How to Score to Video in Dorico Pro

🎬  This article is a transcription of one of the excellent tutorial videos posted to the official Dorico YouTube channel.

Presented here in written form with the kind permission of its creator, Anthony Hughes, this tutorial is titled “How to Score to Video in Dorico Pro”…

Hello, I’m Anthony Hughes and in this video I’ll be showing you how to use the features for scoring to video in Dorico, the advanced music notation software from Steinberg.

Video engine & supported formats (00:15)

Dorico 2  [and later] includes the same high-performance video engine as Cubase and Nuendo, providing many new possibilities for composing to picture, together with a suite of features for managing timecode, markers and tempo.

Attaching a video (00:33)

You can attach a video to each flow in your project. You can even attach the same, longer video to multiple flows in your project and work with different sections of the video with each flow.

In Setup mode, right-click the flow to which you’d like to attach the video, and choose Video > Attach Video.

Find the file you’re going to use and click Open.

Video Properties (01:00)

The video is attached to the flow and the Video Properties dialog opens.

You can also drag a video file to the timeline in Play mode to attach it to your project.

So, let’s have a look at the Video Properties dialog and what it’s for. (01:13)

First, a readout of the filename and the frame rate of the attached video.

Now, Dorico supports a wide range of frame rates used in professional film and TV production, from 23.976 frames per seconds to 60 frames per second and includes support for drop frame timecode. In Dorico, non-drop frame timecodes are labelled with the suffix fps (frames per second), while drop frame timecodes are labelled dfps.

The ‘Project frame rate’ specifies the frame rate Dorico will use to determine the timecode displayed in markers and the Transport window and toolbar. Click ‘Use video frame rate’ to match the project’s frame rate with that of the attached file.

The next set of controls allow us to specify the point in the flow where the video starts playing.

Perhaps you would like 2 empty bars count in before the video starts playing back.

If the flow is in 4/4, then you would select the quarter-note beat unit, and set the beat count to 8.

The video start offset lets you set the frame of the video that would you like it to start playing back from.

This might be useful if the video has a few frames of silence before your music should start, or if you are using a longer video and you are scoring a section of it starting midway through.

Finally you can also set the timecode value for the very start of the video.

Perhaps you are following the convention where each reel is given a timecode position starting at a new hour, so we could set the hour to one, two, three and so on.

Once the properties are set as you need them, click OK.

You’ll notice a film reel icon appears on the flow card indicating it has a video attached, along with the timecode of the first frame that we set in the Video Properties dialog.

Unattached videos (03:21)

The actual video is not embedded within the Dorico project, keeping things lightweight, especially true if you are attaching the same longer video to the project to work with multiple flows. However this means if you are sharing the project with someone else and they need access to the video, you must remember to send it to them separately. The project file will open and operate just fine without the video file, though obviously the video will not play back in the video window.

If Dorico cannot find the attached video file (perhaps it has been moved, or you’ve sent the project to someone without the video), the flow card will display a warning icon in place of the film reel.

To restore the video to the project, simply attach it again and the existing properties will be retained.

Showing / hiding the video window (4:14)

There’s a button on the toolbar that shows and hides the video window and you can also use the key command F4.

When you press play the video will play back in sync with your score.

Video soundtrack (04:27)

If the attached video has its own soundtrack this will play back in sync with the score playback, and you can control its relative volume in the mixer. Click the Video button in the mixer toolbar to show the video’s channel strip, giving you access to the fader and other controls. You may choose to mute the video’s soundtrack while you are working on the music.

Timecode (04:52)

You can click the score position readout in the toolbar, or the Transport window, to switch between the regular bars, beats and ticks readout, and the time displays, including timecode.

Timecode is displayed in the format hours, minutes, seconds, and frames. The numbers are separated with colons except in the case of drop frame timecodes, where the frames are separated with a semi-colon.

