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Writing and editing automation

From: Pro Tools 10 Essential Training

Video: Writing and editing automation

In Pro Tools, you can automate just about any parameter you want. You can program Pro Tools to remember volume, muting, panning, send levels' mute and panning, plug-in parameters, and even MIDI, velocity, muting, and continuous controller data, such as Mod Wheel and Sustain. Now automation data is stored on automation playlists on each track. To view the automation playlist, you can select from the Track View Selector here, and we will choose volume.

Writing and editing automation

In Pro Tools, you can automate just about any parameter you want. You can program Pro Tools to remember volume, muting, panning, send levels' mute and panning, plug-in parameters, and even MIDI, velocity, muting, and continuous controller data, such as Mod Wheel and Sustain. Now automation data is stored on automation playlists on each track. To view the automation playlist, you can select from the Track View Selector here, and we will choose volume.

You see this line right here. That indicates what the volume level is for the track. We can adjust that here, and you will see the line move up and down. Now we can show multiple automation lines by clicking this little triangle here and then adding additional ones if we want. So we have got volume and mute being shown down here. There are five main automation modes in Pro Tools, and we will see those right here. We have off, read, touch, latch, and write. Automation off turns the automation off on the track.

The automation lane names get grayed out and become italicized, as you can see here. Auto read tells Pro Tools to read the automation data that's on the track, and that's the default automation mode. There are also several modes that you can use to create automation data: auto write, auto latch, and auto touch. Pro Tools HD and the complete production toolkit enable you to have a couple of other modes that we are not going to cover it here. So let's talk about these three. Auto write is used for the first time that you are creating automation data on a track, or when you want to completely write over a track's existing automation.

Auto touch writes automation only while a fader or switch is touched or clicked with the mouse. Faders and switches return to any previously automated position after they've been released. And auto latch writes automation data only if you move or touch a fader or switch. However, you don't to need to keep touching the controls after you've moved them like you would with auto touch. The automated parameter stays in the position where you have released it rather than reverting to previously saved data. I am going to show you how all these work here.

Let's create some automation data on this bass track. So I am going to switch over to auto write, and then I want to make sure that I have all of my automation enabled so that we can write any automation that we want. So I am going to go up to Window and choose Automation. If all of these are lit up red like this, that means that all of the parameters are enabled to record. This is the default setting. However, if I click on one of these, it turns gray, and that means that it's not armed for recording. So I am going to move this out of the way here. And now I am going to open up the fader on this track, so I am going to click this little button here.

And now I can control this volume fader with my mouse. To create and record automation data on a track, you don't actually have to press record. If the automation parameter is activated, you only have to press play in Pro Tools and move the automation controls with your mouse or your control surface. So that's what I want to do here. I am going to press play and not record and then move the automation controls via the mouse or my control surface to write the data. In this case, I am going to automate the bass track's volume, which is this line right here. Here we go.

(Music Playing) All you've got to do is press the stop button when you're done writing the automation. Now you will notice that Pro Tools automatically switched over to Latch mode after writing that automation, and that's because of a preference that we've chosen in the Mixing page. If we go to Setup > Preferences and on the Mixing page, we have After Write Pass, Switch to Latch.

I could choose Touch or No Change, but I'll keep it at Latch. And why do we care about this? Well, let me show you. If I were to press play right now with auto write mode, it would just write over everything that we just recorded. However, if the writing mode switches over to latch or to touch, then we actually have to move the fader or the mouse to change this data, thus we won't overwrite the data by accident. But now, I'm actually going to overwrite it on purpose using the Latch mode.

And let me show you what that looks like. So I will go back over to the fader here and I'll grab it as it's playing along, and you'll see that when I let go of the mouse that's controlling the fader, the automation will stay at one value and create a solid line until I move it again. (Music Playing) So you can see these straight lines are here, and that's where the latch was activated.

Now I am going to try auto touch. Now watch as the automation data reverts back to the pre-written data that's already here when I let go of the mouse on the fader. (Music Playing) Each one of these peaks that I created is when I grabbed the mouse and moved the fader, but then it reverted back to the pre-existing automation data that was there.

When you create automation, you create a series of break points on the automation playlist. And although, the automation data may look like a line at some points, it's actually made up of individual points that are finite values for the automation parameter. Let's zoom in and actually take a look at this. You see all these breakpoints here? One of the limitations of Pro Tools is that all edit playlists on a single audio track share the same automation data. So if we have multiple playlists of this bass track, which in fact we do, all of them share the same automation data.

If you want to try out different automation on a track, you can duplicate the track using the Track > Duplicate command, and then try out new automation on that duplicate track. Creating automation data during real-time playback is a lot of fun. It also can add a lot of energy to your mix and can actually turn the mix process into more of a performance. Definitely get to know your automation modes and how to use them; your songs will sound butter when you utilize them to add dynamic elements to your mixes.

