Virgin Territory: Thoughts / Reactions

EDIT: This post too was edited to be correct…

Forgive me, but I think you’re still thinking about it the wrong way.

If you load up a project and move your parameters around without writing any automation, you expect them to stay where they were when you last touched them, right? So if you move your rhythm guitar faders down to -6dB without writing it as automation, you expect them to be there until you move them the next time, yes? And this is regardless of if you close/re-open the project. Now, if you have VT turned on, without having written any automation, it should behave the same way. You touch and move a fader, and it should stay there until you move it again.

Now consider automation as just being the computer moving the fader for you, in a way that is predictable (because you told it to). So say you’ve decided to have the guitars at -3dB for the chorus, which happens a minute into the song. You’ve only moved the fader manually so far, so you go to the chorus and you engage automation and write -3dB for that section. Now you’ve moved the fader. Without VT the fader will return to -6dB before/after. With VT the fader will stay at -3dB after having passed the chorus. If you then touch it anywhere else it’ll stay where you leave it, it won’t move to either -3dB or -6dB, just wherever you left it.

So it should actually be entirely predictable. If you move the fader outside of where automation exists, then it stays where you left it. Once you read automation though - in the chorus that you automated - it’ll stay at the last value of that written automation (-6dB). Here’s an example:

VT: ON, automation -3dB at chorus.
Intro: You move the fader to -10dB and let go.
Verse: -10dB
Chorus: -3dB (automation read)
Verse: -3dB
Outro: You move the fader to -7dB where it remains until you press stop.

now you stop and press play again;

Intro: -3dB
Verse: -3dB
Chorus: -3dB (automation read)
Verse: -3dB
Outro: -3dB

When automation was written for the Chorus one automation point was written at the beginning of the timeline. That automation point is the same value as the first point written in the chorus - in this case -3dB. So when you started playback the second time it read that very first data point.

So as you can see the purpose of VT is not to make your levels 100% repeatable, for that you need to write automation either throughout all VT, or not use VT at all. Instead it’s so that you can avoid having to disable automation read every time you want to experiment with a section. So in the above example when you have already written the chorus automation, you end up with the same experience automating the verse. You can just move parameters around without them “snapping” to pre-recorded automation values. Then you punch that automation in for the verse and move on to the next section.

See how the thinking is slightly different?

Finally, a good explanation! Thanks for taking the time to explain this! I thought I understood VT… up until I read this! NOW I get it!

Thank you for the detailed response. I know VT works this way and this is a good post for everyone to refer to. Like I said, for me personally this -is- confusing (not the explanation, the concept as it is).

This would be great if it was complemented by Nuendo’s automation snapshots feature that lets you freely configure any vst parameter, save it as a version, and switch between versions. Almost like mixer undo in a way.

Ah, ok. Cool. Yeah I hoped you wouldn’t take my post the wrong way.

Given the above I think I might see why you are “confused” about the concept. I think if we’re repeating something, like we do in music, perhaps it’s less beneficial intuitively speaking to use VT. Of course the basis for the Choruses would be the same, so we’d probably want a copy/paste there. And if we then go in and do one verse we’d like that copy/pasted as well. I have actually not used VT much so it’s hard for me to give you a practical reason for why you would use it, but I wonder if touch-assist would help in these instances. That’d ensure that any touching of a parameter in a group automatically gets collected and therefore written as automation. So then the procedure would be to select the verse, engage touch assist, simply touch an EQ parameter for example, and then all parameters for the EQ would be collected and written - so no worry about forgetting to write an EQ parameter.

But of course being able to just grab a ‘wider’ snapshot and copy-pasting it might be a lot more efficient. And I think this feature might be better in post, where you’d encounter plenty of scenes that are completely different from each other. Either way I think it’d be smarter to just include it all in Cubase.

