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Recording real-time automation moves

From: Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools

Video: Recording real-time automation moves

Automation in Pro Tools can be approached in one of two ways, real-time recording of mixing moves or graphically via Edit tools. For real-time automation each track in Pro Tools has an automation mode selector that can be accessed via the Edit or Mix window. The default state of a track's automation mode is Read. Read mode will playback any previously written automation for that track. If no automation is present, a track is considered open and will retain its static state when manually adjusted.

Recording real-time automation moves

Automation in Pro Tools can be approached in one of two ways, real-time recording of mixing moves or graphically via Edit tools. For real-time automation each track in Pro Tools has an automation mode selector that can be accessed via the Edit or Mix window. The default state of a track's automation mode is Read. Read mode will playback any previously written automation for that track. If no automation is present, a track is considered open and will retain its static state when manually adjusted.

So I'm going to clear out the automation on this lead vocal track so we can start from scratch. So in the Edit window I'm just going to select this track and choose Edit > Clear Special > All Automation, and that's going to wipe out any automation that's living on that track. So we have got a clean slate to work from. Now one thing that you are going to want to get familiar with when you're working with automation is the Automation window. So let me close this Memory Locations window and bring up with Automation window.

Now this window here is going to give us a master suspend and if I click this, it's going to suspend all automation in the session. And what that means is the mixer is going to revert back to manual control. So the mixer isn't going to move itself. All the mix elements are going to be static. Now I also have Write Enable, and this is really important from when we're approaching real-time automation, because what this is going to tell us is whether or not I'm able to record real-time fader moves for a specific automation parameter.

So I have Volume, Send Volume, Pan, Send Pan, Mute, Send Mute and Plug In. So let's say we just want to do some Volume automation. I'll uncheck Mute and make sure Volume is highlighted in red. Now what I can do is take this track, switch it from read to write mode. And what that does is it puts this track into a special recording mode just for automation. So it's not going to record any audio or anything like that, but just the fader moves that I make, and in this case just the changes to volume that I make.

So let me bring up a little breakaway fader here. Go to my I/O view and pull up a little mini-fader to work with. Then I'm going to switch to my volume view here. So I'll click on the Track View Selector where it says waveform, and I'll switch to volume. Now I'm going to playback this session. (Male singing: Trouble bound.) (Male singing: We hit the town. And... ) So you could see that in real-time that red line was recording any changes that I made to this volume fader.

Now what happened, as soon as I was done recording that write pass, it automatically switched to auto latch. So let me tell you about the different modes here. So we know that read will read back any of this automation that's been written in. Off will turn automation off just for that specific track. So it reverts back to manual control for that track. And then I have my three write modes. I have touch, latch, and write. Now write mode is great for an initial pass, but it's not so good for update passes, because it's going to destructively write over what I already have.

So you can see that line. (Male singing: Trouble bound.) And that just blew over what I already have. So I probably want to do is once I have automation, I'll use an update mode like touch or latch. So let me show you how these work. Touch is only going to add automation when you touch or move a parameter. So if you think of a control surface, the Digidesign control surfaces are actually touch-sensitive, so they know when you are touching a parameter and when to write automation.

Now when you use your mouse, it's when you click on the button or click on the fader is when it considers it being touched. So let me just demo this for you. (Male singing: Tonight I fell asleep at the wheel.) Then I let go. (Male singing: I woke up just in time, with chills darting down my spine.) So you could see only when I was manipulating the fader was Pro Tools writing automation.

Now latch mode is kind of halfway between touch and write. Latch mode will play back any automation you already have, but as soon as you touch one of the parameters, it switches to write mode for just that parameter. (Male singing: Trouble bound.) (Male singing: We hit the town.) Now when I do real-time automation, I prefer latch mode, because in write mode if you are not managing your Write Enable, write will write across all parameters, even if you're not manipulating them.

So let's say you had some really cool Pan automation and you accidentally dropped into write mode and you were just working on Volume automation. If Pan was checked here, it would actually blow over any of that automation you already had whereas latch mode is going to act a lot like write and then you don't have to hold a fader to continue writing automation. But it's not going to destructively write over anything you are not touching. Now you may have noticed in touch mode, when I let go of the fader, the fader sort of matched back to its original position and we can actually control the amount of time it takes to do that in the Automation Preferences.

So if I go to Setup > Preferences and under the Mixing tab I actually have an Automation section. The AutoMatch Time is the time that it's takes from when I let go of a parameter to when it matches back to the previous break point value. So if we set this to 1 second and I use touch mode, it's going to take 1 second to return back to its previous break point value. And again that's under Setup > Preferences.

Now we also have an After Write Pass, Switch To and this is a good idea. No Change would leave it in wrote after you did a write pass, and remember those are destructive across all parameters that you have checked in your Automation window. So I usually want it to switch to Latch or Touch after a write pass. The default value here is Latch, and we'll switch this back to 250. It's usually a good number. The default number. So again when we are writing real- time automation, we are not going to use regular record or record on the transport.

