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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.
Creating a composite track--otherwise known as a comp--where you edit together the best parts of several takes into one master take is a quick process using playlists in Pro Tools. Let's take a look at this session. I have got two guitar tracks up here that are playing cords, I have got a lead guitar track here, and then I've got three recorded playlists of a harmony guitar track. We know that these are on playlists, because we're looking at the Playlist Track view.
So to get a handle on starting to edit these, I want to actually loop the playback, so I can hear each one of them. So I am going to go over to the Play button, right-click, choose Loop. Then I am going to double-click this with the selector to highlight this whole region. As I start playing this back, I can hit these Solo buttons, and that will switch over the playlist from the original to these sub-playlists. Another way to make that happen is to actually click in the playlist and hit Shift+S, and that'll turn on the Solo button.
So first, I am going to start with the original playlist. Then I am going to go down to this one, and this one, all during loop playback. (Music playing.) So I've got pieces from each playlist that I want to edit together into the master comp track.
So how do we do that? First, I am going to go up here to the Playlist menu, and create a duplicate, and name this "Harm COMP." What happens is the original Harm101 gets moved down, and we have a duplicate of that playlist here, and that's going to be the beginning of our comp track. And this piece right here, I want to keep from the Harm101 track.
Now, I want to move these other edits up into the comp track. There's a really easy way to do that. You can hit this Copy Selection To Main Playlist button. That automatically pushes that piece of audio up into the comp. I want to get this section too. And instead of having to go all the way over to this button, we can right-click and say, Copy Selection To Main Playlist, and that'll push it up there. To finish this, we will do the same here, and now we have a comp track.
There is one more feature that I am going to tell you about that might help you build comps, especially if you're working with a lot of playlists and you get kind of confused about which performances are best. You can use ratings of each of the regions to help you remember which ones are good. If we go to View > Region > Ratings, we can see the ratings for every region in the session. With this region highlighted, we can choose Region > Rating and give it a 5, or we can double-click the region to select it, and then right-click.
If we go down to the bottom, we can choose the rating. What might be easier and even more efficient is to rate the regions while it's playing back a recording. To do that, you can use all three of the main modifiers and press 1 through 5. So on a Mac, that would be Command+Option+ Ctrl and on a PC, that would be Ctrl+Alt+Start. Then if you really want to get fancy, you can right-click the track name and filter out any lanes that you don't want.
So we can filter out everything except the 5s. Filter Lanes > Show Only Lanes With > Regions Rated with a 5. So it filtered out all of the playlists that didn't have any regions that were rated with 5s, and this can really help you filter your playlists, so you can find the best performances. I find this comping process to be pretty slick. Recording to and editing with playlists are part of my usual music production technique, and I strongly encourage you to add these features to your production arsenal as well.
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