Questions & Answers

S1 Film Scoring - Better features needed

+327 votes
asked Dec 7, 2016 in Studio One 3 by scoredfilms (6,830 points)
edited Feb 12, 2017 by scoredfilms

First, S1 is brilliantly better than Cubase for writing quickly and naturally. I love the software, but Video in S1 is almost unusable for film. These two requests will make S1 both a film scoring equal and even a challenger to other DAWs, given other S1 features.


Tempo Changes = Disaster

Allow Markers to lock to a film's frame. The second we make tempo changes, markers no longer sync to the video. All that work and data is lost. Markers, synced to video frames (not bars or seconds), are a film scoring norm. This is a critical need.


Support Multiple Video Files

DP's "Chunks" feature is sheer brilliance. Cubase's Video Track is good but not amazing. S1's video viewer is lacking both in being a mere viewer & in features. Scenario: A film editor sends me their feature length film in 20 parts. Nevermind that S1 doesn't support Timecode and multiple frame rates (both film scoring essentials). Just navigating between files to see what I wrote for another scene, or copy/pasting ideas from one part of the film to another? It's impossible! :(


Thank you for listening! It's what makes S1 great- making something we can actually use... unlike other companies (cough cough). Those DAWs are miles behind S1 outside of the lagging film features. Even then, S1 blows them out of the water. Keep it up! :)



18 Answers

+4 votes
answered Dec 14, 2017 by niles (54,610 points)
selected Dec 14, 2017 by scoredfilms
Best answer

answer by scoredfilms

I'm not here to nullify your request, just saying a marker set on 4 seconds stays on 4 seconds no matter if you set the tempo to 120 or 65 BPM when using Timebase: Seconds for the marker track. Timebase for the ruler/grid is unrelated.

Check this gif where I used your case to show you what I mean.

The marker stays at for seconds because the marker track is set to time linear.

+18 votes
answered Mar 22, 2017 by arturtadevosyan (960 points)

Thank you Sean for posting these feature request! I totally agree with you, that feutures would make out of S1 a dream DAW for film composers.

SMPTE lock would be great!

+14 votes
answered Mar 27, 2017 by [email protected] (360 points)
yes yes and yes. And bounce to movie!
+13 votes
answered Jun 28, 2017 by jdurham (2,120 points)
Anything we can add to Studio One to help film composers! I recently started testing Studio One Pro 3.5 for film scoring, and I listed some of my initial thoughts in the following thread (I don't want to cut and paste my big post here!):

The basic issues I see with Studio One for film people come down to how it handles video in general, and some key MIDI/composing features. Should Studio One developers spend more time on these kinds of features, a whole group of people working on music and sound for film and video -- from feature films to youtube videos -- will be inspired to make the leap to Studio One. As it is right now, I'm really missing some key features from Cubase and Pro Tools for video/film work, but if Studio One were to incorporate them, I'd be able to move entirely to Studio One for many big projects.
+16 votes
answered Jul 19, 2017 by matthewverzola (1,670 points)
I do a large amount of commercial composing, and I'm underwhelmed by the way Studio One handles video. It's sad that a DAW like Ableton, which generally has fewer features than Studio One, handles video in a more intuitive way. A video player with offset? Really? I need a video track, with a video clip I can move and on which I can set markers. Thanks!
+9 votes
answered Dec 13, 2017 by bailatosco (4,730 points)
My work is 50/50 music production and film scoring.
When I found SO3 (after years of using pro tools) I couldn't believe how fast and intuitive it was. It takes years maybe to know PT inside and out, with SO it took me 3 months or so.
I though I would never look back... until I tryed producing a film score in it. It was kind of a nightmare really, I decided to force my self into it and produce a couple more scoring projects in SO3 but I realized I was spending 80% of the time solving problems or working around the lack of "scoring features". So here I am, having to go back to PT all the time for video projects, and it SUCKS, it sucks big hairy *****.
I know the SO development team can do it, and do it better than anyone else if they set their mind on it.
It won't happen overnight, of course, but I hope they are trying to cover the basics at least.
+1 vote
answered Dec 14, 2017 by niles (54,610 points)

Correct me if I'm wrong. But when I set the marker track Timebase to Seconds (linear)markers will keep their position in time and thus frames too.

+3 votes
answered Dec 14, 2017 by scoredfilms (6,830 points)


This is me correcting you... (you did ask) ;)

1) No, even if it's in seconds the marker still moves.I just tested it both ways:

Tempo = 120 BMP
Timebase = Bars and Seconds (both tested)
Marker on bar 3 (4 sec)
Tempo change (on bar 2, to 65 BPM)
Marker still on bar 3 (new time: 5.692sec)

2) Even if you were right, S1's default behavior would still be counter intuitive for film. I'm not about to compose music to a time grid that isn't musical. It would be impossible to work with. It also wouldn't get solved by temporarily switching timebases (assuming it were redesigned that way) because I'm not making tempo changes based on film hit points. That's what the markers are for in the first place. Tempo changes will either be musical decisions (like accelerando or ritardando)... which means markers need to stay locked to the film's frame regardless... or I might even change the tempo in order to find out what tempo will move the bar/beat to line up exactly with the film's frame. That one is a sync-to-film decision, not a musical one. But it's treated the same way. It's still how one would go about syncing hit points and keeping them synced in order to work, adjust, etc.

I apologize if that's not perfectly clear. But if you load a video, add markers, compose for that video, then make tempo changes... you'll find out that S1's current marker track behavior just won't work for film right now. At least, not for composers who ever use the tempo track. lol After working in software myself for years, I know most things aren't really bugs and it's often laughable when people say "this isn't just a feature for me". But if you try to score a film in S1, you'll find out very quickly that there's no way around this problem other than coding in a feature and it's about as universal as it gets for a user profile. Setting hit points and making timing adjustments as as normal as making noises with instruments in the film scoring world.

