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Pro Tools 10 Essential Training with musician and producer David Franz illuminates the process of recording, editing, mixing, and mastering in Avid Pro Tools, the industry-standard software for music and postproduction. The course covers recording live audio and adding effects on the fly, creating music with virtual instruments and plug-ins, editing for time and pitch manipulation, creating a musical score, and mixing and mastering a track.
Near the top of the Edit window are the time-based rulers. The time-based rulers provide timing reference for all track material. You can choose to view any or all of the time-based rulers in the Edit window using the Ruler View Selector button, which is right here. Click it once and you'll see the whole list. The ones that are checked are the ones we're viewing here. Now you may not have some of these options in your system, including the Timecode, Timecode 2, and Feet+Frames.
The time-bases ruler that's highlighted, in this case the Bars and Beats ruler, is the current main time scale. This determines the time format used in the Transport window's main counter down here, the pre and post-roll times, the Edit Selection area up here, and even the Grid and Nudge values. If I switch this to Minutes and Seconds, you'll see all of those areas switch to showing minutes and seconds. So you see up here we have Minutes and Seconds. The Grid and Nudge also have Minutes and Seconds.
Let's switch back to Bars and Beats. If working with musical material that aligns with the bars and beats, you should have Bars and Beats as the main time scale, especially if you're working with a click track. I personally only use Minutes and Seconds as a time reference and rarely concern myself with the Samples ruler. You can change the main time scale in the session as many times as you want without affecting anything except what's shown in the main time scale. Below the time-based rulers are the conductor rulers; you have Tempo, Meter, Key, Chords, and Markers.
The Tempo ruler conducts the speed of the song. The Meter ruler conducts the time signature. The Key signature ruler keeps track of any key changes. The Chord ruler displays any chords, and the Marker ruler labels specific events or points in time. When you open a brand-new Pro Tools session the default tempo is 120 beats per minute, or BPM. To change the tempo of the session, you can just click on this plus and that will open the Tempo Change dialog box.
Here you can choose a location and a different BPM, as well as the resolution. You can change the meter by clicking the plus here and inserting a meter change. You can add a key change; clicking the plus will open up the Key Change window. Same with the Chords; you hit the plus, the Chord Change window will open. And if we hit the Add Marker Memory Location, we'll get the New Memory Location window, and I'll talk about this in much more detail in another movie in this course.
Now, what happens if you don't actually know the tempo that you want for your session? Well, you can tap it in. In the Transport window we want to go to the MIDI controls, and if you don't see this in your Transport window, you can choose View > Transport > MIDI Controls or use the dropdown menu and choose MIDI Controls from the Transport menu. Now we need to put Pro Tools into Manual Tempo mode by clicking the Conductor Track button on the Transport window so that it's unhighlighted.
Now it's unhighlighted. And if we click into the Tempo area just once and highlight the tempo, we can now press the key T on your keyboard at the speed that you want the tempo to be. (tapping) Instead of tapping the T button, you can also play a note repeatedly on your MIDI controller. Either way, after you've tapped several times, Pro Tools will calculate the BPM using the last eight or fewer taps.
This new BPM value appears in the Tempo field. Right here we have 133. Now, to make this active in the session, what I prefer to do is reactivate the conductor track and then either create a tempo event or double-click on the starting tempo marker right here, which is set to 100, and then type in our new tempo. Notice that the location is right at the beginning. Any changes made to tempo and meter are automatically reflected in Pro Tools' internal click track.
Now, if you'd like to fine-tune your tempo track and make some very specific tempo changes, we can go into the Tempo Editor by clicking this button right here. At this point we can actually use the Pencil tool and draw in tempo events. So I'm clicking and dragging and drawing a bunch of tempo events. You can also create some more complicated tempo and meter changes in your session if you go up to the Event menu and choose Time Operations, where we can change the meter, insert time, cut time, and move the song start; or in the Tempo Operations--and I'll open up the Tempo Operations Window--where we can stretch the time, scale it, create different curves, or make constant tempo changes.
Now, I'm not going to go into a lot of these options here, but as you can see, Pro Tools offers limitless ways to customize your session. Use the conductor rules to create tempo, meter, and key changes, as well as to display chords and show markers.
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