What we are going to use regular record or record on the transport. What we are going to do is use the special automation selector for that track, and that's going to put in an automation record mode or set it to read back any previous automation or completely turn off automation for that track. Remember, if you want to write any real- time automation, you need to make sure that parameter is Write Enabled in your Automation window. And if you want to turn off all automation for the session, you can just hit Suspend.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools

77 video lessons · 9207 viewers

Brian Lee White
Author

 
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  1. 14m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. The past, present, and future of mixing
      6m 20s
    3. Strategies for mixing and mastering
      5m 38s
    4. Using the exercise files
      1m 40s
  2. 40m 24s
    1. Mixing "in the box"
      5m 9s
    2. Setting up the studio: Speakers and acoustics
      13m 12s
    3. Staying organized: Effectively prepping the mix
      10m 50s
    4. Managing system resources during mixdown
      11m 13s
  3. 41m 39s
    1. Introducing the Pro Tools Mixer
      2m 24s
    2. Understanding mixer signal flow
      3m 42s
    3. Using inserts and plug-ins
      7m 4s
    4. Working with plug-in settings
      5m 1s
    5. Using sends and creating FX returns
      6m 55s
    6. Submixing with aux tracks
      4m 30s
    7. Using groups while mixing
      3m 46s
    8. Using master faders effectively
      8m 17s
  4. 21m 11s
    1. Conceptualizing the mix and making a plan
      7m 45s
    2. Using volume and pan to balance the mix
      11m 18s
    3. Knowing when to process: Mix problems vs. mix solutions
      2m 8s
  5. 1h 3m
    1. Understanding the mechanics of sound
      3m 53s
    2. Learning the basics of EQ: Frequency-specific level control
      4m 29s
    3. Using DigiRack EQ III
      16m 3s
    4. EQ strategies in mixing: Corrective vs. creative
      7m 18s
    5. EQ workflow example 1: Kick drum
      5m 39s
    6. EQ workflow example 2: Filtering loops
      5m 10s
    7. EQ workflow example 3: The "telephone" effect
      3m 7s
    8. Mixing tips and tricks for EQ
      17m 36s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Understanding dynamics and dynamic range
      2m 1s
    2. Working with dynamics processors
      2m 57s
    3. Using the DigiRack Dyn III compressor/limiter
      10m 6s
    4. Balancing and shaping track dynamics
      3m 19s
    5. Using gates and expanders
      9m 22s
    6. Using de-essers to eliminate sibilance
      5m 47s
    7. Dynamics workflow example 1: Vocals
      10m 0s
    8. Dynamics workflow example 2: Drums
      9m 29s
    9. Mixing tips and tricks: Dynamics
      11m 37s
    10. Building parallel or "upward" compression
      7m 53s
    11. Reviewing dynamics concerns: How much is too much?
      3m 28s
  7. 47m 48s
    1. Using time-based effects to add depth and width
      3m 22s
    2. Using DigiRack D-Verb
      14m 27s
    3. Using the DigiRack delays
      9m 18s
    4. Mixing with reverb
      7m 59s
    5. Mixing with delays
      6m 19s
    6. Mixing tips and tricks: Creating mix depth
      6m 23s
  8. 18m 8s
    1. Working with the Creative Collection
      9m 8s
    2. Building distortion and saturation
      9m 0s
  9. 37m 33s
    1. Understanding automation
      4m 10s
    2. Recording real-time automation moves
      7m 6s
    3. Viewing and editing automation
      10m 17s
    4. Automating plug-ins
      7m 36s
    5. Automation strategies for mixing
      8m 24s
  10. 29m 31s
    1. Understanding the characteristics of a great mix
      7m 2s
    2. Working to reference tracks
      4m 35s
    3. Avoiding some common pitfalls
      7m 50s
    4. Building healthy mixing habits
      3m 36s
    5. Crafting your mix from start to finish
      6m 28s
  11. 1h 5m
    1. Understanding mastering
      4m 15s
    2. Bouncing the mix
      7m 9s
    3. Working with general mastering strategies
      8m 50s
    4. Using limiting and compression to maximize track level
      10m 57s
    5. Working with multi-band compression
      7m 9s
    6. Understanding sample rate, bit depth, file formats, and dither
      7m 30s
    7. Using Pro Tools for CD track sequencing
      10m 11s
    8. Compressing audio for the web
      9m 41s
  12. 44m 51s
    1. Tips for evaluating plug-in processors
      6m 51s
    2. Using EQ plug-ins
      5m 35s
    3. Using dynamic compression plug-ins
      11m 3s
    4. Using reverb and delay plug-ins
      10m 46s
    5. Reviewing additional plug-ins
      10m 36s
  13. 57m 18s
    1. Effectively using saturation/analog style effects
      13m 40s
    2. Setting up side chains
      7m 5s
    3. Master buss processing
      5m 34s
    4. Creating and using mix templates
      6m 54s
    5. Surround mixing
      6m 22s
    6. Dealing with plug-in delay and latency
      6m 26s
    7. Drum sample replacing
      11m 17s
  14. 32s
    1. Goodbye
      32s

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