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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 are going to get an audio for video session going from scratch. We will populate our session with tracks and get set up with an audio for video workflow in mind. When we're done, you will have a useful session template you can use anytime you work with video. By default, when you start Pro Tools, you will get this dialog. I will start by creating a blank session. We will choose Broadcast Wave Files and a Sample Rate of 48 kHz. Bit Depth, we will choose 16 Bit, which is the standard video bit depth, although you could choose 24 Bit if you wanted to have more dynamic range. For I/O Settings, we will choose Stereo Mix, although we will be enhancing that as we go along. Let's click OK and it will ask us where to save it.
And let's call is A4V, and I will save it into this project folder. So, when Pro Tools open, you get a blank session. This is the default view set up. Let's configure a view for optimum working in audio for video. Obviously, you can further customize this to your own taste, but first let's click the green plus arrow and make the window nice and big. And we will start with the main counter up here. You are going to want to change this to Time Code if you are working with video, so that's the first order of operations. Do that. Then we are going to show subcounter. We want to see minutes and seconds, along with our timecode.
Next, let's deal with these rulers. Not all these rulers are going to be useful to us when we are working with audio for video, so we are going to actually take away some of them. We are seeing a lot of different rulers that we won't need. We can remove rulers from our ruler view by Option+Clicking or Alt+Clicking on the names. So, let's get rid of Tempo, Meter, and Samples. We will leave behind just Time Code and Markers. Next, let's go up to our Grid settings. Let's change this to instead of being 1 second, to 1 frame, and also our Nudge values. Let's make those 1/4 frame. That way we can nudge around and stay within the frame accurate-world, but make finer than one-frame adjustments when we nudge our regions.
I usually get rid of this floating transport window because I can have the same information up top. I can also expand this top Transport window by going to Expanded Transport, and it shows me all the info. The Mix window is behind the Edit window, and you can always toggle between the two with the handy key command, Command+Equal or Ctrl+Equal for Windows users. There is our Mix window, and I'll go and make that nice and big. Notice we don't have any tracks yet, so let's actually make a bunch of tracks that are useful for our audio for video workflow.
Here is a key command everybody should learn. It's Shift+Command+N or Shift+Ctrl+N for Windows users, and that's how to make new tracks. So, let's start out by making 18 mono audio tracks, and then I am going to click this Plus button to create an additional set of tracks. The next set of tracks are going to be 12 stereo tracks, and then we are also going to make 1 mono auxiliary track, and we are also going to make two more stereo auxiliary tracks. So, this will help us populate our session for the kind of tracks we will need as we work.
So, when I hit Create, all these tracks will be made, and you can see there is a lot of tracks in the Mix window. If we want to, we can go ahead and narrow our Mix window view. So, go up to View > Narrow Mix. That helps a little bit to fit more tracks on the screen. Here is one other cool tip. It's an undocumented key command tip and that's to hold Ctrl+Option+Command on the Mac, which will be on Windows+Alt+Ctrl on a PC, and click on any of the meters in the Mix window. Then you get wide meters. Kind of cool! You can see your meters better that way. So, now we are going to designate a name what the tracks will be used for.
So, going back to our Edit window. I am going to take the first 8 mono tracks and those are going to become our dialogue tracks. We are going to name them DX 1 through 8. DX is an industry naming convention used for dialogue tracks. So, double-click to open the first one, and we are going to name this DX 1. And we're going to go through and name the next seven tracks. So, it's going to be DX 1 through 8 total. So, there is DX 2, and if I hold Command+ Right Arrow or Ctrl+Right Arrow, I can go to the next track to name it. DX 3 and finally DX 8.
The next four tracks will be the production sound effects tracks. Let's name them FX PROD 1-4. So, the first one would be FX_PROD 1, and going on to the next one, FX PROD 2. The next five tracks will be mono sound effects tracks. Let's name them FX.MONO 1-5.
Then for our last mono track, we will call it TONES. We will use this for reference tones and sync pops. The first six stereo tracks will be FX.ST 1-6. Those are going to be our stereo effects tracks. FX.ST 1, FX.ST 2, and so forth. The next four tracks will be ambience tracks. We will name them FX.AMB 1-4. So, it's going to look like this, FX.AMB 1. Then we have our music tracks.
We have two of them. Let's name them MX1 for Music Tracks, and MX 2. For the three aux tracks, these are where we will bus our three stems. We will name them first one, which is the mono one, DX Bus. That's going to be our dialog bus, and it will be our mono bus, DX. And the second two are going to be FX Bus and MX Bus. So, when we are done, we have got all of our tracks named. The next thing I like to do is to color-code the tracks.
For my color coding, I usually color-code dialog tracks blue, production effects tracks purple, effects tracks orange, music tracks yellow, tones or any other utility tracks brown, and aux tracks green. So, now we have got them all color coded and I am going to Option+Click or Alt+Click on this narrow strip to make them small, so I can see more of them. And we are going to actually route these tracks. So, we are going to send all the dialog tracks to the dialog bus. So if I select and hold Shift and select all the dialog tracks--It will be helpful before I bus them to see the I/O selector here.
That's another option we can turn on. Go up here in the top left of your tracks and turn on I/O, and then we can see the input and output. So, with all the dialog tracks selected, I am going to hold Option+Shift or Alt+Shift and go into the track output selector, and on the quick track assign, I can assign all these tracks to the dialog bus. As you see, all the tracks automatically went over to the bus called DX Bus, and let's just scroll down real quick. And we can see that on the dialog bus itself, its input went to the same bus.
So, now all of our dialog tracks are routing to that dialog bus aux track. And I am going to do the same for all the effects tracks, including the production tracks. I am just going to exclude the tones track. So, hold Command to add the next few, excluding the tones track, and Shift to select the rest of them, so I have got all my effects tracks selected. And again, Option+Shift or Alt+Shift. I am going to use the handy track send selector to output these to the FX Bus, and finally, we have our two music track, so Shift+Select to get these guys selected and Option+Shift or Alt+ Shift and go send these to the music bus.
So, now we have got all the tracks routed. One thing you want to do here is to solo-safe the dialog, effects, and music bus by holding Command or Ctrl for Windows users on the Solo button, and that way when we solo our tracks out here in our session, it won't mute the bus, so we can hear through. And we have a template. So let's save this. So, I am going to File > Save and this is saved as our A4V session. We can also save this as a template that we can use anytime we start up Pro Tools. So, we are going to go in here and say File > Save As Template, and we can put this in the Category of Post Production, which is pre-made category from Pro Tools, and let's name it A4V.
This is the name of this session template, and we will hit OK. And I want to close the session just to show you what that will look like. So, Shift+Command+W closes our session. That's Shift+Ctrl+W for windows users. And we can go ahead and save it once more. And now, when we go into Pro Tools and we say File > New Session, we get this New Session dialog, and here if we scroll down to Post Production, there is our A4V template. And if we hit OK, it will ask us where to save it. A4Vtest, just to see what it looks like.
Hit Save and there is our session that we just made. So, you can use that anytime you go into Pro Tools. As you have seen, the setup for an audio for video session template like this is complex and kind of time-consuming, but we only need to make it once, and once you have it, you can use it over and over again for any audio for video sessions you work on.
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