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Pro Tools 10 Essential Training with musician and producer David Franz illuminates the process of recording, editing, mixing, and mastering in Avid Pro Tools, the industry-standard software for music and postproduction. The course covers recording live audio and adding effects on the fly, creating music with virtual instruments and plug-ins, editing for time and pitch manipulation, creating a musical score, and mixing and mastering a track.
There's very little that you can't do while editing audio in Pro Tools. Here we'll talk about some of the most basic editing tasks, separating, cutting, copying, pasting, clearing, duplicating, moving and nudging audio clips. First let's talk about separating an audio clip. Separating means to chop a clip into two pieces or to create a separate clip within a clip. Let me show you how to do it. I am going to start with the Selector tool and I am just going to place the cursor right here in the middle of this region. Now I am going to go up to the Edit menu and choose Separate Clip > At Selection.
When I do that, you'll notice that Pro Tools has split this big clip into two separate clips. I like to use key commands for this specific command, so Command+E on a Mac, or Ctrl+E in Windows is the separate clip command. And as you can imagine, you can also do a selection, so I am going to click and drag here, and if I want to make this a new clip, all I got to do is hit my Command+E or Ctrl+E, and Pro Tools will create this new clip.
Cutting, copying, pasting and clearing in Pro Tools is just like doing any of those actions in any other software program, except here that we are working with audio clips. So up in the Edit window that's where these live, Cut, Copy, Paste and Clear, and because we have this clip highlighted, if I choose Cut, it just cuts it out of there. I can go back up here and paste it back in, and as you can imagine there are key commands for this, the standard Command+X or Ctrl+X, Command+C or Ctrl+C, Command+V or Ctrl+V, and Command+B or Ctrl+B, depending on whether you are using a Mac or a Windows machine.
Now I want to talk about master views here for a second. On an audio track, let's look at the track views. Waveform and Blocks view are considered master views. If you edit a clip in one of those two views, the edits apply to all data on the track, including automation. For example, if you clear a part of a waveform in a clip, the underlying volume data will also be cleared. Let me show you that. So I am going to select this area here, and you'll notice that this waveform has some volume automation down here.
If I go up here and choose Clear, the volume automation is also gone, as well as the waveform. If I undo that, and then simply select the automation and choose Clear, the waveform still exists, however the automation has gone. So the master views on an audio track are waveform and blocks, blocks looks like this. I rarely use this master view, but it's here if you like it.
Let's go back to the waveform view, and on MIDI and instrument tracks, the master views are clips, notes and blocks. So any edits you do to the clips, notes or blocks view on a MIDI track or instrument track will affect all of the other automation and controller data. And one more quick word about editing automation. In addition to the regular cut, copy, paste and clear commands, Pro Tools has Cut Special, Copy Special, Paste Special and Clear Special commands that help in editing automation playlists like volume, mute, pan and plug-in automation, as well as MIDI controller data.
Now we're actually going to cover these in a later video about editing automation. So let's get back to editing audio clips now. Let's talk about moving an audio clip. So I am going to choose a Grabber tool, and really the easiest way is to use the Grabber tool, and simply click and drag it. Now you'll notice that the MIDI region up here is also moving and that's because we've got these grouped, these two tracks are in the same group. I am going to go ahead and undo that. And now I want talk about and nudging.
Nudging is a great feature if you want to line up a stray bass note with a kick drum note for solid downbeat, or in this case, I'm going to align a downbeat of a sitar track with the piano. And let's zoom in and check out what we are looking at here. So we have this sitar track, and you will see this note is a little bit late in comparison to the grid, and so what I want to do is move this note so that it lines up with the grid and with the piano at this point.
So I am going to go to the Grabber tool here, and select this clip, and now I want to check on my Nudge value. So I can go up here and look that we have it set at 10 ms. This is my favorite value for nudging, because it's not too small, like 1 ms is really small, and then these higher ones are a little bit too big and make for more drastic changes. You can also use bars and beats, and any of these other timescales, but I find that minutes and seconds are the best.
So let's use this 10 ms, and now we'll use some key commands to nudge this forward and back, so that we can align this note better to the grid and align it with the piano. So if you have a numerical keypad you can press the Plus button to nudge it forward, or the Minus button to nudge it backwards. So here I am hitting the Plus button and it's moving it forward in time, and the Minus button is moving it back in time. Now if you have a laptop without a numerical keypad, you can press Ctrl+Period or Ctrl+Comma on a Mac, or you can use Start+Period or Start+Comma on a Windows computer to use the nudge function.
So now I have got this sitar track aligned with the grid and with the piano part, but there's one thing I want to mention about nudging, be careful when using this technique, because you can kind of go crazy trying to align every single note, killing way too much time while you're doing it, and taking away from the real performance of the part. My suggestion is, if the part needs that much fixing where you are nudging stuff all over the place, you might want to consider rerecording it. So as you can see here, editing audio in Pro Tools, using these commands, is pretty straightforward and you can apply your knowledge of almost any other software program you know to the intuitive editing techniques here.
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