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Navigating with key commands

From: Music Editing for TV and Film in Pro Tools

Video: Navigating with key commands

So now that we're comfortable with the different zoom and view commands in Pro Tools and we've also seen the edit modes, let's go over a little bit of navigating within Pro Tools. Now the most common way to do this is to use the mouse, and you can always click exactly where you want to place your cursor and make a selection exactly where you want to select. But there are several very handy quick keys in Pro Tools that allow you to do many powerful edits and many quick maneuvers without having to use the mouse. Those are something that will save you a lot of time in your projects, so let's go over some of those.

Navigating with key commands

So now that we're comfortable with the different zoom and view commands in Pro Tools and we've also seen the edit modes, let's go over a little bit of navigating within Pro Tools. Now the most common way to do this is to use the mouse, and you can always click exactly where you want to place your cursor and make a selection exactly where you want to select. But there are several very handy quick keys in Pro Tools that allow you to do many powerful edits and many quick maneuvers without having to use the mouse. Those are something that will save you a lot of time in your projects, so let's go over some of those.

The first thing we want to do is make sure that Command Focus is enabled. So if you look at the top right-hand corner of your Edit window, you'll see the yellow AZ button, which means that Command Focus is enabled and all of your single key commands will work. The first key command I want to show you is the key command that allows you to move your selection up to the next track above the current selection. You can do this using the P key with Command Focus enabled. So by pressing the P key, you can see that my selection moves up to the track above it. Similarly, if you use the semicolon key, which is directly below the P key on the keyboard, you will move your selection down a track.

By holding the Shift key with either of these, I can select the next track up or down, but also keep my current selection. So if I wanted to select the track above the track that I have selected, I can hold Shift and press P and now they're both selected. If I wanted to add the track below to my selection, I can hold Shift and press semicolon and now all three are selected. Similar to the up and down selections, there is also a quick key for moving left and moving right. So let's click our cursor on the audio track from the ELI clip.

If I wanted to move my cursor to the left side of that region, I can do so using the L key with Command Focus enabled. Similarly, if I want to move my cursor to the right side of a region, I can use the apostrophe, or single quote, key. Just like we could do moving up and down and maintaining our selection, we can also do moving left and right. So let's click again on the ELI audio file, somewhere in the middle. If I wanted to make a selection from my cursor to the beginning of this region, I can hold the Shift key and press the L key, and it's going to move the cursor to the left, but maintain the selection from everything in between.

Let's click again on the ELI audio track, somewhere in the middle. And if I wanted to do the same thing but select to the end, I would hold the Shift key and press the apostrophe, or single quote, key. Now, there are several other ways to move left and right within tracks, and these, in my opinion, are one of the most powerful editing features in Pro Tools. So essentially, what we've just seen with L and the single quote, or apostrophe, key can be done using combinations of the Tab key. So the most common use of the Tab key is to move from one end of a region to the next edit within a region, to the end of the region, and so forth.

So let's click to the left of the ELI region on the ELI_Clip 1 audio track and press the Tab key. You'll see that the cursor jumps to the beginning of that region. If you press the Tab key again, you'll see that it jumps to the end of the region. Now, if I want to jump back to the beginning of the region, I can press the Option key and tab again, and it's going to move backwards. So to move forwards, we press Tab; to move backwards, we press Option+Tab. If we want to make a selection and also retain our start position, just like we did using the L and apostrophe, or single quote keys, we can hold Shift.

So if I press Shift+Tab, it's going to jump to the end of this region and also maintain the selection from where my cursor is currently. So now let's make a selection in the middle of that clip again, and let's go back to the beginning. And just like Option+Tab will move us forward, Shift+Option+Tab will move us forward and make a selection. Now, a third thing that you can do with the Tab keys that's very, very useful involves the Ctrl key. So let's click again to the left of the region and press Ctrl+Tab.

What this will do is jump to the next region and select it. If we want to do the same thing in reverse, let's click after the region, and press Ctrl+Option+Tab and it's going to jump backwards using Option+Tab, and Ctrl will make it select the previous region. So these are some very handy ways to quickly select regions within a session. You can use this to copy, move, cut--any number of editorial uses. So, for example, if I wanted to make this selection on multiple tracks and perhaps I also wanted to select to the end of this track, I could use the Shift key, and the apostrophe, or single quote, key, or Shift+Tab, and it will keep my current selection and also move to the end of that track that I have selected.

