Video frame accuracy problem in Cubase, does it happen in Nuendo too?

Hi Nuendo users!

A couple of colleagues and I have been dealing with a Cubase issue since Cubase 9.5 (when its new video engine came out), and were wondering if this issue also happens in Nuendo.

Below is a quote from a post I made on the Cubase forums.

Ever since Cubase 9.5, the video frame accuracy has been inconsistent. I am going to show ways in which this problem exists, and another where it does not happen.

  1. No issues:
  • make a new project
  • leave tempo at 120bpm
  • import video at the beginning of the project
  • the video window should show the first frame of the video without a problem
  • move the video around and place the playback bar at the beginning of video. The first frame of video should appear without problem in the video window
  • splice the video anywhere and remove the chunk on the left. Place the playback bar at the beginning of the remaining chunk. The first frame of that chunk should show up without problem in the video window
  1. Issues:
  • make a new project
  • change tempo to anything that is not 120bpm. Let’s say 95bpm for example.
  • import video at the beginning of the project
  • the video window should show the first frame of the video without a problem if the video is placed at the beginning of the project
  • move the video around (let’s say to bar 3 for example), and place the playback bar at the beginning of the video. The first frame of the video DOESN’T appear in the video window.
  • move the the video around some more and try again, the first frame of the video will not appear.
  • Move the video back to the beginning of the project. The first frame of video will show up again at the beginning.
  • Move the playback bar to bar 4 for example, you should see the video skipping to a new position (as expected).
  • Make a cut to the video at bar 4 and delete the left chunk. The video will again disappear.

Cubase’s video engine seems to be operating at some absolute frame system that always begins at the beginning of the project file. Therefore if you move the video anywhere in the project (at a bpm other than 120bpm - and probably 60/240/etc), the video will not display at the beginning of its region because where Cubase places video frames is quantized to an invisible grid that begins at the beginning of the project no matter what. This is problematic and makes frame accuracy impossible unless the project runs at 120bpm.

All my colleagues have had this problem (running on Windows; haven’t tried on Mac), which has forced most of them to stay with Cubase 9.0.

Does anyone have the same issue in Nuendo?

Thanks!

May help: https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=149011

Thanks for responding!

We’ve had the issue talked about in that thread too, but the one I was referring to is different. It doesn’t depend on audio at all and only affects the video playback / position of the frames on the timeline. Basically video will be up to a frame off if the project’s bpm isn’t 120 (or somehow luckily lines up with how Cubase lines up its frames under the hood)

I just checked if Nuendo behaved the same way and it does.
For sound designers this is not an issue as, working with the timecode ruler, wherever anyone might move their video file to would always snap to a frame on the timecode grid.
This is not the case when working with the bars and beats ruler as those bars and beats sometimes fall in between frames.

I’m using Nuendo 11 and I’m having this exact issue with a project. I can’t get Nuendo to show the 1st frame of the film and if I try to set the timecode to that frame, the rest of the file doesn’t match. Does anyone have a solution for this? It’s a pretty big issue for such a program.

Video steps will always conform to video time base/video timecode, therefore, if you place it on frame 0 it should always work (show), but if you move it around using musical beats it may ‘fall’ in between video time base grid, so the software have to place it to the closest available video time base grid.
It’s nice that you can work with video using bars and beats, but you should always keep in mind that video unlike audio has only about two or three dozens anchor points in a second while audio has at least 44100 anchor points each second.
I hope that clarifies a bit.

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Hi,

You need to comprehend that video frame rates are much much much larger in size, than sample rates.

In one second of, say, 24 frames, there are 24 possible places where a video can be put, and nothing more, nor less.

In video, which commonly used 48,000 sample rate, there are 48,000 possible places you can place an audio in.

In any DAW, video will be put within a VIDEO frame, not an audio sample.

So, keep this in mind when moving video objects around inside a DAW.

If you do this, say in a video workstation, it will only allow you to edit video and audio within a VIDEO frame rate “grid”, because that is the size of the timeline you use in those, instead of audio sample size.

If you use a bars and beats grid, well, that then totally depends on the tempo, and not the video nor sample rate sizes.

This is why SMPTE time code is the preferred time line to use when editing both video and audio, not bars and beats.

If you need to have different tempos for different sections of a video, you can do that by changing the tempo at the frame where you need to be changed.

Hope this is clear.

The problem though is if you move the video around on the bars/beats grid (not at 120bpm), then place the playback bar at the new beginning of the video (which may indeed happen between a frame and not show the first frame), but then do “Project > Set Timecode at Cursor” to reset it to the starting time code, it will not fix the problem.

I think that’s the main issue that I have. I’d expect “Project > Set Timecode at Cursor” to really work as advertised, so that wherever my cursor is, even if between a frame, that it would reset that timecode grid quantization to that cursor position.

Question: What kind of music are you making and what kind of project is requiring less-than-frame-acurate sync for the music?

Fredo

Well, I see your point, but I don’t think it can work that simple.
If the point where you try to set the timecode in will create an impossible absolute project timecode start, then I don’t think it will allow it.
I hope you understand what I mean. You can’t have the project start at half a frame.

Bottom line, I suggest you do as I do when working with both musical beats and video.
Never start at the very beginning of your timeline.
Set your BPM, Take at least one minute gap, place the cursor on any Bar start (one of a Bar), Add a Tempo track, add Timecode Ruler, double-click right before the cursor to lock the Tempo from that point forward. now create another tempo change point halfway between the timeline very beginning and the cursor position. very slowly increase the tempo value of the midpoint tempo while watching the cursor position moves until it aligns with the timecode grid.
Once done, you have a perfect start of both video and music, make a marker (I always use Num.4) to set your composition beginning, and you can start creating your thing.
When you want to play from the very top, just hit 4 on the NumPad and play.

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