Coolbase Tips#2 – Working with Video

In this article I write about the basics of working with a video inside Cubase. Setting markers, audio extracted from video with voice-over/FX/foley, tracks modes (musical vs linear), tempo changes, bar-offset and display offset, frame rate and more.

> Importing and frame rate
  • #1 - The first step is importing or dragging a video file into a cubase project. As it says, it can be done through File->Import->Video File or by simply dragging the file from your storage drive to the empty project window. At this point, a dialogue window pops in asking about audio extraction. This is a cubase default checked preference If the dialogue doesn't appear, then you can change it under Preferences->Video->Extract Audio on Import Video.
  • #2 - Once your video is inside a cubase project make sure its frame rate is the same as the project. Cubase detects the frame rate of the video and if it's different from the project a red warning appears over the video event. In order to fix the mismatch you have to open the Project Setup window (default key-command is Shift+S). Clicking Get From Video button is the easiest way to do it. Now the red warning is gone and you're ready to go!
  • #3 - Here is a good practice regarding the project layout with a video track: using the Divide Track List feature in cubase (this tiny slash symbol button on the upper right corner of the project window) that splits the project view, making its upper part always visible.
> Finding the right frame and Marker track
  • #1 - Another good addon when working with video is having a Marker track. It helps keeping the spotting on the screen and visually to have an idea of the entire cue for tempo and time signature adjustments. And here a very handy workflow trick can help you to precisely find a hitpoint without using the mouse! First, let's take a look at a region of the transport bar, called Time Displays:

    The aim here is to set the primary display to Bars+Beats and the secondary to Timecode, because musically we want to work with bars and beats and when finding the right frame in the video we need the timecode. The cool feature now is to be able to hit a key-command and exchange the time displays, so the cubase project grid follows one or another. The default key-commnad used for this technique is the dot key  and the key-command is called Exchange Time Displays. Once Timecode is selected you can position the cursor closer to the desired video frame and then using Ctrl/Cmd+Num+ and Ctrl/Cmd+Num- (Nudge Cursor Right/Left respectively) the exact frame can be located.
    Here is an example:


  • #2 - Once the right video frame is located we are able to add a marker at cursor position. First, add a Marker Track. The easist way of adding a marker on cursor position is to hit a key command again. The default one on Windows is Insert (if you're on a Mac, the equivalent command is Fn+NumEnter). Hitting Ctrl/Cmd+M opens/close the Markers window. Click on the description field to type in key words to be seen in the project view. -> Quick Tip: Double clicking a marker event locates the cursor accordingly and selecting any event and hitting L key locates the cursor to the beginning of the event.
    This video shows this whole step:
Tracks Modes (MusicalxLinear)
  • #1 - Cubase tracks can follow two types of time base: the musical mode  follows the tempo of the project, adjusting events to the grid, while the linear mode  follows the current chronological time,  keeping events in their absolute position regardless any tempo changes. Here is an example of how it works:
  • #2 - Video Tracks are exclusively Linear time based, since there is no sense to the image following tempo and Bars&Beats grid. So, in order to have an extracted audio event (with original voice-over, foley or FX) to keep its position along with video, no matter how the tempo changes, set it to Linear  instead of Musical.
  • P.S.: If you don't see these icons ( or ) in the track control area, you can add this control by Right-Clicking the track and choosing the Track Control Settings...from the floating menu or click the wrench icon at the bottom of Tracks list area. Next, select the Audio tab, select Toggle time base between Musical and Linear and click the Add >> button.
> Display/Bar Offsets and Locking 
  • #1 -  Offseting in Cubase defines at which time (code) or bar the project starts. Beginning at bar 1 is not a good idea because there should be some headroom to add any MIDI reseting/programing information or even the two-pop audio signal. Both offsets can be set independently in a way you can start at bar -3 and at timecode 09:59:58:00 for instance. You can find these offset settings at this part of Project Setup Window: Display Format is the grid view of the project window (it's the primary time display format we discussed earlier); Display Offset sets the timecode of the project's beginning; and Bar Offset shows the bar number at the beginning of the project. It's better setting offset before doing anything else in poject with video. And if it's case you want to sync the project timecode with a burnt timecode in the video simply locate the cursor to the desired video timecode and go to Project-> Set Timecode at Cursor... A dialogue window pops up to type in the desired timecode. Let's see the whole action in a real situation:

Work in progress...

2 thoughts on “Coolbase Tips#2 – Working with Video

  1. This is one of the best and most helpful videos on Cubase and working to picture I’ve ever seen. It’s super clear Clelson – thank you for doing this.

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