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This video is part of

Image for Pro Tools 10 Essential Training
Pro Tools 10 Essential Training

108 video lessons · 15645 viewers

David Franz
Author

 
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  1. 13m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 20s
    2. Exploring the different versions of Pro Tools
      3m 22s
    3. Optimizing your computer before installing Pro Tools
      4m 18s
    4. Troubleshooting
      2m 19s
    5. Using the exercise files
      2m 25s
  2. 36m 55s
    1. Installing and authorizing Pro Tools
      1m 49s
    2. Connecting your Pro Tools system
      4m 31s
    3. Powering up and powering down
      58s
    4. Choosing the Playback Engine and Hardware settings
      5m 55s
    5. Optimizing Pro Tools' performance
      6m 26s
    6. Utilizing Automatic Delay Compensation (ADC)
      3m 36s
    7. Setting essential preferences
      2m 35s
    8. Creating a Pro Tools session
      4m 31s
    9. Identifying elements in a session folder
      2m 36s
    10. Creating new tracks
      3m 58s
  3. 42m 5s
    1. Exploring the Edit window
      6m 44s
    2. Exploring the Mix window
      3m 11s
    3. Exploring the Transport and Big Counter windows
      2m 57s
    4. Using the Color palette and window arrangements
      2m 35s
    5. Investigating the menus
      3m 22s
    6. Understanding samples and ticks
      3m 34s
    7. Viewing and manipulating tracks
      4m 31s
    8. Selecting inputs, outputs, and busses
      3m 58s
    9. Selecting an I/O settings file
      4m 12s
    10. Understanding signal paths and gain stages
      3m 46s
    11. Utilizing keyboard shortcuts and Keyboard Focus
      3m 15s
  4. 21m 11s
    1. Using DigiBase and the Workspace browser
      4m 14s
    2. Importing audio
      3m 0s
    3. Importing MIDI
      2m 48s
    4. Importing session data
      5m 34s
    5. Importing tracks from a CD
      2m 51s
    6. Importing video
      2m 44s
  5. 56m 46s
    1. Recording audio
      6m 13s
    2. Playing back audio and Edit window scrolling
      4m 52s
    3. Creating a click track
      5m 24s
    4. Overdubbing and using the record modes
      8m 52s
    5. Recording with playlists and Loop Record
      4m 6s
    6. Punch recording and using the monitoring modes
      4m 14s
    7. Dealing with latency and ADC
      4m 58s
    8. Creating a group
      6m 5s
    9. Adding effects while recording
      5m 16s
    10. Creating a headphone (cue) mix
      4m 29s
    11. Assigning disk allocation
      2m 17s
  6. 1h 28m
    1. Understanding nondestructive editing and region types
      3m 19s
    2. Using the Selector and Grabber tools
      3m 37s
    3. Using the Trim and Scrubber tools
      7m 5s
    4. Using the Zoomer tool and zoom presets
      5m 51s
    5. Using the Pencil tool
      3m 10s
    6. Using the Smart tool
      1m 27s
    7. Understanding the Edit modes
      5m 51s
    8. Arranging clips
      6m 40s
    9. Undoing an edit
      2m 44s
    10. Utilizing fades and crossfades
      9m 41s
    11. Building a comp track using playlists
      5m 17s
    12. Locking and muting clips
      2m 48s
    13. Special Edit window buttons
      7m 15s
    14. Creating an audio loop
      5m 19s
    15. Editing a voiceover
      9m 41s
    16. Using Elastic Time and Elastic Pitch
      9m 12s
  7. 17m 21s
    1. Working with clip groups
      4m 33s
    2. Using time, tempo, meter, key, and chord
      5m 37s
    3. Creating memory locations
      7m 11s
  8. 33m 10s
    1. Setting up MIDI on a Mac
      4m 17s
    2. Setting up MIDI on a PC
      2m 14s
    3. Setting up MIDI in Pro Tools
      2m 44s
    4. Recording MIDI data
      3m 14s
    5. Recording multiple MIDI tracks with one virtual instrument
      2m 17s
    6. Recording options for MIDI
      6m 21s
    7. Using Step Input
      4m 35s
    8. Making a drum loop with MIDI Merge
      3m 36s
    9. Composing with virtual instruments
      3m 52s
  9. 57m 1s
    1. Using the edit tools for editing MIDI data
      10m 0s
    2. Editing MIDI data in the MIDI Editor
      7m 31s
    3. Working with the MIDI Event List
      2m 12s
    4. Editing MIDI data with Event Operations
      8m 33s
    5. Quantizing MIDI tracks
      12m 16s
    6. Creating and using Groove Templates
      5m 35s
    7. Utilizing real-time properties
      5m 50s
    8. Using MIDI Learn
      5m 4s
  10. 17m 30s
    1. Exploring the Score Editor
      5m 49s
    2. Using the Score Editor
      5m 5s
    3. Setting up a score
      4m 48s
    4. Printing and exporting a score
      1m 48s
  11. 25m 39s
    1. Writing and editing automation
      6m 40s
    2. Drawing automation with the Pencil tool
      4m 2s
    3. Editing automation with the Trim and Grabber tools
      2m 58s
    4. Cutting, copying, pasting, and clearing automation
      4m 12s
    5. Turning automation on and off
      3m 52s
    6. Automating plug-ins and virtual instruments
      3m 55s
  12. 1h 49m
    1. Setting up a session for mixing
      8m 50s
    2. Setting up an effects loop
      9m 30s
    3. Working with plug-ins
      4m 33s
    4. Utilizing ADC while mixing
      9m 8s
    5. Applying EQ
      12m 43s
    6. Adding compression and limiting
      14m 25s
    7. Using delay effects
      6m 52s
    8. Applying AudioSuite plug-ins
      6m 24s
    9. Adding reverb to your mix
      6m 50s
    10. Bouncing down a mix
      4m 15s
    11. Making an MP3 for iTunes and SoundCloud
      2m 53s
    12. Setting up a session for mastering
      4m 58s
    13. Mastering a session
      10m 37s
    14. Bouncing down master recordings with Dither and Noise Shaping
      7m 24s
  13. 9m 59s
    1. Importing and displaying video files
      2m 38s
    2. Adding music, foley, ADR, and FX
      4m 29s
    3. Bouncing down video and audio together
      2m 52s
  14. 4m 0s
    1. Archiving an entire session
      4m 0s
  15. 58s
    1. Further recommendations
      58s

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