Lesson 8

More Digital Editing in Pro Tools

I hope that you are starting to gain a better understanding of the basic audio editing features that are found in Pro Tools. In this lesson, we are going to dive in a little deeper in and get past the basic fundamentals of editing audio in Pro Tools and into some “real world” editing projects.


In Pro Tools, you can choose many options for viewing regions and tracks. The Track View selector in the Edit window, located below each track’s name, allows you to select which data you want to display in the track’s Playlist.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.10.12 AM

Once you are viewing your selected data, you can then proceed to edit your selected data.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.10.20 AM
Using the Track View for an audio track to display waveforms.

Open up your Project 12 Loop Session that you posted on the last lesson. Make sure that you don’t save any changes to it, unless you want to. Or you can always use the Save Session as… or Save As command so that you don’t overwrite your Project 12 session.

When the
Project 12 session in open, try selecting different track views. Notice that for each different view, the data changes in your edit window. When you are viewing the volume data, the waveform data is dimmed. The Edit Tool functions will also change according to which type of data you are editing.

When working with volume data, the
Grabber Tool changes to a pointing finger so that you can move the volume up and down on the track.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.19.38 AM
The Grabber Tool changes to a pointing finger when editing volume data.

Track Height

When you are editing in the edit window in Pro Tools, you may find it easier to adjust the fine details of a track by adjusting the track height. Other times you may want to view all of the tracks on your screen at the same time. Pro Tools allows you the adjust track height with a few simple clicks of the mouse.

To change a track’s height, simply click on the arrow to the left of the track name box.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.19.52 AM

You will see the following pull down window:

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.20.21 AM
Adjusting track height pull down menu.

Try adjusting some of the track heights on the tracks in you Loop session.

Creating New Regions In Pro Tools

When you are editing audio, you may need to copy a region, delete a region, move a region, select a portion of a region, or make copies of part or all of a region.

The easiest way to create a new region is to select a portion of an existing audio region with the
Selector Tool Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.20.30 AM and then choose Capture from the Region pull down menu. Pro Tools will then ask you to name the new region. Your newly named region will now appear in the Audio Regions List, but will not appear in the Playlist.

Creating A New Bass clip

Make sure that you are in the edit window of the Loop session. Highlight the Selector Tool and select a portion of the bass track by clicking and dragging the last part of the bass waveform as shown below:

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.20.37 AM
Captured Bass Region

From the Clip pull down menu, select Capture. You will now be asked to name your newly created region. You can name it anything you want, I have named mine bass 2 (highly original).

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.21.59 AM
Naming a newly created clip.

You will now notice that your newly created region appears in the
Clips List

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.22.07 AM
Bass 2 region appearing in the Audio Region Playlist.

Separate Clip command located under the Edit pull down menu functions the same way as the Capture Clip command, except that it will separate the region from the Playlist.

Then, if you want, you can now use the
Grabber Tool to pull the region away from the original waveform. You can also separate multiple regions at the same time, by dragging over several tracks at once. Experiment with separating audio regions on your Loop Session.

Cutting, Copying, and Pasting Clips

Pro Tools works just like your word processing program when it comes to cut, copy, and paste. Remember, your track view will determine what type of data you are cutting, copying, or pasting. Here are some keyboard short cuts for each of the edit commands:

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.22.56 AM

Pro Tools does have a few noticeable differences from your word processing program. Depending on what Pro Tools edit mode you are in, please note the following:

Cut command in Slip Mode leaves an empty space where the cut data once resided.

The pasted data in
Slip Mode can overlap an adjacent region.

Cut command in Shuffle Mode will not leave an empty space, since regions to the right of the cut material will shuffle on over and close the missing gap.
The pasted data in
Shuffle Mode will cause all of the regions to shuffle over to make room for the newly pasted material.

Oh, How I Love The “Undo” Feature

Pro Tools offers multiple levels of “undo”. Some Pro Tool’s programs offer you up to 32 levels of undo commands. That means that you can go back up to 32 steps

To setup the number of undo levels in Pro Tools, select
Preferences from the Setup pull down menu and click on the Editing Tab at the top of the dialog box. You will see the following window at the bottom of the dialog box:

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.23.20 AM
Setting the “undo” level in Pro Tools.


