Lesson 5


Pro Tools Audio and MIDI Regions

There are several ways to record audio in Pro Tools.

Create a new session in Pro Tools and title it
Session 2.

Since we are going to be working with Playlists, we need to make sure that our
Edit and Timeline selections are linked.

From the
Options pull down menu, make sure that Link Timeline and Edit Selection is checked (don’t worry about this for now).

Also, this tutorial will be in beats and bars. Make sure you are in the
Edit Window and that Bars:Beats is highlighted.

Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.46.03 AM

Create a mono audio track and label it Voice 1.

Record your voice for 10-12 seconds so that you have an audio track.
(This is a review from lesson 4)

When your voice is recorded, make sure that you are in the Edit Window. You should now see the wave file of your voice.

Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.46.30 AM My wave file of my voice.

Clips List

When you record audio or MIDI into Pro Tools, each recorded portion of the track is placed into the Clips List. The Clips list is usually located on the right hand side of your Edit Window. There is a region for Audio and MIDI. If the Clips list is not visible, click on the arrows at the bottom of the right hand side of your Edit Window to make the Clips List appear.

Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.47.06 AM Click on the left facing arrow to show the Clips list.


Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.47.29 AM
The Clips List

Now click on the pull down triangle located at right hand side of the Clips column and select Show Audio.

Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.47.53 AM

You should now see your Voice 1 clip in the list. Note: You may have to expand the
Clips list column to see the full name. Place your cursor on the left-hand side of the Clips column and it will now turn to a resize arrow. You can now expand the Clips column to the left to better see your track name.

Non Destructive Recording

Pro Tools is a Non-Destructive recoding system. This means that every time you record a new take on the same audio track, it may look like the old take is being written over, but in fact, it is not. This is where the Clips List comes into play.

Let’s give it a try! Record-enable your Voice 1 track, make sure that your are recording at the start of your session, rewind if you have to, and record another different voice track. It will look like you are recording over your first voice track! Not! Make sure that you record a longer version to completely overwrite your first recorded track.

Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.48.12 AM

Notice that your now have two audio files in the Clips List.
When you play back your sequence, you will hear your second take playing back. Remember, that your first take is still waiting there for you in the Clips List.

Changing The Name Of Your Audio Files

Let’s rename our audio takes so that we can better identify them.

Double click the first name in the
Clips List and you will see the following dialog box:

Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.49.49 AM
Clips name dialog box.

Give your vocal performances names that better describe the performance. I gave mine the unique name of High Voice and Low Voice.

Moving Your Audio Files Around

There are several ways to edit audio in Pro Tools. Let’s start with a really easy one. We are going to combine our two audio files into a single track.

Click and hold on the name of your first take in the
Clips List and drag it into the track next to your last take.

Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.50.15 AM
Both my takes are now in the same track.

Play the track back and listen to both of your takes.

We will spend more time on editing Audio later in the Class.


Types Of Audio Regions

Pro Tools offers you several types of Audio Regions. Each region has a specific function within the program.

Whole-File Audio Regions. These are displayed in bold on the Audio Regions List. Whole-File Audio Regions are created when you record an audio track, import an audio track, consolidate regions into an audio track, or process an audio track with an AudioSuite plug-in.

User-Defined Audio Regions. These are created when you name a region or rename a region. User-Defined Audio Regions can consist of pre-named imported audio regions, trimmed whole audio files, or separated and consolidated regions.

Auto-Created Audio Regions. Pro Tools creates these regions when you are loop recording, punch recording, or editing sound files.

Offline Audio Regions. These are audio regions that can’t be located by Pro Tools. They are displayed in italics and are dimmed in the Audio Regions list.

Multi-Channel Audio Regions. These regions consist of multiple regions and audio files for stereo and surround sound tracks. They are easy to spot because they have a pull down triangle located next to their name. If you click the triangle, you can now see the channels associated with the track.

