(edit. "Hey Cubase devs. Call me. Let's chat. Your software is a little wonky in places.")
Hope you can find some of these enhancements useful...
These are only a few things I'd like to see implemented specifically for film scoring in the Key Editor. (mockup pic attached)
(Full Size - click attachment for full size)
Marked Up: (key)
(Full Size - click attachment for full size)
1. Layout Selector. Ability to easily switch with a drop-down between Key Editor, track editor, mixer, etc. This would replace workspaces as needed.
2. Scrub Tool. This is one the things I missed the most about Cubase coming from Sonar. Many times I would have 4-5 instruments in harmony and I would want to mouse over the section i would want to preview and this would allow me to hear all my instruments at once in one mouse click. Then I as I move the mouse across the timeline, I can quickly hear each desired chord. The options would be have it play solo instruments or all notes in the Key editor.
3. Video Button. Simple, you click it, the video pops up. You click it again and it goes away. Options would be to select screen size, video options, etc.
4. Customize menu. Basically add stuff such as the play/pause/rewind buttons.
5. Window Layout Label. This will label the inspector plus #6 Group Tree.
6. Group Tree + Group Branch. (the leaves would be the settings). This is one of the biggest things I would like to see Cubase. The frustrations of switching from key editor back to track editor, selecting instruments, and then double clicking to open up a new window.. write a bit. Close the window or switch back to track editor to select other instruments to populate my Key Editor is a pain. . == You create groups based off the new built in visibility inspector. Then you select which midi track you would like to include in that group. This becomes your folder branch. (which directly works with #13.) You can group sets for all orchestra, Brass Only, Strings Only, Drums Only, Guitar Only, or Guitar+Bass+Lead). Within this group branch, you can have the option showing or hiding the midi tracks based off the visibility function and to hide either the Tree or Branch. Please Steinberg gods, listen to me on this one!!!
7. Scene View. This I have yet to see in any DAW. The concept is this. You have a full locked feature film. You've customized ALL the markers, hit all your hard hit points, soft points and every hit is timed perfectly. THEN, the producers at the studio decide to add another scene plus extend an expression that grabs the heart strings of viewer. This change to the edit means everything shifts and moves. The scene view gives you the ability to break down your films and LOCK your scenes in place. Once the new film is in, all you have do it move it as if it were a group track and it would move every automation, every fade and every note. The left over gaps can be broken down to new measures, shifted tempo, or act as a break in score. Careful planning on your project or sloppy for that matter would make this feature amazing for anyone wishing to change a locked picture.
8. Markers. Yes, have the markers visible in key editor. Why they are not currently in there baffles me.
9. Ghosted Waveform. Many times I find myself wanting to write music around a scene's Dialog or visually see major hits or explosions or punches, or no sound fx. This works directly with #10.
10. Waveform: This gives you the options of adding audio tracks from your project to be ghosted in the key editor. You can adjust order, opacity, waveform height, color, add/remove. etc. I have yet to see anything like this in a DAW and would be experimental for some and very handy in other instances.
11. Layout Selector. Say you want the bottom half of the screen to be your mixer. Boom. no more hundreds of windows. Of course, you can have the option to pop out the mixer if you so desire. This would also be great for the Score Editor feature.
12. Draggable Workspace: Click this enables you to drag your split work spaces up or down or side to side. Right clicking would give you the option to 'lock the height in place.
13. Group Tree Foldout: This is a collapsable and expandable slot that houses your groups for easy switching. This also allows for the Group Tree/Branch Inspector panel to collapse out of view. (#6). From here you can also quickly solo/mute specific groups for easy playback.
14. Global Switch. another space for muting, solo, etc. haven't thought one through yet, but would be nice to have something quick access to globally mute all similiar to track editor's.
15. Tempo View. This should be one of the additional automation lanes. With a Tap Tempo feature for on the fly tempo insertion.
Any devs/designers listening? I'll be happy to answer any questions or consult.
EDIT and Addition...
After writing solid music for a month now, I've come across some things in the key editor that just don't make sense. here's the post or scroll below:
So, I just wanted to give an update to this whole Key Editor window and Cubase 7.5 in general...
Here's a few things that are bugging me about the current Key Editor:
- I've found that there's some many weird quirks trying to switch back and forth with the key editor to the project, picking another instrument and then back to key editor.. When doing so it automatically rewinds the window to the beginning of the instrument's region start. then I find myself having to scroll back to where I was working. (unless auto scroll is one which is a nusance in its own listed further below)
- Another is when you try to set the transport over the "Part Border" (the part's flagged region on top) there's no space to set the transport. I have to literally find a very very small space to click, or I have to push the part name flag over to the left to make room for the cursor. VERY frustrating.
- I still think it's silly they don't include markers in Key editor. It's like flying blind in a timeline without a road map.
- When I select a new group of instrument regions for the key editor, it defaults to velocity and modulation and it's set default height. This becomes a major pain because some regions span the height and I have to constantly either resize the lane window, or choose a preset from the list.
- The "Auto-Scroll" feature gives me a headache. When it plays, it'll move the entire timeline. Why can't it play the transport bar and then 'refresh' the screen with the next 10-15 bars as it scrolls through. like in chunks perhaps? I hate to say it, but Sonar nailed it. (as long as you hit the Scroll Lock btn). Just not very intuitive and smooth to the flow. (this can be argued with many, so go ahead and make your valid point)
- The mixer is just a hot mess and it's scrolls back to the beginning of the group too all the way to the left. I keep finding myself having to scroll back to the end to mess with the EQ or volumes, or whatever plugin i want to tweak for that instrument. (Especially a pain in the arse when there's 50+ instruments in your mixer) many of these woes have to do with Kontakt and my Multi-output setup. (and next...)
- This maybe a Kontakt thing, but when I have multi-outputs for an instance loaded up, my kontakt layers will automatically rename itself according to the Kontakt Output. This is frustrating because I have to keep renaming the track name to know what I'm editing in the mixer. grr. it's only the first one of the group too. ie, i'll name it Violin1 and if I do a clear output or reload my project, the first one becomse St K1. (or something to that effect)
- Using the pencil tool I can only draw on a one line and can only extend the note's duration. I'd like to be able to click a note and drag it around all while hearing the note being played. Otherwise, I have to click and drag the note to the desire length, let go, and then swith to the move tool to move it up and down. A modifier such as Alt, ctrl, or shift would be nice to switch to moving it up, down, left and right.
- I'd love to have the ability to see the varying intensities of notes depending if they are selected. For instance, if you set the key editor Event Color to "Part" the instrument shows the color of the layer. But, all the other instruments are the same intensity making it hard to distinguish which one you've selected. Granted, this is part of my workflow of seeing the entire orchestra in one key editor view. Those of you who only use one at a time do not apply.
- When I hit, Select All, I wish the key editor would combine the regions versus having, Violin1, Violin1, Violin1. This is an issue because if I was to have a feature film on my hand and I hit select all, I would probably have 20+ Violin1 parts. There needs to be an option to "Combine regions as one instrument" in preferences.
The more I mess with the Key Editor the more my overall mockup makes sense. Bouncing back and forth just to select my instruments is a road block and destroys the creative flow. I don't mean to be so picky with this post, but to me these adjustments make sense and I'd imagine it does to others who fancy the key editor as much as I do. I really hope the Cubase coding geniuses are listening.
Cubase is a great product. It has potential to be the best with a few small tweaks.