View Full Version : Question about film score cues

11-27-2015, 05:08 PM
Could someone please explain the logic behind labeling film score cues?

For example, I’m looking at a cue sheet from a movie and the cues are labeled 1m1, 1m2, 1m3, 1m4, then it jumps to 2m5, 2m6, 2m7, etc…. continued all the way up to 7m65 (last cue of the film).

What do the FIRST and LAST numbers mean? What does the lowercase “m” mean?


Jeff Hayat
11-27-2015, 05:34 PM
1m1 =

1 Reel 1
m Music
1 Cue #1

2m3 =

2 Reel 2
m Music
3 Cue #3

11-27-2015, 06:32 PM
Sometimes the second number keeps going up (i.e. 1m4 to 2m5) and sometimes it resets for each reel (i.e. 1m4 to 2m1). Depends on the music editor.

11-28-2015, 07:16 AM
Ok, thanks for answering.

I just searched Google. The website I found states that a film reel is 11 minutes long, but is that correct? For example, I'm looking at a cue sheet right now. Cues 1m1 through 1m8 span the first 20 minutes of the film, and then cues 2m9 through 2m17 span the next 20 minutes of the film.

Jeff Hayat
11-28-2015, 10:12 AM
The website I found states that a film reel is 11 minutes long, but is that correct?

Depends on what you consider a reel. But to say it's 11 min, as in all reels are 11 min, is just wrong.

Also known as single reels, 1 reel is 1000 ft, which is approx. 11 min. During post, single reels get combine into A/B reels (aka double reels). 1A/B is R1&2, 2A/B is R3&4, etc. These are commonly referred to as reels, even tho they are actually two combined. Double reels vary in length, some shorter @ 14-15 min (not common, unless it's the last reel of the film), and some go to the max, which would be approx 22.2 min (not common either). I am not sure what the average is, but you can expect the typical double reel to be in the neighborhood of 18-19 min.

Music cues cover double reels, b/c the composer typically starts to compose after the single reels have been joined into doubles.


11-28-2015, 11:54 PM
Also, in TV, a reel is just an act, one segment from commercial to commercial. Usually around 8 minutes long.