Advancing through the video (05:19)

The readout gives us the current position of the playhead and this matches the frame of the video displayed in the Video window. It can be helpful to be able to see the playhead even when Dorico is not playing back, and you can set this by opening Preferences with the key command Ctrl+comma (that’s Cmd+comma on Mac) selecting the General page, and scrolling down to the very bottom where you will find the Play section and the checkbox to ’Show playhead when stopped’.

You can move the playhead by clicking the fast-forward and rewind buttons in the Transport window, or by using the plus and minus keys on your keyboard’s numeric keypad. If your keyboard does not have a numeric keypad (like mine), you can use F7 to rewind and F9 to fast-forward.

Adding Ctrl (that’s Command on Mac) will move the playhead one frame at a time.

Remember, on Mac you may need to hold down the Function key at the bottom left of the keyboard in order to override the special system features for volume, screen brightness and so on.

There’s also a handy new key command — Alt+P — that moves the playhead to the start of the current selection.

Markers (06:41)

Markers are labels locked to a particular timecode in the video,

typically indicating an important moment that should be given some musical prominence.

This in turn means that markers are not locked to a particular bar and beat in the music, and if the music changes perhaps by bars being added or removed, or by tempo changes — then the position of markers relative to the music will change.

Markers can be added at the playhead’s current position by choosing Write > Create Marker, or by using the key command Shift+Alt+M.

The marker appears in the score at the appropriate position, showing a label and the timecode. The label can edited with the Marker text property in the Properties panel,

or via the Markers panel in Write mode, where you can double-click to edit the text. You can also modify the timecode in this way.

You can add new markers here as well, and this may be useful if you have completed a spotting session and already know the timecode and text for each marker in the cue.

We’ll come to this third column [Imp.] for denoting important markers in a moment.

Markers have their own page in Engraving Options, where you can determine the look and vertical position of markers.

If you want to change the font that is used for the text in markers, then look in the Engrave menu for Font Styles and set the font properties for Marker Text Font and Marker Timecode Font.

There is also a Markers category in Layout Options, because by default markers appear in the full score layout, but not in individual part layouts.

As well as choosing to display markers above or below the system, you can also optionally choose to display markers on their own timecode staff.

Now, as we said before, markers are locked to a frame in the timecode but their position in the music is flexible. In Write mode, you can drag a marker left or right and the preceding immediate tempo will update in order to accommodate the desired position for the marker.

Dragging a marker to the left will decrease the tempo, dragging to the right will increase the tempo. Doing so will clear any gradual tempo changes you may have and will affect other markers, so it’s a tool best used in relatively simple cases.

For more complex situations, you can use the time track in Play mode to make fine adjustments to the tempo and line up markers with beats.

Find Tempo (09:28)

Dorico can even help you identify an appropriate tempo for the whole flow using the new Find Tempo feature. In Write mode, open the Markers panel and set at least one marker as important.

Then click the Find Tempo button and the dialog opens. Choose the beat unit and then use the sliders to restrict the range of suitable tempos.

The list of tempos that Dorico finds is updated and shows how many average “frames off” markers each tempo would result in. The three columns show the variance for important markers, non-important markers and all markers.

When you select a tempo, the list on the right shows those time differences for each marker in turn, helping you make a good selection for your flow.

This one’s going to be spot on, so with it selected, I’ll click Apply, which sets the initial tempo of the flow to quarter-note equals 180 beats per minute, and I can close the dialog.

Supported formats (10:36)

A final word on supported video formats. The video engine was introduced in Cubase and Nuendo in 2017, to replace the old 32-bit QuickTime-based engine, and while it currently supports the most commonly-used video formats, support for more formats are planned for the future.

Check the Steinberg website for more information about video formats that work with Dorico. All the common frame rates are supported, however videos with variable frame rates are not and you may need to transcode your video to a supported format in order to use it with your Dorico project.

I’m Anthony Hughes, thanks for watching.

I very much hope you’ve found this video transcription to be helpful. If you have, please subscribe to OF NOTE and follow me on for ongoing music notation news and info. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Dorico YouTube channel to see many more videos like this one. ~robert puff

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