Hope that helps!


+3 votes
answered Dec 14, 2017 by scoredfilms (6,830 points)
I'll also explain more about the second bullet point if it helps...

In Cubase, the video "track" allows you to cut the film in two and advance part of the video by 100 bars in the sequencer. All this REALLY serves to do is let you keep your sequences separate for different parts of the film. It's a cheap way to organize. Anyone coming from Cubase to S1 will find that they'll miss this ability and find a 'viewer' far less robust to work with.

That said...

Working in Cubase for years, I can't tell you how many times I and everyone I knew complained about it's video track. So even if S1 copied Cubase, it would quickly find that users still weren't satisfied. The second you solve one problem...

This is why I mentioned DP's "chunks" feature. Having separate sequences (much like the way Studio One's scratch pad works) is ideal. If I can pick film scenes from a drop down and have my sequence loaded along with that part of the film, that's ideal. Even if I had to cut the film outside of S1 myself to make that work, I'd do it in a heartbeat just to have multiple sequences with different clips. The idea of navigating through between 60-90 minutes of music, copy/pasting events from one scene to another... it's a serious chore to navigate and keep your musical ideas organized. In case you're wondering why I didn't just switch to DP... it's cause it's beyond impossible to work in with every other feature and the UI is insane. Studio One is leagues ahead of them (and everyone else for that matter).

I'm not trying to design a solution, just highlight the types of problems, how other solutions work and fall short, etc. Hope it helps.

+2 votes
answered Dec 14, 2017 by scoredfilms (6,830 points)

Niles, you are a wizard! Consider the marker's point 90% nullified. ;) I have to apologize. I'm usually an effective manual studier.

FYI: I know for a fact I'm not the only person who thinks markers can't be locked/synced this way. I'm not saying the toggle is counter intuitive. Once you point it out it makes sense. But my default this entire time has been the context menu from right-clicking at the top where the ruler is. And that was only after I found it odd that I lost a bunch of markers had synced to a film in the first place. I wouldn't dare say the default timebase should be catered to film users, given S1's wider user base. But I wouldn't be surprised to find any users coming from Cubase running into my same experience. Perhaps that's useful to consider. Perhaps not.

Thanks again! I'm just excited these requests are being read. It's so unlike my past experience with Steinberg. So... so unlike. Them were some dark times.

You rock!


0 votes
answered Dec 15, 2017 by niles (54,610 points)
edited Dec 15, 2017 by niles

@answer by scoredfilms: I'm glad the remark helped and it's a little easier to work with video now. 

The Timebase button doesn't really look like a button. It should look like something you want to click on to make it more obvious to users there is something (important) to do there. So I don't blame people not easily finding it. In Cubase's marker tracks the button is even tugged away and you have to make it visible manually these days (I'm a Cubase user). However the video track is time linear by default, so maybe it's less prone there.

That being said. You can set Studio One's marker track Timebase setting to Seconds in your template. That way you can set it and forget it.

Good luck with the FR for Chunks. Just watched a video and it looks useful!

+2 votes
answered Feb 15, 2018 by pauldecesare (5,720 points)
Yikes, this thread is a MOUNTAIN of great info to a noob composer like me. I'll be turning this post into a PDF for my Notes, lol! Thanks!
0 votes
answered Apr 28, 2018 by Naneek1 (330 points)
edited Apr 28, 2018 by Naneek1
Just to add, I am syncing the vid to a frames-based timecode. It was exactly 30 seconds ahead, so I offset the thing to minus 30 seconds, no prob so far. I get my start marker at that point and (using the awesome advice above) changed the timebase of the marker track to seconds so that I could change tempos without changing marker points. OK so far. Nut then I go to use my pre-roll and notice it's starting on beat 3 or something and realize that if i want to make multiple compositions on this timeline with different tempos and time signatures, how do I zero BAR ONE to each new marker point? I don't even know of an effective way to search for this online in a search engine, because it's so specific. Anyone?
+3 votes
answered May 12, 2019 by KevinElib (2,030 points)
Excellent points here. You got my vote! Studio One is already solid. Presonus is moving in the right direction. We just need a few more features that will tip this ship over for us film composers. Also hoping for better midi recording. Recording midi notes/ chords from my midi kontroller is not good at all.
+3 votes
answered Jun 2, 2020 by rolandsippel (1,530 points)

This video goes over the basics to make tempo changes for hit point markers to fit on the downbeat ot click track.

Please include this, it's essential for film composing at not possible in S1 at the moment.

+1 vote
answered Feb 17, 2021 by rolandsippel (1,530 points)
1 Year later nothing happens ....
+4 votes
answered Jul 24, 2021 by arturoalberogabriel (1,340 points)

It's 2021 and though some things have improved, there is a big way to walk in this direction. A list of some:

- Video track. We need to see the video in our editor, to sync it to its own audio and to be able to do some basic edits (split, move, etc)

- Several video tracks. We may have our film divided in several reels.

- Chunks of Flows, or some tool to attach music to a certain point of the video (so it doesn't move around if you change the previous cues). The idea is to work in different cues but sharing the same tracks. And if you change a track, it affects every cue in which the track has been used (if you don't want this behaviour, you can duplicate it).

- More markers to work with video. Markers are a very useful tool for syncing and classifying things. For instance, you can have a marker for musical purposes, another for render purposes and another for references to the video. That why Cubase has the ability to have a lot of marker tracks, and it works.

0 votes
answered Apr 19, 2023 by dominikschiller (2,210 points)
That would be wonderful to see in S1 (chunks, more markers, video track with the ability of different versions)