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In this course, professional audio engineer Scott Hirsch shows how to create an evocative sound mix for a film or video, built from basic audio collected during the shoot and transformed into a final mix using Pro Tools 9. This course shows how to set up and optimize a Pro Tools session template for projects with unique requirements, record Foley and ADR audio, layer sound effects, perform corrections such as noise reduction and pitch shifting, mix for stereo and 5.1 surround sound, and finally, how to format and deliver the finalized mix, whether destined for DVD, movie theater, broadcast, or the web.
In this movie we'll get started on a few ideas on how to generate our own sound effects to create evocative and dramatic soundtracks. One way of generating sound effects is to start with a conventional sound already being used in the session as a catalyst to create a new sound. The benefits of this is that the introduction of a new tone, or sound, is rooted in the sound of the scene, so it's not too foreign, or out of place. Here we have a transition that goes from motorcycle race into a hospital, then into a lake. It's kind of a dreamy sequence, and we want to have an ominous tone run throughout to bridge the three scenes.
We're going to use the background ambience that's already laid in to stimulate a heavy reverb, and we're going to print that reverb return effect back into Pro Tools. The result will be an ominous sound effect that carries the scene. So let's listen to the scene without any effects. We're going to be just hearing the ambience now. (ambient sounds) (people shuffling and talking) (water splashing and birds chirping) So as you can see, those ambiences work really well.
But here we're going to actually tap into them and make them generate reverb that will give us a more ominous tone that bridges the transition. So let's add three sends on our three FX tracks. Let's go over to the Mix window, Command+Equal or Ctrl+Equal, and on our three FX tracks, FXA1, FXA2, and FXA3, we're going to create a send. Start with FXA1, and we're going to put this send on a bus, and the bus will return to our VERB1 track.
VERB1 is an aux track that's over here on the far right. So we're sending A1 over a bus and returning it on VERB1, the aux track. Now on this send, which showed up as a pop-up send here, we're going to select PRE fader. That means that this send level won't be influenced by the volume control on the track; it'll have its own independent level. And we're actually going to copy the same send to the other two tracks. To do that, you can hold Option or Alt and just simply drag the send over to the other two tracks.
Another way to view the send in the Mix window is to go up to View > Sends A-E, and show just that send. That way we get a little mini fader in each of these tracks, instead of having to deal with these big pop-up send. So now we'll go back to the Edit window. On our return track, or returning the send--let me just go ahead and make it medium so we can see-- we're going to insert the actual reverb. So I'll go into to the Insert slot, and we're going to over to Reverb and we'll choose, TL Space. It's one my favorite post-production reverbs.
So here we're going to call up a pretty dramatic reverb effect. On TL Space you've got your presets located on the upper right, and we'll go into our presets here, and we're going to choose Chambers > Concrete Stairwell > Two Floors up, so that'll give us a dramatic reverb effect. Remember, double-click on the effect to load the actual reverb. It's not loaded until you see this little dot next to it. So we can close our reverb. We've got that loaded up. And now we're going to automate the send on all three of these tracks to pump out reverb into that aux track.
So we want to show the send automation playlist. To do that, we'll go into the Playlist pulldown window and we'll choose (snd a) VERB1 > level, and we can see the automation line there. So we're going to just do this manually with the Pencil tool, which you can get by typing F10, and we're going to draw in a send over the course of that section. So we'll just go ahead and draw a send automation move, something pretty dramatic like that, and we'll do that for all three of these tracks. So again, going into automation playlist send level. Send level.
I'm just kind of eyeballing it. Reverb is pretty washy, so it doesn't have to be too exact. And I'm go back to my Selector tool and let's take a listen to what this sounds like. (ambient sounds) (people shuffling and talking) (water splashing and birds chirping) So my only criticism is that it should end a little sooner, at least on the track with the outdoor noise.
So I'm just going to go ahead and edit that move a little bit and make it end kind of before that bird is out there. So remember, Option+Click or Alt+Click to erase automation keyframes, and something like that should work. I can just rewrite the end here to go flat. So let's listen to that ending one more time. (people shuffling and talking) (water splashing and birds chirping) Great! I like that! So it provides a nice bridge between all three scenes.
So the next thing we're going to want to do is print just the reverb effect on its own. And that way it'll free up system resources. We don't have to have these sends running through this heavy reverb. It'll just be a printed effect. So to do that, we'll route the output of the VERB track into a track I've made below, called FX Print, and we'll use our Handy Track Output selector, go into the track output and choose track, and there is our FX Print track. So just with one action, it automatically routes the output of this track over a bus to the input of our FX Print track.
And we'll record-enable that track. We'll take the playback to before this effect happens, and I like to use numeric keypad 3 to start recording. (ambient sounds) (people shuffling and talking) (water splashing and birds chirping) So we've just printed purely that reverb effect onto this FX Print track.
Un-record-enable it, and now we have just the stand-alone effect here, and we can actually disable the sends and the reverb. Let me go back to the Mix window for a second. A lot of people would just go in here and take them out, but I like to save it for later in case I needed to go back and edit that effect, maybe you want it to be a little less dramatic, or a little shorter, so forth. So there's a way that we can use a keystroke combination to just simply disable the sends and the reverb, and that's Ctrl+Command for Mac and Windows+Ctrl for PC; Ctrl+Command+Click just right on the send, and you can see it keeps all the settings there and just disables them, and will do the same with the reverb effect.
The reverb plug-in is now disabled. So all of our DSP usage for those actions are freed up and if we got back to the Edit window, just go back to our regular waveform playlist, and we're hearing now the effect that we printed go along as its own track, and just the original dry signal from the ambiences on the original tracks. (ambient sounds) So as you can hear, it sounds the same as a printed track, but we have the option of going back later and fixing it.
So making these kinds of sound effects tracks is some of the most fun part of audio for video. Hopefully, this tutorial got your mind going. You're able to see how open ended Pro Tools can be when it comes to making unique sound effects.
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