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Let music editor and producer Skye Lewin show you a selection of audio editing techniques for cutting music to picture in this course on Pro Tools. He covers the basics of timecode, syncing a QuickTime movie with the Pro Tools timeline, alignment of music to picture, editing music, and editorial techniques that may require editing rights. The course also covers creating alternative edits, conforming edits, and exporting QuickTime movies for presentation.
While we're primarily going to be using the Grid mode for the rest of this course, I did want to take a minute to show you few of the functions of the other edit modes. If you look in the top left-hand corner of the Pro Tools Edit window, you'll see four buttons. These are the Shuffle, Slip, Spot, and Grid Edit modes. And you can access these by pressing F1 for Shuffle, F2 for Slip, F3 for Spot, and F4 for Grid. You'll notice to the right of the Grid mode, there's a little triangle. Now you can click that and you get Relative Grid or Absolute Grid.
You can also press the F4 key again to toggle that. Now, earlier when we set up the template, we locked Shuffle mode. Let's unlock that again by Command+Clicking or Ctrl+Clicking it so that we can use that mode quickly to go over what that does. So let's go into Shuffle mode by pressing F1, and I'll show you quickly what this is very useful for. So I'm going to zoom in our waveform here. I'm going to select a small section, and say I wanted to remove that section from the song, but have the song play continuously as if it was not there.
Now this is just a really rough edit. It's probably not going to sound musical, but you'll be able to see what will happen if I remove this. So in Shuffle mode when I delete a section, the section after the selection that is going to be deleted will snap to the beginning of that selection. So essentially, it's shuffling everything after your edit forwards, and this is very handy for certain types of editing. We probably will not be using this in our course because most of what we're going to be doing is using the picture as a grid, or as a ruler, to work to. So let's undo that, which you can do with Z if Command Focus is enabled, or Command+Z or Ctrl+Z otherwise, and let's go into Slip mode by pressing F2.
Now in this mode, the grid is essentially deactivated. You can click anywhere on any audio file and you're going to have sample resolution, which means you can zoom in and click anywhere, as far as a single sample. Let's use our key command that we learned earlier for zoom level 5, pressing the 5 key. We're going to zoom in a little bit further until we cannot zoom in any further, just a few clicks. I'm going to use the E key to expand the waveform, and you can see here we're zoomed in so far there's really not much to look at.
Let's maybe expand vertically the waveform by using Command+Option or Ctrl+Alt and the right toggle, and now we can see literally the waveform at the sample level. So in Slip mode, we can click on any single sample, and you can see them by the lines that are actually drawn together. So that is so deep into resolution that you're literally looking at a snapshot in time 1/48,000th of a second, if you're working at 48 kHz, which we are.
So Slip mode is very handy for being able to work at very detailed resolutions, which for music is very essential because often times the downbeat of a section or the piece of music that you want to grab will not happen to land on a grid. The next mode is Spot, F3, which we already used to spot our picture file and our audio file when we imported those earlier. What that does, one more time, is when you click on file with Spot mode enabled, it brings up the Spot Dialog. And with this you can spot a file using timecode or any other means of reference to a start point of the file; a sync point, which we're going to get into a little bit more later; or the End point of a file.
You can even spot to subframes, and if file was time-stamped, you can use the file's own time stamp to spot it to a specific location. And the last two modes of Grid mode are what we're going to be using primarily for this course. What Grid mode does is it allows you to have a built-in ruler that you can use as a guide for a specific duration in time. So using the Option+F or Alt+F key command, I'm going to zoom back out to the width of this audio file that's selected, and I'm going to zoom back out of the waveform using Command+Option+Left Bracket.
So there's our waveform for that whole song again. So in Grid mode, if I click in any one location, I'm clicking right on whatever my Grid mode is set to. So we've already set in our template-- our Grid is set to one frame--but we could make that any different value. It could be a second, 5 frames, 1 frame, even 1 sub-frame. And also, if we change our main timeline to use a different division than time code, we could maybe make say bars and beats--if we had our Grid set to an actual bar and beat count that matched with our song, we could set our grid to a half note or a bar or a quarter note, which is very useful for musical composition.
But for now, we're going to use time code because we're working with picture and we need to sync with that. So zooming in, let's use zoom level 4 by pressing the 4 key. You can see that each grid moves the picture forward one frame, and that's because we have set our grid to a single frame. You can also see that if I click between the grids, it snaps to the closest grid. And this is a handy feature when working with Grid mode, but sometimes when you're editing music, you want to be able to edit in between the grids.
So now if I wanted to make an edit on the beginning of this large transient here, I would either need to move to Slip mode or edit in between the grid, and there is a way that you can edit in between the grid in Pro Tools. So first, let's zoom in a little bit further. I'm going to press Command+1 or Ctrl+1 and zoom in with the Zoom tool. And now I can really see the start of the waveform that I want to edit. So on a Mac, I can Command+Click and that will make a selection off of the grid while I'm still in Grid mode. On Windows, you can Ctrl+Click.
The second Grid mode that I want to show you is what's called Relative Grid. So let's enable Relative Grid by pressing F4 again, and from where we are, let's make an edit with the current selection. And you can make an edit by pressing Command+E to simply cut, or you can press the B key, with Command Focus enabled, and that's simply going to slice the audio file right at the location where we are. So now that we've made this edit, let's select the region following the edit. You can do so by single-clicking with the Grabber tool or by double-clicking with the Selector tool, and you've now selected the region after the edit.
And then we want to nudge this one frame earlier, but I want to do it so that it retains the same offset from the grid, which is why we're in Relative Grid mode. So to nudge earlier, use the minus key on the numeric keypad, and you can see that it moves that selection one frame earlier but remains relative to the grid, rather than snapping directly to the grid. Using the plus key, let's put it back where it was, and let's switch our mode back to the Regular Grid mode by pressing F4. Let's do the same thing with the minus key, and you can see that it's going to stay off the grid.
Now, if you grab with the Hand tool and move it left in Grid mode, you'll see that it's going to snap to the nearest grid. Undo to get it back to where it was, and go back into Relative Grid mode and grab with the Hand tool and do the same maneuver, and you'll see that it stays off of the grid. So that's the main difference for using these two different types of Grid mode. One is to stay really on the grid no matter what you do, and the other is to stay relative to the grid no matter what you do. So let's undo and get this session back to where it was, until you've seen the edit disappear.
So now let's zoom back out all the way so we can see the full session, switch ourselves back to Regular Grid mode, and Command+Click or Ctrl+Click the shuffle lock to enable that. Now that we've seen the Edit modes that can be used, you can choose which one is best for your project. Moving forward in this course, we'll primarily be using Grid mode. If you'd like to learn more about modes and tools and all of the editing functionality in Pro Tools, check out the Pro Tools 9 Essential Training course with David Franz right here on lynda.com's Online Training Library.
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