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Utilizing fades and crossfades

From: Pro Tools 8 Essential Training

Video: Utilizing fades and crossfades

To create smooth edits while editing audio regions in Pro Tools, you should utilize Fades and Crossfades at most region beginnings and endings. Fades and Crossfades are used to prevent pops, clicks, and sudden changes in sound at region boundaries, as well as to smooth transitions between regions, and create special audio effects. Let's listen to where we need to apply some Fades and Crossfades. Let me start by playing into this region here and you are going to hear a click right at the very beginning.

Utilizing fades and crossfades

To create smooth edits while editing audio regions in Pro Tools, you should utilize Fades and Crossfades at most region beginnings and endings. Fades and Crossfades are used to prevent pops, clicks, and sudden changes in sound at region boundaries, as well as to smooth transitions between regions, and create special audio effects. Let's listen to where we need to apply some Fades and Crossfades. Let me start by playing into this region here and you are going to hear a click right at the very beginning.

(Music playing.) It's a kind of minor, but listen for it again here. (Music playing.) You'll also here the difference from when it goes from having sound here on the track to no sound. It's kind of a stark difference. (Music playing.). We can use a fade-in and a fade-out here to go from zero volume to full volume on the track, and then back here full volume down to zero. Let's look at where we would need a crossfade. Between these two regions, you're going to hear a big click pop.

(Music playing.) Let's listen to that again. (Music playing.) Those little clicks or pops or whatever you want to call them are a no for editing. We want to smooth those out with Fades and Crossfades. So let's zoom in on this first area right here, and create a fade-in. Now the reason why, we need to create a fade-in? You can see it right here.

Click pops happen when the waveform is not at the zero amplitude crossing point at the region boundary. Right here, we can see that it is definitely not on the zero-crossing. Now the zero-crossing is this vertical line that runs right down the center of the track. On that line, there is technically no amplitude to the waveform, so it has no volume, but when it's not on that line, then it does have volume. So if the waveform at the beginning of the region is not on this line, then you most likely hear little click pop when the audio jumps from zero amplitude to a higher amplitude. So let's create a fade-in to avoid that.

With the Selector tool, I'm going to select this area, and then I go to Edit > Fades > Create Fade. We get the Fades dialog box. Now you can also use the Command+F for Mac, or Ctrl+F in Windows to open the Fades dialog box. In the Fades dialog box, we can see the curve that's going to be applied to the fade-in of the region, and you'll see how the actual waveform gets affected here. And we can change this shape, if we go to the S-Curve, or we can set a different curve here. In fact, if we go to Standard and click-and-drag we can make our own curve. I'm going to go with this one and hit OK. And you'll see how the actual waveform is affected by what I just put in here as the fade.

Now let's have a listen. (Music playing.) No more pop at the beginning of the region there. Let's go do the same thing for a fade-out. So I'm going to zoom in, with the Selector tool, I'm going to grab this area and highlight it, Edit > Fades > Create, and we'll take this. Hit OK. Let's have a listen. (Music playing.) A little smoother. Zoom back out. Now let's go make a crossfade. We'll select this area right here for a crossfade. I'm going to go ahead and just hit Command+F on my Mac, or Ctrl+F on the PC and open the Fades window right away.

So while we are in here, let me take a little bit more time to explain some of the buttons here. Aside from the shape which we have now in the In Shape and the Out Shape, so the Fade-out Shape and the Fade-in Shape, we also have this Link parameter. This enables you to choose the fade-out or the fade-in curves used in the crossfade and have them be linked together. Choose Equal Power when creating a crossfade between two completely different types of musical material. So that there is no volume drop, as there might be with an Equal Gain crossfade. Choose Equal Gain, when you have two identical types of musical material, like on a repeated loop, and this is used to avoid clipping that might occur from an Equal Power crossfade.

Now personally, I've found that the opposite works well in certain circumstances too. So you need to experiment. If you choose None, then you can edit the fade-out shape and the fade- in shape separately. In this case, if I press Alt in Windows, or Option on a Mac while dragging, I can edit the fade-in section of the crossfade like this. If I press Ctrl in Windows or Command in Mac while dragging, I can edit the fade -out shape. So you can create your own custom shapes in this way.

Personally, I like the Equal Power Crossfade the best. So I'm going to choose that. Some of the other buttons here we have, we can change the Size of the waveform to better magnify it, if we need to. We can look at what the waveform will look like when it's combined together, or with the colors combined together like this, or the default which is this. I kind of like looking at this version. We can even get rid of the waveforms altogether by clicking this button, and we can look at the waveform separately using these.

Finally, we have the Audition button, and let's take a listen to what our crossfade is going to sound like. (Music playing.) Now that's no good. There was a lot of overlap. You could hear two tracks playing at once, during this part of the crossfade. So what that tells me is that we need to make the crossfade shorter. So let's cancel this and zoom in on the region boundary.

