new position, and the other cues stay at their intended positions on the time line, but it just messes with the bar positions?

It results usually in the tempo marker from previous cue being adjusted to kind of 120.856 and the tempo marker from the next cue to kind of 124.239.

That sounds like you are not applying the timewarp tool correctly…

  1. How are you actually moving the cue?
    (Do you have a Tempo track in the project window, or are you using the dedicated Tempo Track Editor window?)
    I suggest using the Tempo track in the Project window…
    That way, you can drag the cue itself, and its tempo event(s) (by selecting them… including the tempo event at the end of the cue) to the new position.
    So you should now have everything in place, apart from the actual Bar positions.
    Time to use the TimeWarp tool :wink:
  2. ( :bulb: cute little trick here :wink: it makes it possible to make timewarp adjustments that might otherwise give the result “Out of Range”)…
    In the empty space between each cue that no longer starts exactly at a bar, add a Time Signature event, of 1/4, then another time signature event (the correct one, let’s presume 4/4) at the next bar closest to the start of the cue.
  3. Don’t forget to put all tracks, including the Marker track, into Linear Timebase.
  4. Use the TimeWarp tool to drag the (nearest) barline to the start of the cue (use “Snap to Events” for this)
    You may find that the current event’s tempo event may get in the way of the TimeWarp’s operation, so just delete it, then drag the barline to the start of the event, which will place a new tempo event there (but at the wrong tempo), then manually change the tempo back to what it should be.

Yes, wouldn’t it be great if Cubase could just do all that with one mouseclick! :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for all these tips, vic_france. I’ll try them all now !



(hopefully, it will be easier to do than it was to write! :stuck_out_tongue: )

Yes, it’s always a nightmare to write software manipulation :slight_smile: Thanks for taking time !


I’ve never tried this method, but here’s a video that may be helpful:


BTW, this is NOT my video. It’s from another thread, which unfortunately I cannot find, where someone was asking a similar question (and I kept it just in case I would need this in the near future). In short, in the video he shows two cues that have already been locked, except now there’s a need to make tempo changes in between them without changing their timecode. The way he goes about it is by creating two reference tracks (labeled ‘#TIME’ and ‘#MUSIC’) onto which he inserted clip events in the first bar of each cue. Notice that the #TIME track is set to linear mode (and it is locked) while the #MUSIC track is set to musical mode (unlocked). The #TIME track is being used as the event that defines where the music should be after the tempo changes have been made.

Alright, so now you have your reference events and you proceed to make the tempo changes, which would obviously have moved the #MUSIC track. In order to get it back to where it was in the timecode, he uses the Replace Bars function of the Process Bars utility in Cubase. This way he can change the Time Signature of a single bar without affecting the rest of the track. By doing this, you can get the music closer to it’s original location before using the Timewarp tool. He leaves the latter for fine adjustments. BUT, make sure you make a note of the original tempo of the second cue (as seen 0:36 secs into the video). Otherwise, your second cue will be out of sync due to the tempo change that the Timewarp tool creates. Just dial back the original tempo of the second cue and it should all line up correctly. That’s pretty much the whole process (as if :stuck_out_tongue:).

I wished there was an easier way to do this in Cubase, like you can in Digital Performer. That would be awesome!


Thanks a lot Jose, that was exactly what i was talking about. This trick of replacing bars is one of the things i was lurking around.

But my question is : after readjusting the tempo of the second cue, what happens to the following cues (the third, the fourth… etc.) ? They’re surely getting f****d. It means each time you do a tempo change in your project, you have to readjust the entire project using the replace bars trick. I’ve just tested it. It seems ok for project with few cues, but for ones with a lot of cues like i’m on today, it will be a lot of time wasted.

That would be awesome, indeed, to have a way to do this.


I’m not sure about Nuendo capability, but video projects need a 3rd lock. Lock to frame. The result should be that timeline/musical changes only apply between cues. Events tied to frames stay tied to the frame. Almost like mini projects within a project using cues as the divider. I’ve used a few of the work arounds listed above, but I don’t write directly in a video project often, and not with extensive cues.

There were a few nuggets listed above that I had not thought of. Thanks!

Really nice suggestions here. This is a feature I would really love to see in Cubase (6.5???).
These workarounds may do the job but it would be great if we could lock frames to bars.

What you have described above is exactly how DP does it, which is the beauty of it. You can make changes to any cue without affecting the others because they are aking to mini projects inside a project. It’s genius! DP has had this since version 5 (explained in the beginning of this video):


I really hope Steinberg incorporates this soon into Cubase, cause it would be a HUGE time saver (especially when dealing with directors who keep changing their minds last minute :confused: ).

I need to check this out. Will get back to you once I try it.

Interesting thread. Timewarp is still one of the unbeatable features of Cubase/Nuendo.

Think about this: Imagine you have tempo events at bars 10, 20 and 30. Fine. Now, you can move the bar line at bar 20 and the tempo at bar 10 AND bar 20 will change. Bar 30 will remain unchanged in both position relative to picture, and the tempo event at bar 30 will be unchanged. You are only moving bar 20. Ok all cool so far.

If you move bar 30, the tempo at bar 20 will change, but the tempo at bar 30 will not, although it’s position WILL (because you are moving it). This is because there is no tempo event after 30.

This is how timewarp works. Now try something slightly different. Select the tempo event at bar 20, and change it’s value manually, not using timewarp. Now everything after bar 20 will move, and nothing before bar 20 will move. Because we are now NOT using the timewarp tool, we are just editing a tempo.

I agree, a locking feature would be great, to allow us to ALSO edit tempos using the last method whilst preserving the position of events afterwards. For this to work though we would need to be able to tell Cubase WHAT (or rather “when” in time) to lock, and what NOT to lock. Other wise it would be a logical impossibility.

So for Cubase to be able to magically insert the right number of bars, I think the only way this could work as a feature request, would be to have another special marker track, rather like the arranger. If this track allowed us to define the boundaries of a “CUE” or “SCENE”, which must stay fixed in time, then Cubase could add or edit bars (or even just “time events?”) BETWEEN user defined “scenes” allowing us to work as FE is suggesting and wishing.

I would propose a “SCENE DEFINITION TRACK” for this purpose. It would present a block like a part, but chunky looking like the arranger track. We could then also be allowed to move this event forwards or backwards in time to shift a whole cue in time (as is often required when scoring to picture with client feedback).

Maybe the user could even “timestretch” a whole cue this way, wioth tempo events within it scaled for us! This would be awesome.

But the main point is, the scene track events would LOCK in time any normal events that occur inside it. One could have a user definable option to allow time linear events to be magnetically locked to the scene event, so that when moving a whole bunch of stuff that combines time and music linear material they could move together. Or not, at users choice.

Perhaps, taking this a step further, this could be the basis for the ability for Nuendo to read and adjust to EDL files provided by post production facilities when an edit change of picture must be reflected in an already developed project.

If we did in fact have a “scene track” with the functions I describe, we would no longer need to worry about editing a tempo manually. It would be fantastic actaully if we could also get bar numbers to “reset” at the start of a scene event, so that our music cues all start at bar 1. There would be no real need for bars at all between the “scenes”. Just space in time. If we needed to fill that space after a creative meeting, we would simply extend an existing, or add a new scene event.

Thanks for reading…


if we could also get bar numbers to “reset” at the start of a scene event, so that our music cues all start at bar 1

: I PRAY for this (and for the rest of the proposition)


This would be great!