Here's a helpful tip to really make plug-in automation work in your timeline: after you enable the automation parameters on your plugins, it's helpful to write one breakpoint for all parameters before the project begins. This way, your basic default setting is locked in and you can write automation from scene to scene knowing that the default state is set when you are back in read mode.
- [Narrator] Setting and forgetting an EQ shape is one thing on a track but almost always in audio post, you're going to want to have automatable control over these settings throughout your timeline. For this week's technique, I want to show you how to master EQ automation in Pro Tools. When you have an EQ inserted as a plugin on a track, like I do here, you might have it set up with a default setting, such as the one I have here. This is my default dialogue shape that everything in this track will hit, as we play the film. But there might be an area of the film when I want to automate some of these parameters to change.
So, let's set that up. First, you have to enable all of these settings to be automatable parameters, it's not done by default in Pro Tools. So, we're going to go up to this menu here, right under where it says Auto, we're going to open this up and we're going to Select All, Command + A, Select All of the parameters and add them to be automated. We'll click okay and you should see a green box around all of the settings that indicates that they can all now be automated. I can also go into the playlist in the track under EQuality and I can see that all those parameters are now available as automatable playlists.
The next thing you want to do since we have this nice default shape, is to lock it in. And we're going to do what's called snapshot automation here. And that means that you can make a snapshot of all these settings at the same time in your track. Now, we want this to be our default setting throughout, so we want to lock it in at the beginning of the film. If I hit return, I can go to the beginning of the film, and if you set up your timeline right you have 30 seconds of black before the film starts. This is a great place to lock in your default automation.
So, I'll click anywhere before the film starts, on that track and I want to show you this great key command that allows you to write all of these automatable parameters, all at the same time. It's up in the Edit window, under Automation and it's called Write to All Enabled, or Option + Command + Slash. And when you do that command, you can go now into the playlist and you see that any of these parameters, if I open the playlist up, you'll see that there's a breakpoint written right where the cursor was.
So, it just did a snapshot automation of all of these settings, all at the same time. Again, that key command is Option + Command + Slash. So now, let's get into automating this EQ. So, over here in this film, there's an area where, I'm just going to go ahead and go back to the waveform view. There's an area where this character's dialogue sounds a little muddy and then it sounds fine the next line and then it sounds muddy again, so it's a perfect area we want to automate some EQ on the first and third lines and leave the middle line the same.
So, I'm going to go and open that EQ back up and you see our default setting is still holding. Now, what happens is, because I've written that automation and it's locked in, and our track is in read mode, what happens when I try to change an automatable parameter, is it'll snap back. See, watch this. - My creativity-- - [Narrator] Right, snaps right back. So, how do you hold your settings? That's what we're getting at here. Now, you're going to want another window open that makes this possible. So, I'm open the window's menu and choose Automation.
Now, this let's us, first of all, make sure that the plugin automation is enabled. You want that to be red, which it is. And second of all, it allows us to suspend temporarily, all automations. So, you see the green box went away. And now we can make our settings. So, I can do a selection around the area I want to change and I'll be able to make my moves, you'll see what I mean-- - My creativity-- - [Narrator] Add some EQ moves, right, maybe a little low end, maybe a little high end. - My creativity-- - [Narrator] Okay, you hear how the sound changed.
Now, we're ready to write this in as a snapshot over that selected area. Again, I'm going to go back to that key command, it's Option + Command + Slash, and I'm going to do that, Option + Command + Slash, I've just written these moves, now I can take it out of suspend and what you'll see when I click back here, is it goes back to our default shape and as I hit play, you'll see it pop into that move I just made. - My creativity-- - [Narrator] And then it pops back. - has nothing to do with this. - [Narrator] So, I'll do that again for this third line, which also sounds a bit muddy.
- I did my time. - [Narrator] So, we'll add a lot of high end. Again, these are the steps, you want to make a selection, you want to suspend automation, you want to make your move, and you can listen as your making it. - I did my time. - [Narrator] Right. So, you can really check it out. - I did my time. - [Narrator] Good, that's sounding a little better. And I'll do a little low end bump there and then I'll do that key command again. Again, if you don't know the key command, it's up in Edit, Automation, Write to All Enabled, Option + Command + Slash. Now, I can unsuspend and you'll see the automation I just wrote comes in here.
- My creativity-- - [Narrator] Goes back to our default. - has nothing to do with this. - [Narrator] Then we get our second-- - I did my time. - [Narrator] move. And you can hear how it really smoothed out that scene by automating the EQ. So, this method of writing and automating EQ is a huge one for mixing. And this type of snapshop automation is essential for allowing your dialogue tracks to shine with EQ over the course of your film, video, or multimedia project.