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When you create a new session file, Pro Tools actually creates an entire folder that contains many subfolders that hold all of the files related to the session. So I am going to hide Pro Tools and look at this new session folder. Here it is, the new session folder. And here are all the contents, Audio Files, Clip Groups, New Session, Session File Backups, Video Files and the WaveCache. The new session.ptx file is the session file.
That stores all the session data but it does not store audio or video. It only points to the audio and video files on your hard drive. The audio files are kept in a separate Audio Files folder. This is very important to understand, they are not part of the session. They exist separately in this folder and the session file simply references back to them and tells the hard drive what parts of the files to playback. The same goes for Video Files.
And I'll discuss Clip Groups in another video. The Waveform Cache file stores all of the waveform display data for the session. This allows Pro Tools to open more quickly. If you delete this file, Pro Tools can just rebuild it. When you activate the Auto Backup preference, in the Operations preference page in Pro Tools, Pro Tools creates backup copies of your session automatically. Those backups are stored in the Session File Backups folder. Now there are two things that you should know by seeing the session folder setup here.
First, when you record audio, import video, etcetera, those files are created in a nonlinear fashion. They're not all in a row, like they would be, if you're recording to an analog tape. For instance, you can record audio files to multiple different hard drives, and Pro Tools can still pull all of those various files together and play tiny little pieces of them in the session, and play them all back at once or in succession. Second, it's important to understand that editing an audio file in Pro Tools is nondestructive.
Because the audio files are separate from the Pro Tools session, almost anything you do to the audio file in the session will not harm the original audio file. So now you know that a Pro Tools session actually pulls data from multiple sources, all contained in separate files and folders within the overall session folder. I recommend keeping them all together within the session folder, so that Pro Tools can find them easily.
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