+1 thank you for explaining again as frustrating as it is that we don’t get it :laughing: . I now have a much better understanding of a proper use for it’s application which helps me to understand in what situations it can be useful. Thanks! :sunglasses:

I do not agree with the explanation above…
and I re-opened a project to verify what I experienced :

when you use virgin territories automation, when you click in a “virgin territory”, where no automation is written, the parameter will jump on the last value of the automation track, so if you are at the end of the song, the volume of your track is at -7dB as your automated it and you jump in the middle of the verse were you had set the volume to -2dB in the beginning of the verse, even if there is no automation under the cursor, it will automatically take the last one disponible.
In fact you can note that at once as you start recording automation of a track in realtime, when virgin territories option is activated, cubase wrote a little piece of automation for that parameter at the very beginning of your project, so you don’t lose what value was before !!
If you draw a segment in the middle and there is no automation before, cubase will extend the first value to the begining of the song.
so no your intro will not be at -7db if you wrote the automation rising.
I find the virging territories very useful.

On an other subject, as I read above I experienced problem with automation with parameter with “on” “off” value, as bypass or on or of in a plugin. when reading, it doesn’t take the value at the moment it is written. Going on that moment by transport fonction (clicking at that time), the automation jumps correctly to the value… so there must be a bug and its almost unusable at this point !! very disappointing
when I exported it the parameter automation reading was good, maybe I had luck reading what is said above… :slight_smile:

Ah that would be cool if it works as you describe. Definitely more useful from my pov.

It works like that.
I just checked it again before my post.
It is very useful, before that mixing a live with a lot of songs was a nightmare using automation… with virgin territories it is very painless.You just must be careful, in these conditions : you have mixed songs at the end of the sessions, you go to the begining and you write new automation on a paremetter which had none before… just make sure you write the actual value, at the end of the moment you want it to change, so it doesn’t mess the rest of your session.

I don’t suppose it would be too cheeky to ask if someone could make a real World Tutorial video on using Virgin Territories? A video showing how to get the best out of it etc? In fact I’m starting to think there should be a stickied Thread devoted to Real World Tutorials on every aspect of Cubase Pro 8! I learn more from the users than anything officially released.

Jono

hmmmm…

I know, its a tall order haha

Jono

You’re right. I actually think their implementation leaves a bit to be desired - or at least how they explain it. It says:

Think of virgin territory as the “state” of the automation track before performing the first automation pass. When you enable the “Use Virgin Territory” option, no automation curve is displayed on the automation track, and you have full manual control of the parameter.

I find that to be a bit misleading. As soon as you stop, as you pointed out, the parameter is set to the last written automation data point. If you have a song-structure like Intro/Verse/Chorus and automate only the Chorus the software will write an automation data point at the beginning of the timeline that equals the first value you wrote (in the Chorus). So even though it looks like it’s reading the upcoming automation point it’s actually the previous one.

Another oddity is that it reads on stop. I don’t quite see the point in that at all, but whatever. It is what it is. So the way it is now before and during playback you can move the parameter at will but unless you punch that as automation it’ll move to the previous data point when you stop playback or on ‘return’ when in cycle. Peculiar.

Thanks for correcting that. I’ll go back and rewrite my posts so I don’t mislead anyone else.

Virgin Territories make more sense - and are more useful, imo - if used alongside termination points and gaps. Otherwise, the VT function seems, at first, like a glorified auto-latch function. Perhaps if C8 made the ‘last-node-in-a-pass-as-termination-point’ a/the default VT mode (customizable, of course), VT’s would appear less confusing initially.

yup, they could have a different colour too.

That is a great idea. :sunglasses:

What a great thread, even though I don’t quite get a lot it because I avoid automation like the plague, precisely because of what I hoped VT would remedy - namely that your controls are locked so you can’t fiddle.

This is what I was hoping to see in VT:

Say you have a guitar that you want way down in the mix but haven’t quite settled on how far, but you do know that you want it a bit louder in the chorus. I was hoping that with VT I could just draw in the boost and get a relative boost but what happened was that the level responded absolutely.

Very probable that it’s possible or I’ve failed to grasp this thread but not having this sort of relative behaviour is what keeping me away from automation altogether.

If I am reading you correctly, then you simply need to use Trim Mode in this instance :wink:.

Thanks Vic, about time I got stuck into it…

a funny thing i noticed is that if a c8 project has VT, opening it in c7.5 still has VT, ie. automation chunks can appear in the automation lane with no automation events preceding them or following them. of course the relevant settings (like ‘terminator’ in the info lane) are disabled in c7.5 (but probably present in the code).

Thanks! Now that I understand it it’s actually brilliant.