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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.
Audio for video sessions have many, many tracks. In this movie, we will go over some quick ways to group tracks by type and display them quickly and easily. Groups are managed in the box in the lower left of the Edit window and Mix window. By default, Pro Tool starts you off with an All group, which can be used at any time to control all the tracks in your session. If I click on the All group and I go to Mix window, you can see that all faders are being controlled. Deselect the All group. To create a group, we can type Command+G or Ctrl+G. This is the group's dialog box.
Instead of the All group that's in there by default, I want to make an All my tracks group to control the tracks that are just in our current view, not everything. Remember, we have some hidden OMF tracks over here that, as you can see by this display, aren't part of the tracks that are currently in the All my tracks group that we are about to create, and we want to leave it that way. So in this tracks tab we can see all the members that are about to add to your group, plus any available tracks that you could potentially add if you wanted to. You also see that there's a group ID. This is ID a from bank 1.
There are four groups of alphabetical list of groups you can make, with a total of 104 groups for any Pro Tools session. Then we can go over to the Attributes tab. Here, I would think that we would probably want to control Volume and Mute. Those are kind of the default things that you'd like to control with a group. So I am going to check those for now. You can also add send levels for any of your 10 available sends. You can add send mutes. You can add pan to your group attributes. For now I am going to keep these two checked, and we'll click OK. You can see the All my tracks group appeared in our groups list.
Let's make some more groups. Let's make a group just for the dialog tracks, for example. Command+Click or Ctrl+Click to unselect that dialog track, click again to select it, and we'll Shift+Click to select just the dialog tracks, and we will type Command+G or Ctrl+G to start a new group. We will call this one 'dial' for our dialog group, and you can see its ID b. Click OK and let's make one for all of our effects tracks. Select the top FX track all the way down to the end of our FX tracks.
Command+G or Ctrl+G, 'All FX'. Now we are going to make some subgroups within those all FX groups. So we'll make one just for production FX. We'll call that Prod FX. Click OK. And we will make one for just the mono FX, and we will make one for the stereo FX as well. So we would go on and make different groups for even things like music tracks, ambience, and so on.
Now let's take a look over at the Mix window so we can see what these groups look like here. Right now, we are in Narrow Mixed view, so we can't fully see this little pulldown window here that tells us about our groups. Let me get us out of Narrow Mix view by going to View > Uncheck narrow mix, and now we have our wider mixed tracks. We can see this pulldown menu, for example, on the DX1 track shows us that this track is part of the All my tracks group, and we can see those tracks here. You can see that it's also part of group b, the dialog tracks group. You can see those tracks containing the eight dialog tracks. You might also notice here that it has a capital A. Whenever you see a capital letter as a group ID it means that that track is in more than one active group.
In this case, the dialog track is in the All my tracks group and the dialog group. For example, the reference movie is just in the All my tracks group, so it has a lowercase a. Here is where it gets cool. Setting up these groups is a little tedious, but you can now use the groups to quickly show, hide, and even select members of a group. Let's go back to the Edit window to see how this works. So in our groups list at the left here, if I click on this narrow colored strip to the left of any group, I can quickly select just the members of that group.
If I click on the green strip next the dialog group, scroll up a little bit to see what happened, all my dialog tracks got selected. I am going to do the same for the production FX. Just those tracks get selected. This is really handy if you want to select tracks quickly and route them to a different output or a bus. You can use this trick to quickly select all the members of that group. You can also use the groups list here to show and hide different members of a group. To do this, you hold down Ctrl or the Windows key as you click on the group name.
So, if I do this for the dialog group, every other track quickly gets hidden, and we just see the dialog tracks. You do it for same Mono FX, Prod FX, or All FX, and then we can use the All my tracks group to get back to original view. Again, I was holding down Ctrl or Windows to do that as I clicked on the group name. Now let's select all the FX groups. You might notice these odd little circles on the left-hand column of the groups list. These tell you what members of the group are currently selected.
So right now we have all of the FX tracks selected. If we see a close dot, it means that all members of that group are selected. If we see an open dot, like we are seeing in the All my tracks group, it means that some, but not all members of that group are selected. Finally, if we see a filled-in open dot, like we see on the Prod FX, Mono FX, and Stereo FX, that means that all members of a group are selected, plus additional members outside that group. So it's a handy way to tell what members of the group are currently selected.
One last thing: if you need to edit the members of a group, you double-click also in that leftmost column. So if I wanted to edit the members of the dialog group, for example, I double-click next to dialog in that column and I get the group dialog window again. Here now, for example, if I wanted to take dialog 8 out of this group, I can remove it, and it no longer becomes member of that group. I can click it again and add it back. So you can edit the members of the groups that way. When you're working, the faster you can get an idea from your mind to your Pro Tool session, the better.
So using groups like we did in this video really helps you speed up your audio for video workflow.
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