In Pro Tools, a Group is defined as a collection of several linked tracks that have some type of relationship to one another. A drum set, that includes several different drum tracks, is a great example. The kick, snare, hi hat, and toms may all be on different tracks, but they are all part of the drum set.

Grouping like tracks together may save you a lot of time when you are editing them, especially if you want to edit all the drum tracks at once.

You can group tracks together in either the
Edit or Mix window in Pro Tools. Pro Tools allows for up to 26 different groups.

Let’s create a group for the drum tracks in your Loop session that is already open.

It does not mater which Pro Tool’s window you create a group in, for now I am going to use the
Edit window.

Hold down the
shift key (this allows you to select multiple tracks) on your computer keyboard and click both drum track names so that they are highlighted.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.23.43 AM Highlighted drum track names.

Once you have highlighted the names of the tracks you want to group, you can press command-G (Mac) or Ctrl-G (PC). You will now see the
New Group dialog box:

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.24.34 AM
New Group Dialog Box.

I have named my group “Drums” (another highly original name).

OK and then switch your view to the Mix Window.

Move either fader on the drum tracks and notice what happens. Both faders move! How cool is that?

For more information on what you can do with
Groups please read the Pro Tools Reference Guide.

Pro Tools Project 13: Editing The Spoken Word

Open the Voice Session located in your Pro Tools Course Files Folder that you downloaded in Lesson 6. Using the editing skills that you have developed in the last two lessons, fix the audio track so that it is well paced, demonstrating a good reading of the text. There are mistakes, rushed phrases and other problems with the audio reading. It is your job to make me sound intelligent (could be tough)!

Use the
Save As… command to save your Voice Session and email it to me as an attachment. Don’t send any audio files. Just send the session file. For example, I would send Pfenninger voice.ptx


When you are working with an audio or MIDI region in Pro Tools, there may be times when you want to push an audio or MIDI region slightly ahead or behind so that it lines up with a beat or rhythmic hit.

Pro Tools allows you to
nudge audio regions or MIDI notes by using the (+) and (-) keys on your computer’s numeric keyboard. The Nudge Value dialog box lets you specify the amount of nudge you want.

Open up your Project 12 Loop Session again. Make sure that you don’t save any changes to it, unless you want to. Or you can always use the Save Session as… or Save As…command so that you don’t overwrite your Project 12 session.

Open up the Edit Window for the session and find the Nudge window located in the upper right side of the Edit Window.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.26.11 AM
Pro Tools Nudge Window.

The pull down arrow to the right of the Nudge window allows you to specify how you want to nudge your data. Click on the arrows to select how you want to nudge the data.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.26.20 AM
Bars:Beats Nudge

For this example, select the Min:Seconds nudge and 1 second for the Nudge value. Note: This is a two step process.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.26.49 AM
Setting The Nudge Value Min:Secs

Note, that you will have to select a
Grid Value, by selecting Min:Secs from the right pull down arrow then set the Nudge Value to 1 second using the right pull down arrow.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.26.59 AM

Here is how you
Nudge an audio region. Select the region with the Selector or Grabber Tool by clicking on it to select the entire region, and then use the “+” or “-“ on your Numeric keypad to move the region forward or backward.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.28.01 AM
Moving the guitar part around with the Nudge Tool.

Experiment with different Nudge values and moving the audio regions around in the Loop session.

Setting The Edit Window Grid

When you are working in the Edit Window you have several grid options that you can select when you are moving audio around. Like the Nudge setting this is a two step process. Locate the Grid window, just above the Nudge window.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.28.08 AM

Click on the pull down arrow to the right of
Grid and select Min:sec

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.28.14 AM

Repeat the process to select 1 Sec

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.28.21 AM

This changes your Edit Window grid view to 1 second.

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

Clip 12

Locking Clips

When you have made some great edits that you are really happy with, it is usually a good idea to lock those edits in, so that you don’t move them by mistake later on when you are editing other regions.

Lock a region, select the audio or regions with the Grabber Tool and select Edit Lock/Unlock Region from the Clip pull down menu. You should now see a small lock in the track, indicating that the region is locked.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.29.47 AM
Locked Audio Regions in the Pro Tools Edit Window.

Try locking and unlocking audio regions in your already opened Loop Session.

If you try to edit a
Locked region, Pro Tools will show you the following alert:

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.29.56 AM
The Locked Region Alert Window.

