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Pro Tools – Shortcut of the Week (2009.07.13)

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Pro Tools is a strong multi-track editing program, but unless you’re willing to drop some change on a custom keyboard, it can be tough to learn all the keyboard shortcuts.  I’m featuring one a week in an attempt to highlight the tricks I find most useful.

Import Session Data: Shift+Option+I

When I’m doing a session with multiple songs for a group, I try to keep each song in its own session.  This always makes the edit and mix stages of the process much simpler.  After the first song I’ll create a new session and import the settings from the first song.  This shortcut makes things a bit easier.

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Written by jeffvautin

2009.07.13 at 9:00 am

Posted in Pro Tools

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Pro Tools – Shortcut of the Week (2009.07.06)

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Pro Tools is a strong multi-track editing program, but unless you’re willing to drop some change on a custom keyboard, it can be tough to learn all the keyboard shortcuts.  I’m featuring one a week in an attempt to highlight the tricks I find most useful.

Loop Record: Option+L

Prior to Pro Tools version 8, I never found Loop Record to be that useful.  There were two distinct work flows for handling multiple takes: Loop Record, which created multiple regions stacked on top of each other, and playlists, which did not allow for loop recording but allowed you to flip between takes easily.  I preferred playlists, because of the simplicity of the visual management.  When a performer messed up a take, you could stop it and start back at the top without waiting for the loop.

With Pro Tools 8, you can configure your preferences to create a new playlist with every loop of the recording (“Automatically create new playlists when loop recording”).  With this option, loop recording is suddenly of use to me.  I can set up a performer to give me three takes back to back, letting them get into it and giving me consistent performances to comp between.

Written by jeffvautin

2009.07.06 at 9:00 am

Posted in Pro Tools

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Pro Tools – Shortcut of the Week (2009.06.29)

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Pro Tools is a strong multi-track editing program, but unless you’re willing to drop some change on a custom keyboard, it can be tough to learn all the keyboard shortcuts.  I’m featuring one a week in an attempt to highlight the tricks I find most useful.

Half-Speed Playback: Shift+Spacebar

Half-Speed Record: Command+Shift+Spacebar

Half speed playback mode is very, very useful to me when I’m trying to figure out timing issues.  Often I will hear something that seems off, but I can’t quite put my finger on the issue.  Half-speed playback usually makes it too apparent that the kick drum is lagging, or that it’s actually the guitar hitting late.

Half speed record is a different beast.  I haven’t used it much, for the same reason I’m so interested in it.  Recording a passage at half-speed, though it may be easier on the performer, results in audio playback one octave higher than recorded.  This isn’t useful for all music, but sometimes may help you get just the sound you need for that odd passage.  An example of this are some of the drums on Jimmy Eat World’s Clarity.  One suggestion would be to try playing a passage down an octave, but recording it at half speed.  The music will end up in the intended range, but won’t sound completely natural.  Try it and see!

Written by jeffvautin

2009.06.29 at 11:54 pm

Pro Tools – Shortcut of the Week (2009.06.22)

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Pro Tools is a strong multi-track editing program, but unless you’re willing to drop some change on a custom keyboard, it can be tough to learn all the keyboard shortcuts.  I’m featuring one a week in an attempt to highlight the tricks I find most useful.

Fine Tune (Fine Adjust Mode):  Command+Click

Quick tip this week: this is a really useful mode if you find yourself mixing with a mouse.  If you’re adjusting faders, plug-ins, or automation parameters it can save you some real headaches.  Fine Tune mode makes the mouse a lot less sensitivity, so that you can control the parameter much more precisely.

Written by jeffvautin

2009.06.22 at 4:00 am

Posted in Pro Tools

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Pro Tools – Shortcut of the Week (2009.06.15)

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Pro Tools is a strong multi-track editing program, but unless you’re willing to drop some change on a custom keyboard, it can be tough to learn all the keyboard shortcuts.  I’m featuring one a week in an attempt to highlight the tricks I find most useful.

Shuffle Mode:  Option+1

Slip Mode:  Option+2

Spot Mode:  Option+3

Grid Mode:  Option+4

Hot keys to flip between the four edit modes of Pro Tools.  I find that it’s rare I’m flipping between modes in a given session – usually the structure of the session dictates which edit mode I use.  Regardless, when I go to get started I’m almost always in the wrong edit mode.

Shuffle mode is useful for “shuffling” the order of regions in a file.  The best example would be rearranging the order of bars in a track, or the structure of the song.  When you drag a region it will latch to the beginning/end of whatever region you drop it near, and everything will slide to fill the gap it left behind.

Slip mode is completely free-form.  If I’m working in a session that was recorded without a click or bar:beat references, editing between takes, this is the only way to work.  Moving one region has no impact on the location of other regions – anything you cover is covered, and holes may be left in the playlist.

Spot mode allows you to specify the precise location of a region through the use of a dialog box (as opposed to using the mouse).

Grid mode latches the region you’re moving to the bar:beat references of the session.  This is primarily useful if you have a session that is well marked, and that was recorded to the grid or that has had a grid built around the recording.

Written by jeffvautin

2009.06.15 at 9:00 am

Posted in Pro Tools

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Pro Tools – Shortcut of the Week (2009.06.08)

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Pro Tools is a strong multi-track editing program, but unless you’re willing to drop some change on a custom keyboard, it can be tough to learn all the keyboard shortcuts.  I’m featuring one a week in an attempt to highlight the tricks I find most useful.

Bounce to Disk:  Command + Option + B

There’s a debate with Pro Tools about the quality of the summing bus – many people claim to prefer the sound of summing through an Aux channel over the Bounce to Disk tool.  When I’ve finished a mix I usually record the mix onto a separate channel, but before that point I find myself using Bounce to Disk quite a bit.  I probably use it most when playing out takes for an artist, for take selection.  If I have a lot of takes to work through, clicking File->Bounce->Bounce to Disk gets tedious.  This shortcut is a huge time saver when I’m working in this mode.

Written by jeffvautin

2009.06.08 at 9:00 am

Posted in Pro Tools

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Pro Tools – Shortcut of the Week (2009.06.01)

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Pro Tools is a strong multi-track editing program, but unless you’re willing to drop some change on a custom keyboard, it can be tough to learn all the keyboard shortcuts.  I’m featuring one a week in an attempt to highlight the tricks I find most useful.

Zoomer Tool:  Command+1

Trimmer Tool:  Command+2

Selector Tool:  Command+3

Grabber Tool:  Command+4

Scrubber Tool:  Command+5

Pencil Tool:  Command+6

Smart Tool:  Command+7

Seven shortcuts!?!  While normally I think that this would be too many to digest in one shot, it wouldn’t make any sense to list these separately.  These tools are lined up across the toolbar in the order above, with the exception of the Smart Tool.  I think it would be harder to remember the shortcuts above if you didn’t see them in one place.

The Smart Tool is actually sitting under the Trimmer/Selector/Grabber tools, but I think it’s easy enough to remember that as command+7 – we read left to right, top to bottom.

So why bother with these shortcuts?  Why not just use the Smart Tool all the time?  I’m just making the transition away from the Smart Tool myself.  The Smart Tool is easy – no need to remember which tool does what, but it also doesn’t have much depth.  Among other behaviors, command-clicking changes functions with each tool.  This means more control with fewer wrist movements, and that’s the main purpose of shortcuts, right?

Note: You can also use the F5 through F10 keys to access the six individual tools, but I work on laptop keyboard primarily.  The function keys are all dedicated to other tasks, and I’m happy with this setup right now.

Written by jeffvautin

2009.06.01 at 9:00 am

Posted in Pro Tools

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