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If you have a good understanding on how SMPTE timecode and frame rates work, you're ready to get into some more advanced scenarios using Pull Up/Pull Down settings in Pro Tools. We'll also discuss how different video codecs can affect us as we work with video in Pro Tools 9. Pro Tools offers a feature called Pull Up/Pull Down which lets you compensate for any mismatches that can occur during the transfer from film to video and back. These features reside in the Session Setup window where the other Timecode settings you located. Go to Setup > Session. On the bottom right we have the Pull Up/Pull Down menus.
Just so you know, for Pro Tools systems, when you're clocking to your system internally, as we are doing here, Clock Source Internal, the Pull Up/Pull Down audio features don't actually ever speed up or slow down your audio. They merely play the video back at different rates to compensate. So when you choose to pull the audio down in the Session Setup window, Pro Tools is actually simulating the pull by speeding up the video to accommodate. If you are using an external clock, such as the Avid sync peripheral you see here, the audio pulldown does actually change the Sample Rate playback of the audio to match the slowdown video.
Either way, the option enables you to maintain sync while in Pro Tools, regardless of your workflow. So beneath Audio Rate Pull Up/Pull Down, we have Video Rate Pull Up/Pull Down. What about pulling up and pulling down the video? This feature will control the video playback, but it will do so independently of the timecode ruler. Since this can get very confusing, I recommend not using this feature. Pro Tools even states in their manual that this feature is merely left in to be compatible with the older versions of the software and is not a recommended workflow. So when do we use audio Pull Up/Pull Down? Here's a typical scenario.
A project is shot on celluloid film, which runs, as we know, at 24 frames per second. The audio was recorded on a separate hard disk recorder at a 48 kHz sample rate. When the film-to-video transfer is made, called Telecine, the 24 frames per second a film is converted to 29.97 frames per second as NTSC video. Effectively this process slows down the video slightly to fit the 24 frames per second a film into 29.97 frames per second of video. If you want to keep the audio in sync, it must also be pulled down, or slowed down, to a sample rate of 47.952 kHz, which is .1% slower.
So of you the imported the audio straight from the original audio recording into Pro Tools at 48 kHz, you would have to go in this menu and pull down the audio rate .1%, as you can see, Film to NTSC. Then your audio would be in sync with 29.97 frames per second of the video. Remember, you can always use it the 2 pops that your video editor made at the beginning and end of your timeline to verify that you're in sync. By the way, if you already now you need to do this on import, you can apply a pull-up/pull-down destructively as you import the audio.
If I go Command+Shift+I to open our Import Audio window and choose a wave file and choose to copy it, down below there is a box that I can check to apply SRC, Sample Rate Conversion. Here I can change the source sample rate. I can pull it down 1%, Film to NTSC. This will do it destructively, and I won't have to do it in the Session Setup window. I can assign to my Region List, and it'll put that new pulldown audio in my Region List. Another thing to know about Pull Up/Pull Down in the Timecode Rate Pull Down menu there is an Auto Match Pull Factor setting.
This is sort of a dangerous setting to have checked because when it's checked, Pro Tools will automatically set the Pull Up/Pull Down settings here to compensate when you change the timecode rate. This has messed me up in the past, and personally I prefer to leave that setting unchecked, and I do the pull-up and pull-downs manually. Again, if you are unsure about any of these settings, ask your video editor or production manager for help. Finally, when you're finished and the project is going back to film, you will need to reverse the process before doing your final layoff. So you'll have to pull the audio back up before doing your layoff, and you can do this in the Audio Rate Pull Up/Pull Down menu.
Now let's talk about video codecs. For all video playing on a computer an algorithm is used to encode and decode the footage into a digital file. That's where the name codec comes from. Example of video codecs are DV, AVI, MPEG2, H.264, MPEG-4, and HDV. QuickTime video is a cross-platform video player that supports a large number of codecs. Pro Tools natively supports only QuickTime for video playback. The typical rule of thumb is that if QuickTime can play the video, it will be able to import and play in Pro Tools.
Here are a couple of important things to know about QuickTime and Pro Tools: 1) QuickTime must be installed for Pro Tools to import video. 2) If you plan to use the video-out FireWire from the options menu where you can transcode the audio and play it on a TV or NTSC monitor, you have to use the DV NTSC codec for that to work. If you have an Avid Mojo hardware peripheral, your video import options are expanded and you can use Avid Media Composer codecs as well. I do recommend getting QuickTime Pro, which allows you to convert and change codecs on your own, if they are not delivered properly to you.
There are a lot of ins and outs regarding video technology. After these understanding video format movies, we should be familiar with the video issues that directly relate to our Pro Tool sessions. Now let's get on to working on the actual audio.
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