Muting Clips

When you want to mute a Clip during playback, just select the region with the Grabber Tool and select Mute Clips from the Edit pull down menu.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.30.30 AM
The muted Clip is dimmed in the track.

Practice muting and unmuting Clips in your Loop Session.

More On Memory Locations and Markers

Here is a quick review of Memory Locations and Markers. They can also help you locate any part of a song for quick edits.

Pro Tools will allow you to save up to
200 Memory Locations in each recording session.

Make sure your Loop Session is open (are you tired of hearing this song yet?)

Creating A Memory Location

In your Loop session make sure that you check under the Options pull down menu and that Link Timeline and Edit Selection is selected.

Also make sure that your Markers Ruler is displayed. Go to the View pull down menu and select Rulers and select Markers.

You can add a
Marker using samples, bars, beats or minutes and seconds. For this example, we are going to be using Bars:Beats. Make sure that Bars:Beats is selected for our time reference.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.30.39 AM
Choosing a Marker value.

Now just press the
Enter key on your numeric keypad and you will get the following window:

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.31.24 AM
Maker dialog window.

I am calling my marker B Section (another highly original name).

When you have labeled your maker click
OK. You should now see your Marker in the Markers Ruler.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.31.50 AM
Marker appearing in the Markers Ruler.

Placing Your Marker

When you are in Shuffle, Slip, or Grid edit mode, you can simply drag your marker to any spot you desire.

Switch to one of the above modes and drag your maker around!
When you are in
Spot Mode, if you click on your marker, you will get a dialog box asking you to specify an exact location for your marker.
This is great if you really want to be precise in your marker placement.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.31.57 AM
Spot dialog window for precise placement of a marker.

Try placing a
Marker using the Spot Dialog Window.

Recalling Memory Locations

When you want to start playback at a Marker, simply click on the Marker and hit the space bar on your computer keyboard. This will start playback right from your Marker location. Remember that you can’t be in Spot Mode for this to happen.

For more information on
Markers, please refer to Pro Tools Reference Guide.

Automation Data

Automation Data is data that automatically controls the parameters of a track. Audio Automation Data controls, volume, pan, mute, and Pro Tool’s plug-in parameters.

Keep your Loop Session open. To view
Automation Data for volume the guitar track, select volume from the track view selector located under the track name in the Edit Window.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.32.28 AM
Selecting the Volume Automation data.

Notice that the track view now changes to show you the
Automation Data for volume.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.32.36 AM
Track view with volume automation data line.

Recording Automation Data

We are now going to record some Automation Data onto a guitar track.

Make sure your Loop session is open and that you are in the
Edit Window.

Make the guitar L track longer by copying and pasting the audio so that you have several audio regions strung together. You should remember how to do this. If not, review the section on editing audio. When you are done, your track should look something like this:

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.33.10 AM
Expanded guitar L part in Loop Session.

I don’t care if the track sounds choppy, if you want to fix it you can. We are now going to record volume automation to the track.

Switch to the
Mix Window view and mute all of the tracks except the Guitar L. Track by selecting the Mute button for each track.

Locate the
Auto Read button in the middle of the Guitar L. track and select Write. This allows us to record volume data. The Auto Write button should now be red and blinking.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.33.20 AM
Selecting auto write for the Guitar L track.

Make sure your
Transport Controls are set to the beginning of the song.

Hit the
space bar to begin playback and then adjust the Channel Fader for the Guitar L track to change the volume. Make large adjustments with the fader so that volume changes are apparent.

When you are done, hit the space bar to stop playback.

auto write back to auto read so that Pro Tools will play back your volume automation.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.33.50 AM Switching back to auto read.

Rewind to the beginning of the song and hit the
space bar to begin playback. Watch and listen to the volume fader (it should be moving up and down with the changes in volume). Very Cool!

Editing Automation Data

Let’s look at our volume automation data in the Edit Window.

Switch to Edit Window view and make sure that you select volume from the Guitar L. track view selector located under the track name in the Edit Window

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.33.58 AM
Selecting Volume View for the guitar track

You should now see your data for the volume automation that you recorded onto the Guitar L. track.

Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.34.27 AM
Volume automation for Guitar L. track.

You can edit
Automation Data using three methods:

    Let’s try editing method #2.

