Work with absolute time code

The production process for video, film, or TV commercials is different from music production. Synchronization is always used, unlike in music production, where it is not always required. You need to work in absolute time: hours, minutes, seconds, and frames, rather than in bars and beats. Edits to the video, including changes to scene length, additional cuts, the use of slow or fast motion, and dialogue changes (or “redos”) are among the many situations that you will encounter when creating or editing a soundtrack.

The Event List is ideal for precise placement of timing-critical events such as footsteps or dialogue in a video soundtrack. It also allows you to change event lengths, which is useful if frames are removed during the video editing phase of production. In linear editing windows, the ruler can display absolute (SMPTE) time or bars and beats (or both).

When working with synchronized video, you will want music, sound effects, and dialogue to play at a specific time, rather than at a particular bar position.

If the tempo of your soundtrack needs to be altered at a later stage, the absolute time location of events that have already been positioned will change. The Lock SMPTE Position function prevents this from happening. You can SMPTE-lock individual events in the Event List or entire regions. All events inside locked regions are SMPTE-locked.

The Lock (and Unlock) SMPTE Position function is available only when Advanced tools and additional options is selected in the Advanced preferences pane.

You can use the Pickup Clock (Move Event to Playhead Position) key command to move a selected event, such as a note, a tempo event, or a region, to the current playhead position.

If you want a particular bar in the project to coincide with a specific time position, you can change the tempo of the preceding passage.

Change the Event List display to time units

  • Choose View > Show Event Position and Length as Time to display all event positions and lengths as absolute (SMPTE) times, rather than bar/beat values.

Lock a region or event to its current time position

  1. Select the region or event.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • In the Main window, Event List, Step Editor, or Piano Roll Editor, choose Functions > Lock SMPTE Position.

    • Use the Lock SMPTE Position key command.

      Regions or events locked to a (SMPTE) time position display a small padlock icon in front of their name.

Note: Copies of locked regions or events do not preserve their locked status, whether copied or pasted via the Clipboard, or by Option-dragging.

Unlock the time position of a locked region or event

  1. Select the region or event.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • In the Main window, Event List, Hyper Editor, or Piano Roll Editor, choose Functions > Unlock SMPTE Position.

    • Use the Unlock SMPTE Position key command.

All selected regions or events that were locked to a (SMPTE) time position are now fixed to their current bar position. This means that tempo changes will affect their position. The padlock icon in front of the name disappears.

Move a region or event to a frame

  1. Set the playhead position to the desired time, such as a specific movie frame in the Video track, for example.

    Note: In addition to the usual position commands, you can use the Rewind One Frame and Forward One Frame key commands to move one frame backward or forward.

  2. Select the region or event that you want to place at this time position.

  3. Use the Pickup Clock (Move Event to Playhead Position) key command to align the start point of the region or event with this time position.

    The Pickup Clock & Select Next Event key command selects the next region or event, after the first region or event is moved.

    Note: When using Pickup Clock with audio regions, it is the region anchor—not the region start point—that is moved to the playhead position.

Position a bar to a specific time

  1. Open the Tempo List. See Tempo List overview.

  2. Create a tempo event at the target bar position.

  3. Set a time position for this tempo event in the (SMPTE) Position column.

    The preceding tempo event is automatically adjusted, to generate the correct bar and time position for the inserted tempo event.

  4. If you want to keep the same tempo for the following passage, delete the tempo event you inserted.