The Pro Tools Record Modes

Pro Tools offers four different modes for recording audio onto a track or tracks.

Each of the four modes is located in your
Transport Window as part of the record button.


Non-Destructive Record Mode Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.50.46 AM

This is the default recording mode for Pro Tools. Most of your recording will be done in this mode. In Non-Destructive Record Mode, you can record a new take over a pre-existing one and both takes will be saved in the Clips List. We have already done this!


Destructive Record Mode Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.50.59 AM

To switch to this mode, select Destructive Record from the Options pull down menu. Notice that the record button in the Transport Window will now show a D in the middle of the red circle. To go back to Non-Destructive recording mode, deselect Destructive Record from the Options pull down menu.

When recording another take in Destructive Record Mode, the original take is replaced with the new take. Only one take will appear in the Audio Regions List. This method of recording can free up some space on your hard drive, but you had better make sure that you don’t record over any tracks you want to keep. Be careful in this mode!
If you want to try to record in Destructive Mode, go for it! The process is pretty much like the Non-Destructive mode except that you are overwriting your existing audio takes.



Loop Record Mode Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.51.14 AM

To switch to this mode, select Loop Record from the Options pull down menu. Notice that the record button in the Transport Window will now show an arrow around the red circle. To go back to Non-Destructive recording mode, deselect Loop Record from the Options pull down menu. Loop recording allows you to record multiple non-destructive takes over the same section of music while the section repeats. This is great if you want to save multiple takes and choose the best one later. Be aware that this really eats up hard drive space!


QuickPunch Mode Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.51.27 AM

To switch to this mode, select QuickPunch from the Options pull down menu. Notice that the record button in the Transport Window will not show a P in the red circle. To go back to Non-Destructive recording mode, deselect QuickPunch from the Options pull down menu. QuickPunch Mode allows you to use simple key commands to non-destructively punch in and out while recording on a track.

To view a brief tutorial on Clips, click on the following link:

Clip 4

Working With The Loop Recording Mode

Make sure that your session 2 is open.

Select
Loop Record from the Options pull down menu.

Create a new mono audio track and label it
Takes.

Record-enable your
Takes track and make sure that your microphone is set for this track with a good input level. You may also want to make sure that your Voice 1 track is not record-enabled. The Takes track is where we are going to add some new audio tracks.

If you are not already there, make sure that you are in the
Edit Window.

When in the Edit Window, make sure that you have selected the Selector Tool Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.52.28 AM it will highlight blue when it is selected.


Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.52.56 AM
The Selector Tool is highlighted for use.

Notice that your cursor has now turned to the selector tool. Click and drag to highlight the region in your Voice 1 audio track that you want to loop record some takes to. Once highlighted, it should look similar to the following:

Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.53.29 AM
Highlighted section for loop recording. You may also move the blue arrow located in the Bars/Beats timeline to expand or contract your loop area.



Record-enable your
Takes track and single click on the Loop Record Button in the Transport Window. It should start blinking.

Get your microphone ready. Click on play, in the Transport Window and start singing or rapping or what ever you do. Try to make at least 2 or 3 takes. When you are finished, click on stop and you should now see a sound wave in your Takes track.

Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.54.05 AM
My new takes in the Takes track.

You should also notice your new takes in the
Clips List on the right hand side of the Edit Window. Try moving your takes around and getting a feel for switching between takes.

Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.54.26 AM
New Takes in the Clips Window.

Keyboard Shortcut: Recording Modes

Here is a shortcut for switching between the various recording modes.

For Macintosh users: hold down the
Control Key on your keyboard and click on the Record Button in the Transport Window. Notice that you can switch between each recording mode!

For PC users: Right click the
Record Button in the Transport Window to switch between the modes.




Auto Input Monitoring

When this function is selected, and playback stops, Pro Tools monitors your audio input. When playback is started for a punch in (instant recording) Pro Tools monitors your existing audio material up until you start recording, then Pro Tools will monitor your audio input only without hearing any other tracks. Once you have stopped recording, Pro Tools will go back to monitoring your existing audio file(s). This will make more sense when you start to work in QuickPunch Recording Mode.

