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Pro Tools 9 Essential Training with musician and producer David Franz demonstrates concepts and techniques necessary for recording, editing, mixing, and mastering in the industry-standard software for music and post-production. The course covers creating music with virtual instruments and plugins, editing with elastic audio for time and pitch manipulation, creating a musical score, and mixing with effects loops. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this video, I'm going to cover what the Trimmer and Scrubber edit tools do. I'll start with the trimmer. This is the trimmer here, and if you click on it, right-click it, or click and hold, you'll see that it comes in four different flavors: Standard, TCE, Scrub, and Loop. The scrub trimmer is only a feature for Pro Tools HD and Pro Tools with the Complete Production Toolkit 2. You can also press F6 to scroll through these different Trim tools, and let's start with the Standard Trim tool. The trimmer's main function is to shorten or expand a region or a loop.
If I bring it down here, and click and drag, I can shorten this or extend it. If you press Option on a Mac, or Alt in Windows, you can reverse the direction of the Trimmer tool. So see the Trimmer tool reversing right there. And then if I click, it'll chop the region like that. You can also use the trimmer to lengthen and shorten MIDI notes. So let's take a look at this one and expand the length of that MIDI note. You can also use the trimmer to scale automation and controller data.
So first, I'm going to go to the selector, I'm going to select this area of the volume automation on this track, I'll go back to the trimmer, and I'll click and drag. You'll see what's going on here. You see the number -12.1 db. That means the volume that this has gone down to, and then you'll see the delta, or the difference, which is that little triangle, and that says -10.9 db. So that means that this overall has been scaled down -10.9 db.
Now let's check out the time trimmer, or the TCE trimmer. The time trimmer uses the Time Shift AudioSuite plug-in to alter the length of an audio region and create a new audio file. You can use it to time compress or expand a region, and this is useful for matching the length of another region, for aligning a region to a tempo grid, or for just a special effect. Let's try it out. I'm going to compress this piano region and we'll take a listen to it. (Music playing.) So, you can hear that it's a lot faster now, and there are few little artifacts in there, but it sounds kind of neat.
One thing you should know when you use the TCE Trimmer tool is that this creates a brand-new audio file. So, what I would recommend doing before you actually process a track like this is you should go and create a duplicate playlist, so then you can always have the original playlist underneath, and you can always access the unaltered version. Now, we can choose the default settings for the Time Shift plug-in or change the default plug-in to a different time compression or expansion plug-in, and we do that up here, in the Setup > Preferences, and the Processing page.
You can see there are few plug-ins that we can choose from. Time Shift is the default. If you have X-Form, you might want to choose that; that might be a little higher quality than Time Shift, but Time Shift is definitely a better choice than the old Digidesign TC/E plug-in. Now obviously, if you have any of these third-party ones, you can choose those too. You can also set the default settings and look at that: we have a piano setting if we want it. Usually the default, which is the Stereo Mix Default, is probably the best choice for your overall TC/E needs.
So, I'm going to cancel out of this. Now, we can create our own TCE settings, if we go to AudioSuite > Pitch Shift > Time Shift, and this is actually the Time Shift plug-in that will be doing the processing for our TCE Trimmer tool. You can create your own settings here and then save them, and I'm going to talk about using this in another video. Let's move on to the loop trimmer. With the loop trimmer, if you position the cursor over the top half of a region, the loop trimmer comes out.
If you bring it down to the bottom half of the region, the standard trimmer will be there. So, if you click and drag with the loop trimmer, you create multiple loops of the trimmed region, and you can see that those are created with this little icon that's down here. Finally, we have the scrub trimmer, and this feature is only available in Pro Tools HD and Pro Tools systems with the Complete Production Toolkit. What this lets you do is trim and scrub at the same time-- that is, you can listen to the audio as you trim the region.
(Music playing.) And from the scrub trimmer, this is a perfect segue into using the Scrubber tool. Let's go up and click that. Now, scrubbing is a technique used in analog tape editing, where an engineer rolls the tape back and forth over the playhead at slow speeds with his or her hands, to find a particular location on the tape, usually the location for a splice. The purpose of the scrubber in Pro Tools is to emulate the scrubbing process on digital audio.
By scrubbing over an edit point, you can find the exact edit point, which may not be obvious just by looking at the waveform. To access the Scrubber tool, obviously can just click on it, or you can press F9, and let's go down here and scrub. (Music playing.) So obviously, you can go backwards and forwards, and if you scrub over the middle of a stereo track, you can hear both sides. (Music playing.) But if you scrub over just one half of it, you'll only hear that side.
Now, let's zoom in really close, and go back to the scrubber. (Music playing.) When you zoom in close, the scrubber will only scrub just a small little piece of the audio, and so usually you'll hear the pitch go down, and you'll hear just a little bit of the audio. If we zoom back out by double-clicking the Zoomer tool, I can actually simulate zooming in with the scrubber, by hitting the Command key on a Mac, or Control in Windows, and this will allow me to scrub at a finer resolution without zooming.
(Music playing.) If you want to scrub at speeds faster than regular speed, you can press the Option key on a Mac, or Alt in Windows, while you're dragging, and you'll see the cursor change its icon slightly. (Music playing.) This is called Scrub/Shuttle mode. You use the Scrub/Shuttle mode to scroll through a long track to find a specific part of that track.
Aside from being able to scrub audio, you can also scrub MIDI. So if I go up to this instrument track, I can scrub on this Mini Grand track. (Music playing.) Let's say you're using the Selector tool, and you want to scrub something. Well, if you take the selector into the middle of a region, and you press Control on a Mac, or Start on PC, you'll see that the selector will change to a scrubber.
(Music playing.) You can also access Scrub/Shuttle mode, if you press Control+Option on a Mac, or Start+Alt on a PC. We'll come down to this audio track. I'm going to press Control+Option. (Music playing.) So, there're a few useful key commands that you can use to access the scrubber from the Selector tool.
Now, I find the scrubber to be my least used editing tool, but the features it does offer are cool and helpful from time to time. On the other hand, I use the trimmer all the time to edit regions, and I imagine you will too, once you get the hang of using all its features.
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