Now I'm going to show you the quickest way to make a crossfade. Let's select the Smart tool and with that we can just mouse down to the bottom part of the track at the region boundary and you'll see the little Crossfade tool. If I click-and-drag I can create a crossfade just like that, and it will use the default crossfade that you've selected in your Preferences. We'll talk about that in a second.

First, let's have a look at this crossfade. So I can just double-click on this crossfade now if I want to actually edit that crossfade, and we can listen to it real quick. (Music playing.) Okay, still a little bit too long. So we can undo that crossfade, and create an even shorter one. Let's have a listen. (Music playing.) That goes by really quick. So I don't know that anybody is going to notice that.

We'll keep that. Now as I mentioned, when you create a Fade or Crossfade with the Smart tool, Pro Tools utilizes your Fade Preferences. You can access that by going to the Setup menu, Preferences, and going to the Editing page, and in this section right here, we can set the Default Fade Settings. So in this case, I'm actually going to change mine to Equal Power. One other thing I should mention while we are in this Preferences page is this right here, Preserve Fades while Editing. Let me show you how that works within Pro Tools. If I decide to trim this region, the fade stays, and that's why we use Preserve Fades when Editing. If we turn this feature off, then that fade would have disappeared. Now let me zoom back out, and talk about one more feature.

Since crossfades are created by fading between two overlapping audio regions, a crossfade can't be performed on regions that do not contain audio material beyond their region boundaries. So what is that really mean? It means that on this side of this region, if there is no more audio beyond this region boundary, then you cannot create a crossfade with this other region. So what happens if we try to create a crossfade in this case? I'm going to draw it, now we get this warning. Now I'm going to hit Adjust Bounds and we'll see if it actually can create a crossfade. And in fact it does, except that it moves it to the left side, so that this region can't be overlapped with this region.

One other thing I should mention is that crossfades and fades are actually written to your hard drive, and stored in a folder named Fade Files. That's within your Session folder. When you playback your track, Pro Tools reads these files, and plays them back from your hard drive. Let's take a look at where they are. Right here, we've got a Fade Files folder, and you can see all the Fade Files here. They are all WAV files.

Now if you end up losing your fade files or cross fade files, Pro Tools can actually recreate those fade files, if they are not present on your hard drive. Fades and Crossfades are essential tools for digital audio editing here in Pro Tools. Use them well and your audio edits will be super smooth.