So I'm going to zoom back out to see exactly what my selection is, using Option+F or Alt+F. Now, we can click somewhere else in the session. Let's look at this audio file here. I'm just going to click somewhere in the middle of it. And I wanted to show you one other use of tabbing in Pro Tools. So right now we're using tabbing without Tab to Transient enabled. You may have noticed in your session, if you're using a different copy of the session than our example materials, that it's behaving differently. If so, that's because you have Tab to Transient enabled, which is this button right here underneath the tool selection.

If it's blue, it's enabled. You can also enable or disable it with the key command Command+Option+Tab on a Mac, or Ctrl+Alt+Tab on a PC. So let's enable Tab to Transient and we can see what this does. First thing we should do is zoom in a little, so we can really see clearly what's going to happen. So let's use the zoom level 4 by pressing 4. When you press the Tab key, you will now see that when you move forward, instead of moving to the end of a region, it's going to move to the next transient after your cursor's location.

If we press Tab again, it's going to continue doing this through the audio file. Just like moving from the end to the beginning of a region, Option+Tab will move you backwards. Shift+Tab will move you forward with the selection; Shift+Option+Tab will move you backwards with the selection. So these are common themes in Pro Tools, and they actually function with other key commands as well-- very, very handy stuff to know. So one quick practical example of this is perhaps I want to copy the selection that I've made and move it onto the track below.

We can copy with Command+C or Ctrl+C-- or simply C if you have Command Focus enabled--move our selection down to the track below with the semicolon key, and paste with Command+V, or Ctrl+V--or simply V if you have Command Focus enabled. So now you can see one quick application of using these tools to navigate and edit more quickly. So let's undo that: Command+Z or Ctrl+Z or just the Z key. And I'm going to disable Tab to Transient now by either clicking on the button or by pressing Command+Option+Tab or Ctrl+Alt+Tab.

So we've already seen that you can copy and paste without using Command or Ctrl, which is a unique feature in Pro Tools, and very time saving. Another thing that you can do along those lines is cut. So let's move our selection back up with the P key. If I wanted to cut this selection out, I can simply press X. As long as Command Focus is enabled, I don't need to also hold Command or Ctrl. I'm going to undo that, get us back to normal, and I'm going to press Option+A or Alt+A to zoom out and view my whole session. Basically, the purpose of these tools is to develop a facility with moving around the Edit window and selecting regions without using the mouse.

So feel free to try these out on your own and become comfortable with them, as they will make all of your editing tasks much easier.

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This video is part of

Image for Music Editing for TV and Film in Pro Tools
Music Editing for TV and Film in Pro Tools

35 video lessons · 3104 viewers

Skye Lewin
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 49s
    1. Welcome
      52s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 32s
    3. A word about the film and music used in this course
      25s
  2. 25m 4s
    1. Creating a template session for working to picture
      7m 29s
    2. Importing a picture file
      3m 17s
    3. What is time code?
      4m 17s
    4. Syncing picture to Pro Tools
      6m 58s
    5. Importing audio files
      3m 3s
  3. 48m 36s
    1. Using the Zoom and View commands
      9m 54s
    2. Utilizing the edit modes
      7m 59s
    3. Navigating with key commands
      7m 57s
    4. Creating and using sync points
      3m 20s
    5. Using the snap editing commands
      5m 16s
    6. Using memory locations
      8m 12s
    7. Customizing crossfades
      5m 58s
  4. 1h 11m
    1. Auditioning music to picture
      10m 21s
    2. Editing to acquire multiple sync points within the same "cue"
      6m 2s
    3. Editing to maintain or change the arc/build of the cue to fit the scene
      15m 11s
    4. Editing the start and end of the cue
      9m 55s
    5. Setting up for a 30-second condensed edit
      4m 5s
    6. First pass of a 30-second condensed edit
      11m 17s
    7. Improving the 30-second condensed edit
      14m 41s
  5. 26m 49s
    1. Exploring alternate edits of the same song
      8m 17s
    2. Editing different songs to the same scene
      18m 32s
  6. 11m 25s
    1. Mixing the edit
      5m 26s
    2. Bouncing down the edit
      2m 47s
    3. Compressing the QuickTime files
      3m 12s
  7. 12m 19s
    1. Conforming the edit to picture if the scene has shifted
      5m 27s
    2. Conforming the edit if a shot's length changes within the scene
      6m 52s
  8. 10m 34s
    1. Removing profanities by reversing audio
      2m 8s
    2. Removing profanities with instrumentals
      2m 36s
    3. Keeping a song in sequence
      1m 19s
    4. Layering audio
      1m 36s
    5. Time stretching
      2m 55s
  9. 38s
    1. Goodbye
      38s

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