To turn on Auto Input Monitoring (note, that it may already be on):

The default is
Auto Input Monitor. Go to the Track pull down menu to select Input Only Monitoring if that is what you desire.

When you are in
Input Only Monitoring the lower box next to the Record Button in the Transport Window appears green.

Screen shot 2012-04-11 at 5.26.32 AM Input Only Monitor Mode.


Working With The QuickPunch Recording Mode

Keep your Session 2 open with your new Takes track and audio and make sure that you are in Auto Input Monitor Mode.

Pro Tools
QuickPunch mode lets you instantaneously punch in (start recording) and punch out (stop recording) on a record-enabled audio track. This is a nondestructive recording mode; so don’t be afraid to experiment a little.

When you are using
QuickPunch, Pro Tools starts to record a new audio file once playback begins. You can record up 100 punches in a single pass! I just hope that you have a LARGE hard drive.


Change the record mode to
Screen shot 2012-04-11 at 5.27.02 AM QuickPunch and record enable your Voice 1 track.

Please read through ALL of the following before you record in QuickPunch.


Make sure you are in QuickPunch Record Mode and you have record-enabled your voice 1 track.

Rewind to the beginning of your sequence.

Click on the
Play button in the Transport Window to start your sequence playing.

When you want to
punch in (start recording) hit play on your Transport window. When you arrive at the spot that you want to punch in your recording, click on the record Screen shot 2012-04-11 at 5.27.56 AM button in your Transport window then hit the Space bar when you have finished your punch in.

GO AHEAD, GET SOME PUNCHES IN!

When you have created a
QuickPunch you will see a new region in the Audio Track and the Audio Regions List.

Screen shot 2012-04-11 at 5.29.51 AM
My QuickPunch Audio Region

I will cover MIDI regions later in the course.

To view a brief tutorial on QuickPunch Record Mode, click on the following link:


Clip 5






Pre-Roll and Post-Roll

Locate the pre-roll and post-roll section in your Transport Window.

Screen shot 2012-04-11 at 5.30.57 AM

When you are recording, you may want to allow yourself some time before you punch in. Pre-roll is the amount of the track that is played before your record-enabled track start to record.

Post-roll is the amount of track that plays after you have stopped recording.

Pre-Roll and Post-Roll Recording

We are now going to set specific punch-in and punch-out times for recording on a new track. For this you don’t need to hit the space bar to punch in record.

Add a new mono audio track to your Session 2 and title it Pre-Post

Record-enable your new track. Click on the pre-roll and post-roll buttons located in your Transport Window. Both buttons should now be highlighted.

Set the following pre-roll and post-roll times.

Pre-roll Start 5/1/000 the record-enable will kick in on 5/1/000/ Enter the numbers into to dialog box and hit return/enter on your keyboard to lock the numbers into the dialog box.

Pre-roll 5/1/000 this tells us that we will have 5 measures until we start recording. Enter the numbers into to dialog box and hit return/enter on your keyboard to lock the numbers into the dialog box.

Post-roll End 9/1/000 recording will stop at measure 9 beat 1. Enter the numbers into to dialog box and hit return/enter on your keyboard to lock the numbers into the dialog box.
Post-roll 2/1/000 2 measures of post roll after recording has stopped. Enter the numbers into to dialog box and hit return/enter on your keyboard to lock the numbers into the dialog box.

Your
Transport Window should look like the following.

Screen shot 2012-04-11 at 5.32.41 AM
Transport pre-roll and post-roll.


Screen shot 2012-04-11 at 5.33.03 AM
Ruler Window in the Edit Window.

At the top of the
Edit Window you should now see some new items.

The
yellow flags represent your pre roll and post roll times.

