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Let music editor and producer Skye Lewin show you a selection of audio editing techniques for cutting music to picture in this course on Pro Tools. He covers the basics of timecode, syncing a QuickTime movie with the Pro Tools timeline, alignment of music to picture, editing music, and editorial techniques that may require editing rights. The course also covers creating alternative edits, conforming edits, and exporting QuickTime movies for presentation.
Now that we're getting ready to edit, the first thing we want to do is get familiar with the piece of music that we're going to be cutting. So we're going to start with this song Leebock 2 by Simon Hunter, and it's selected on our Edit 1 track. So I'm going to zoom-toggle in, make the bigger, so I can see the whole thing. If you have the exercise files, you may want to pause this video and just have a listen to the track to familiarize yourself with the musical material. So let's zoom in, and we're going to just spot-check a couple of things. So, let's listen to the beginning of the song. (music playing) (Male speaker: Man down.) Okay, I'm going to solo this so we can just listen to the music right now.
It's kind of a cool start. And here, you can see where the beat picks up. We've already made our sync point marker there; let's listen to that. (music playing) It sounds like that loops a couple times, so that may be a really great intro to our edit. Let's listen here right before the bigger part that the beat comes in. (music playing) Cool! So, part of what we're going to do now is just get familiar with these clips and kind of decide where against the picture we might want to use each section.
So, first thing that we might want to do is choose the first spot that we're going to look at. So, I think a good spot start is to use our Door Open marker, which you will recall with .1. on the numeric keypad. And let's find a piece of music to align there. (music playing) This is probably not quite energetic enough for that moment, so let's look at the first big downbeat here-- it's a little bit later in the music-- and see about lining made up on that cut. So there are of ways we could this. One would be to zoom in, find very beginning of that transient, and put a new sync point there, Command+Comma or Ctrl+Comma.
The other way to do it would be to cut the region using the Command+E or Ctrl+E key command or just the B key with Command Focus enabled, and then you could snap the beginning of the region or the sync point, whichever you chose to do, to the Door Open point. So for now, let's undo that. We use the sync point, relocate to the Door Open, and Shift+Ctrl+Click the audio file to snap the sync point to our Door Open marker. And now, let's just watch right before that to see what this looks like. (music playing) Cool! So that's a little more like the right energy for that part of the edit.
So, let's watch a little further in this video. This time I'm going to mute the music and just listen to the sound, and we're going to determine another place where we might want another change in the music. So we've already kind of seen the run down the stairwell. Let's pick it up from there. (video playing) (Male Speaker: Look out!) So we may want to make some change in the music happen when the main character breaks through that door at the bottom of the stairwell.
So, perhaps this section here might work. Let's audition it. I'm going to unmute it and solo it again. By the way, a nice quick key command for doing this in Pro Tools 9 is Shift+M to mute or unmute and Shift+S to solo or unsolo. So that's one of the quick keys that I'm going to be using as we move forward. (music playing) So that break might be perfect to place on the cut to the main character coming through the door at the bottom of stairwell. So now, let's put a sync point on this change and see what it looks like when we align the music to that next cut. So let's find that downbeat.
(music playing) We can see it's right here. You can scrub, which is a really handy tool. There is actually a Scrub tool you can access using the F9 key, or you can also Ctrl+Click with the Smart tool and move the mouse. So we can listen to find the beginning of a region that way. So here, we can see it as well; the waveform make it clear. We'll find a zero crossing, which is where the waveform crosses the zero point-- the most natural place to make and edit.
So whenever possible, that's what we'll try and to do. And we'll make a sync point--again Command+Comma or Ctrl+Comma, and we'll zoom back out. And the next thing we'll do is we'll marker on the cut to that door. So let's find it, and we'll nudge one frame at a time until we get right on the cut, create a new marker with Enter, and we'll call this Floor 3 Door Open. And it's just a marker. We can uncheck Zoom and Track Show/Hide because we just want the location for now. So now, let's sync this using our Shift+Ctrl key command and clicking the audio file so that the sync point snaps to that marker, and let's watch and see what that looks like.
(music playing) Let's hear it once with the production audio in there as well, so we can here how they sound together. (music playing) Cool! This is going to work. Let's look at one more sync point, and then we can move on and start editing these together.
So let's watch the video a little further and see where the next point we might want to hit musically might be. So again, I'm going to mute the music track. (video playing) (Male speaker: There he is!) Cool! So there is any number of points in there that we could choose to sync our music with, and it oftentimes just depends on which piece of music may play best for a given song, because one song may play very well-- they hit a certain cut--and another song may not-- they may play better to hit the next cut or the cut before.
So for now let's pick one and just see what it looks like, with the theory that we may move forward incorporating that into our edit. Let's look at the scene where Eli tries to enter a room but finds the door locked. (video playing) So let's find the section of this song that might work well for that. So I'm going to unmute and solo this again, and let's listen a little later and see what else we have. (music playing) That's kind of like the break we used earlier, so maybe we'll look for something different than that.
(music playing) But I do like the change in this section of the music, so what we will probably do is use that later on by pulling that up earlier in the edit so that the song develops in a shorter period of time. Let's look at this next break and see what this does. (music playing) That's good. Again, let's look at the end here. (music playing) Okay.
So this may not be the right spot to go on the door, but this does give me another idea, so let's go with that. We're going to take the end here, find the downbeat in the start of this section, which is somewhere in here. We can scrub it if we want using Ctrl and moving the mouse. So we know right here is the beginning of that section. And we'll find the zero crossing by zooming in, placing the cursor off the grid by Command+Clicking or Start+ Clicking, place our cursor, and add a sync point.
Let's zoom out, and where I'm thinking this might be a good fit is near the end of this scene where Eli is in the room and closes with the door behind him. So let's take a look at that and see where this might go well. Here we go. So he is going into the room here. Mute the music. (video playing) So perhaps we want to put this on the door-close. Let's see what that looks like. So let's find the door-close.
So in there, you can see the audio from the production track. This must be the sound from that door closing. Let's zoom out, and we can make a marker if we want, or we don't have to. In this case, we can case, now that our cursor is there, simply snap our audio so that the sync point moves to that location. I am going to zoom out again, just to make sure I have enough space before this file to do that, and I actually don't. So if I wanted to do this preview, and I try to do what we were about to do, it wouldn't be able to move far enough to the left before it hit the beginning of the session.
So in order to preview this, I'm going to cut the beginning of this audio file off for now. We can always get it back later. And a handy key command in Pro Tools for cutting the beginning of the file is just pressing the A key. As long as you're in Command Focus mode, pressing the A key is going to remove anything to the left of your cursor. So let's do that: leave our cursor where it is, and Shift+Ctrl+Click the audio file to snap it into place. And I will zoom in and just take a little preview of this. (video playing) (Male speaker: There he is!) Cool! So that could work, and another place that might work is on this spot where the broom gets put through the door.
So let's find a good spot here--probably right at the end when the broom stops moving. We can kind of scrub with the mouse to see the picture and find a good spot that looks natural to stop. When you find the place you're happy with, again Shift+Ctrl+Click our region to snap our sync point into place, and let's take a look at that. (video playing) Cool! I think my spot was a little late, so let's look at that one more time. I am going to try and put it right where he stops moving the broom, so right there. We'll do that one more time and take another look.
(video playing) Cool! So either of those could be good placements. So essentially, what we've been doing now is previewing, or auditioning, different sections of the music with different parts of the picture and deciding what might work well in different places, and that's really the first step we're going to take in any edit. The next step will be to tie them all together.
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