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Pro Tools 9 Essential Training with musician and producer David Franz demonstrates concepts and techniques necessary for recording, editing, mixing, and mastering in the industry-standard software for music and post-production. The course covers creating music with virtual instruments and plugins, editing with elastic audio for time and pitch manipulation, creating a musical score, and mixing with effects loops. Exercise files accompany the course.
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 regions. First, let's talk about separating an audio region. Separating means to chop a region into two pieces, or to create a separate region within a region. Let me show you how to do this. I am going to drop the cursor in right there with the Selector tool and then choose from the Edit menu > Separate Region > At Selection. Pro Tools just made two new regions out of one.
You can use a key command for this you can use Command+E on a Mac or Ctrl+E in windows. So to use that keyboard shortcut, I'll just do that right there. If we click and drag with the selector to highlight some area, we can also separate it immediately by hitting the key command. Cutting, copying, pasting, and clearing in Pro Tools is just like doing those actions in any other software program, except that here we're working with audio regions. With this highlighted here, I can go to the Edit menu and choose Cut, and that will get rid of those regions.
If I don't move anything and choose Paste, it will paste it right back. As you can see here in the Edit menu, we've got the standardized key commands. So on a Mac, we've got Command+X for cut, Command+C for copy, Command+V for paste and Command+B for clear, and likewise in a Windows machine, it's Ctrl+X, for cut, Ctrl+C for copy, Ctrl+V for paste and Ctrl+B for clear. Now I want to take a minute and talk about Master views.
On an audio track, the Waveform view as we see here or the Blocks view are considered master views. If you edit a region on one of these two views, that edits apply to all data on that track, including automation. So, for example, if you clear part of the waveform on this track, the underlying volume automation will be cleared as well. However, if you go down here and select the automation data and clear that, the audio doesn't move; the audio still remains.
So the master views on an audio track are waveform of blocks, and on a MIDI, or instrument track they are regions, notes, and blocks. So any edits you do to the Regions, Notes or Blocks view on a MIDI or instrument track will affect all of the underline automation and control our data on that track. 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 in the Edit menu, that help with editing automation play lists, like volume, mute, pan, and plug-in automation.
You can see those here. We'll actually cover those in the chapter on automation. Now let's get back to editing audio regions. To move a region in time, the easiest way is to select the grabber and click and move it. Now, you will notice that these two tracks are grouped together, so that's why both are selected, and both are moving at the same time. Similar to just clicking and dragging to move a region, I want to show you about how to nudge a region.
This is a great feature if you want a lineup or stray bass note with the kick drum note for a solid downbeat. Or, in this case, I'm going to align the downbeat of the sitar track with the piano. So first, I am going to zoom in here. And you can see down here that the sitar downbeat is not in line with the grid, nor with this downbeat on the piano. So here's what I am going to do. I'm going to select the grabber and then highlight this track, and I'm going to start nudging it. Before I do that, I'm going to look at the Nudge value, and up here we can see that it's set at 10 ms. That's actually my favorite Nudge value because it's not too big but definitely not too small.
It makes a difference when you do it. You can obviously choose larger or smaller values, and you can choose ones that are tied to the bars and beats as well. But I actually like minutes and seconds 10ms is a great value. We can use key commands for nudging. You can use plus and minus on your numeric keypad to nudge forward and backwards. So watch this sitar track as I nudge it. If you don't have a numerical keypad, you can go up to the Commands keyboard focus, activate that, and then uses the Period and Comma buttons to nudge back and forth.
Now one thing that I want to mention about nudging is that you should be careful using this technique, because you can't go crazy trying to align every single note, killing way too much time and also taking away from the real performance of the part. My suggestion is if the part needs a ton of nudging just to fix it, you might want to consider just rerecording the track. 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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