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This video is part of

Image for Pro Tools 8 Essential Training
Pro Tools 8 Essential Training

120 video lessons · 10678 viewers

David Franz
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 12m 54s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Exploring the different versions of Pro Tools
      2m 30s
    3. Optimizing your computer before installing Pro Tools
      3m 51s
    4. Troubleshooting
      3m 1s
    5. Using the exercise files
      2m 16s
  2. 23m 41s
    1. Connecting your Pro Tools system
      5m 8s
    2. Powering up and powering down
      58s
    3. Optimizing Pro Tools performance
      6m 55s
    4. Setting essential preferences
      3m 42s
    5. Creating a Pro Tools session
      3m 56s
    6. Identifying elements in a session folder
      3m 2s
  3. 47m 9s
    1. Exploring the Edit window
      4m 50s
    2. Exploring the Mix window
      2m 21s
    3. Exploring the Transport and Big Counter windows
      4m 0s
    4. Using the Color palette and window arrangements
      2m 55s
    5. Investigating Pro Tools menus
      4m 37s
    6. Creating new tracks
      4m 10s
    7. Understanding samples and ticks
      3m 36s
    8. Viewing and manipulating tracks
      5m 54s
    9. Adjusting the I/O setup
      7m 7s
    10. Understanding signal paths and gain stages
      3m 50s
    11. Utilizing keyboard shortcuts and keyboard focus
      3m 49s
  4. 30m 43s
    1. Using DigiBase and the Workspace browser
      5m 6s
    2. Importing audio
      5m 13s
    3. Importing MIDI
      3m 55s
    4. Importing session data
      6m 17s
    5. Importing tracks from a CD
      4m 18s
    6. Importing video
      2m 57s
    7. Unmounting a hard drive
      2m 57s
  5. 1h 2m
    1. Recording audio
      5m 6s
    2. Playing back audio
      10m 31s
    3. Creating a Click track
      4m 53s
    4. Overdubbing and using the record modes
      9m 25s
    5. Recording with playlists and the Loop Record mode
      3m 6s
    6. Punch recording and using the monitoring modes
      5m 28s
    7. Dealing with latency
      4m 17s
    8. Creating a group
      4m 33s
    9. Adding effects while recording
      7m 41s
    10. Creating a headphone (cue) mix
      5m 34s
    11. Assigning disk allocation
      2m 13s
  6. 1h 26m
    1. Understanding nondestructive editing and region types
      3m 31s
    2. Using the Selector and Grabber tools
      3m 29s
    3. Using the Trimmer and Scrubber tools
      6m 57s
    4. Using the Zoomer tool and Zoom presets
      5m 14s
    5. Using the Pencil tool
      3m 27s
    6. Using the Smart tool
      1m 26s
    7. Understanding the edit modes
      7m 54s
    8. Arranging regions
      8m 38s
    9. Undoing an edit
      2m 3s
    10. Utilizing fades and crossfades
      10m 29s
    11. Building a comp track using playlists
      5m 28s
    12. Locking and muting regions
      3m 36s
    13. Special buttons in the Editing window
      8m 16s
    14. Creating an audio loop
      5m 11s
    15. Editing a voiceover
      10m 59s
  7. 18m 43s
    1. Working with region groups
      5m 47s
    2. Setting time, tempo, meter, key, and chord
      5m 46s
    3. Creating memory locations
      7m 10s
  8. 35m 30s
    1. Setting up MIDI on a Mac
      4m 25s
    2. Setting up MIDI on a PC
      2m 50s
    3. Setting up MIDI in Pro Tools
      2m 46s
    4. Recording MIDI data
      5m 24s
    5. Recording multiple MIDI tracks with one virtual instrument
      2m 15s
    6. Recording options for MIDI
      6m 27s
    7. Using step input
      4m 45s
    8. Making a drum loop with MIDI Merge
      2m 51s
    9. Composing with virtual instruments
      3m 47s
  9. 48m 41s
    1. Using the edit tools for editing MIDI data
      8m 23s
    2. Editing MIDI data with the MIDI Editor
      7m 20s
    3. Working with the MIDI event list
      2m 41s
    4. Editing MIDI data with event operations
      8m 25s
    5. Quantizing MIDI tracks
      11m 31s
    6. Creating and using groove templates
      5m 59s
    7. Utilizing real-time properties
      4m 22s
  10. 18m 51s
    1. Exploring the Score Editor
      5m 22s
    2. Using the Score Editor
      6m 33s
    3. Setting up a score
      4m 30s
    4. Printing and exporting a score
      2m 26s
  11. 19m 0s
    1. Utilizing the Time Shift plug-in
      7m 41s
    2. Editing with Elastic Time
      8m 30s
    3. Editing with Elastic Pitch
      2m 49s
  12. 48m 20s
    1. Working with Boom
      11m 23s
    2. Working with Xpand2
      7m 21s
    3. Working with DB-33
      6m 58s
    4. Working with Vacuum
      7m 55s
    5. Working with Structure Free
      7m 12s
    6. Working with Mini Grand
      3m 57s
    7. Using Midi Learn
      3m 34s
  13. 25m 55s
    1. Writing and editing automation
      6m 4s
    2. Drawing automation with the Pencil tool
      4m 56s
    3. Editing automation with the Trimmer and Grabber tools
      2m 9s
    4. Cutting, copying, pasting, and clearing automation
      4m 5s
    5. Turning automation on and off
      4m 25s
    6. Automating plug-ins and virtual instruments
      4m 16s
  14. 1h 40m
    1. Setting up a session for mixing
      8m 0s
    2. Setting up an effects loop
      9m 18s
    3. Working with plug-ins
      3m 53s
    4. Dealing with delay compensation
      6m 51s
    5. Applying EQ
      9m 19s
    6. Adding compression
      11m 17s
    7. Applying limiters
      2m 57s
    8. Using Gates and Expanders
      4m 40s
    9. Working with Side Chains
      3m 35s
    10. Working with De-Essers
      3m 4s
    11. Adding delay
      7m 34s
    12. Utilizing modulation effects
      4m 43s
    13. Adding reverb
      7m 5s
    14. Adding harmonic effects
      5m 7s
    15. Renting and purchasing plug-ins
      2m 2s
    16. Applying AudioSuite plug-ins
      5m 19s
    17. Bouncing down a mix
      5m 50s
  15. 25m 44s
    1. Setting up a session for mastering
      8m 56s
    2. Using plug-ins for mastering
      8m 47s
    3. Applying Dither and Noise shaping
      4m 5s
    4. Bouncing down master recordings
      3m 56s
  16. 19m 52s
    1. Importing and displaying video files
      4m 20s
    2. Adding music, foley, ADR, and FX
      12m 28s
    3. Bouncing down video and audio together
      3m 4s
  17. 4m 50s
    1. Archiving an entire session
      4m 50s
  18. 31s
    1. Goodbye
      31s

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