    Make sure that you are in the
    Edit Window and that your Guitar L volume data is showing in the track.

    Select the
    Grabber Tool .

    Find a high volume level on the track, click (your cursor should now be a pointing finger), hold, and pull one of the circles down to change to a lower volume level. You may also have to expand your track and change the size of the data view.

    Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.34.34 AM Changed volume data.

    Experiment with editing the volume data using the
    Grabber Tool. Note, that you can select different editing forms from the Pencil Tool drop down menu.

    To view a brief tutorial on creating Automation Data, click on the following link:

    Clip 13

    Close the Loop session and don’t save any changes. If you did, you can always trash the loop session and copy it to your hard drive again from your course CD.

    Pro Tools Project 14: Volume, Markers, and Muting

    Open the Pro Tools Tango Session (a new session!) located in your PSU Course Projects Folder. Use the Save As… command to save the Pro Tools Tango Session as Project 14.

    Create 3 Markers and label them.

    Mute a region of a track.

    Create volume automation on one of the tracks.

    Don’t post any audio files. Just post the Pro Tools session file. For example, I would send Pfenninger project 14.ptx

    Cleaning up Edited Tracks

    When you have finished editing your tracks, you may want to further clean them up so that they are ready for mixdown. This may include getting rid of noise by adding silence and consolidating each track so that you can reduce the number of edits in a Pro Tool’s Session. The less edits you have in a session, the better your computer will function because it doesn’t have to go searching the hard drive for sound files.

    Strip Silence and Insert Silence

    When you use the Strip Silence command in Pro Tools, the audio data is examined and Pro Tools removes any sections where the amplitude falls below a certain level. It works just like a noise gate.

    Any sound below the threshold is replaced with silence. If you have some ground loop noise or other low level noise on a track, this is a great way to get rid of the noise. If you are great at recording your tracks with no noise, you won’t even have to use this command.

    Insert Silence command in Pro Tools allows you to insert silence into any section of audio or automation data. Both commands can be found in the Edit pull down menu. Make sure that you select and highlight the track or region that you want to work on.

    To learn more about
    Strip Silence and Insert Silence please read the Pro Tools Reference Guide.

    Open up one of the
    Course Projects and experiment with Strip and Insert Silence.

    Consolidating Tracks

    When you have made a lot edits on a track and you are satisfied with your work, your edit Playlist will usually contain many regions and look like the Playlist below:

    Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.35.49 AM
    Guitar Playlist with many edits.

    When you
    consolidate your tracks, you combine multiple regions into a single region. This makes the track easier to work with, easier to mix, and also makes it much easier for your hard drive to process the track.

    When you
    Consolidate an audio track, Pro Tools writes a new audio track that combines all of your selected material into a new audio file that is one continuous track.

    Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.35.58 AM
    Guitar Playlist after consolidation. Notice the new name.

    Open up the
    Loop Session (oh no, not again). Make sure that you don’t save any changes to it, unless you want to. Or you can always use the Save Session as… command so that you don’t overwrite the Loop session. By now, you may want to overwrite it!

    Once the session is open, take one of the guitar tracks and duplicate it so that you have a lot of edits in the tracks Playlist. It may look something like this:

    Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.36.29 AM
    Duplicated guitar track

    Now that we have a lot of edits in the track, we are going to
    Consolidate the track.

    Highlight the
    Selector Tool and then click and drag your mouse across all of the guitar track so that it is highlighted.

    Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.36.37 AM
    Highlighted Guitar Track.

    Once the track is highlighted, go the
    Edit pull down menu and select
    Consolidate Clip. Your guitar track should now look as follows:

    Screen shot 2012-04-21 at 8.37.08 AM
    Consolidated Guitar Track.

    All of the edits have been combined into a single audio file. This will make it much easier for your hard drive to playback the material.

    Close the session without saving your changes. I promise that we won’t be working with the Loop session anymore!

    Recap: Lesson 8

    You should now be more familiar with:

    Creating new regions in Pro Tools
    Cutting Copying, and pasting regions

    Working with groups
    Advanced Pro Tools audio editing
    Locking regions
    Muting regions
    Memory locations and Markers
    Editing Automation data
    Strip Silence
    Insert Silence
    Consolidating Tracks.

    Next Lesson: Using MIDI in Pro Tools.

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