The
red arrows represent your punch in and punch out times. Note, if you don’t see any red arrows, you did not record enable the track.
Switch to Non-destructive record mode by de-selecting the
QuickPunch mode. Screen shot 2012-04-11 at 5.33.30 AM We really don’t need to be in QuickPunch mode to do this.

Click on the
Record button in the Transport Window. It should now be blinking. Your Pre/Post track should still be record-enabled.

Grab your microphone. Click on the
Play button and start talking or singing while watching the edit window go by. When you are finished, you should only have audio recorded in a portion of the track.

Screen shot 2012-04-11 at 5.34.14 AM
New audio in my Pre and Post roll track.


To view a brief tutorial on Pre and Post Roll Record Mode, click on the following link:


Clip 6


Pro Tools Project 7: Experiment With Record Modes

Have some fun. Try experimenting with all the different record modes. Use pre and post roll, punch in and punch out, and even the destructive record mode! Also experiment with the two monitor modes.




Changing The Hardware Buffer Size

We have already discussed the process of digital recording; converting analog signals to digital and back again in Pro Tools. While this process is fast, it is not instantaneous. The time it takes your computer to complete this entire process is called Latency. Your Hardware Buffer Size, that you can set in Pro Tools, will help determine your Latency Values.

Latency can be as low as 3. 0 milliseconds (you won’t even notice this), or as high as 55 milliseconds (this you will notice). When you convert analog to digital and back again, the converter delays the signal by about 1.5 milliseconds. This delay happens as the audio enters your computer and as it leaves your computer. Add them both together, and we have a delay time of about 3.0 milliseconds. Your computer may also add some more time to this by processing your audio.

When you are recording, you don’t want to hear any delay. The Larger the
buffer size, the longer the latency. Pro Tools LE allows you to select Low Latency Monitoring in the Options pull down menu. If you are using an M-Box you will not be able to select this option.

To change the
Hardware Buffer Size, select Playback Engine from the Setup pull down menu you will see the following dialog box:

Screen shot 2012-04-11 at 5.35.07 AM

For fun, try recording with different buffer sizes and notice the latency.

Pro Tools Disk Allocation

When you record audio into Pro Tools, you want to pay close attention to where your audio files are being stored. If you ever want to send a Pro Tools session to a friend, or recording studio, you want to make sure the audio files go with your project. Also, you will want to delete any audio files from your hard-drive, that are not associated with any project, so that you have enough hard disk space for new projects.

Once I have competed a project, I usually back it up onto a CD, DVD, or other storage device and then remove it from my hard drive. I want to make sure that all of the corresponding audio files get backed up with my project files. If I ever want to work on the project again, I simply load it onto my hard drive from the back device.

Audio files for each Pro Tool’s session are usually stored in an
Audio Files Folder that resides within you Session Folder. You can however, use the Disk Allocation Dialog Box to store your audio files in other locations.

Why would you want to do this you ask? Well, when I am working on a Pro Tools Project on my laptop, which has a small hard drive, I usually store all of my audio files on a Firewire drive that is hooked into my laptop.

Changing Disk Allocation

To change where your audio files will be stored, select Disk Allocation from the Setup pull down menu in Pro Tools. You will see the following dialog box:

Screen shot 2012-04-11 at 5.35.42 AM

Select the
Record Location column located next to the track you want to relocate. A new folder will be automatically created on the target hard drive. This is a great way to save disk space on your computer. The cost of external storage devices is coming down year after year. It would be good to invest in one to store audio files and make backups of all your session.

Recap: Lesson 5

You should now be more familiar with:

The Audio Regions List
Non-Destructive Recording
How to change the name of your Audio Files
Moving your audio files around
Types of Audio Regions
The Pro Tools Recording Modes
Auto Input Monitoring
Pre-Roll and Post Roll
Changing The Hardware Buffer Size
Pro Tools Disk Allocation
Changing Disk Allocation.

In the next lesson we will start to get into some of the more advanced features of Pro Tools.

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