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- Understanding video formats, codecs, and timecode rates
- Importing OMFs and AAFs into Pro Tools
- Spotting film and using markers
- Using room tone
- Creating fades to smooth out audio edits
- Sweetening and hard effects
- Recording ADR and editing with VocALign LE
- Editing out plosives, crackles, and hums
- Mixing with automation and reverb
- Calibrating for 5.1 surround mixing and bass management
- Mastering delivery levels and dynamics
- Understanding the Audio Suite enhancements in Pro Tools 10
Skill Level Intermediate
No matter how hard you try to get a truly locked picture edit before the video editor transfers materials to you, some editorial changes will inevitably occur. Of course, these new picture edits will throw your audio session out of sync. When you have your full-blown Pro Tools session running, it's never fun to conform to a new picture edit. But with the right techniques, it could be a pretty simple and painless process. Let's see how it works. The real key to conforming your session to a new video edit is to have the best communication possible with the video editor. For everything to work right, you are going to need to know these crucial bits of information.
You need to know the exact timecode locations of all edits that were made and the exact timecode durations of all edits. Both Pro Tools and Avid Media Composer can generate a document that shows this information. It's called an EDL and this is what an EDL looks like. It's a pretty complicated set of instructions containing all timecodes for all the edits in a sequence. So this is a little hard to read. If you wanted to find what the difference is with this new edit and the old edit, we have to compare the two and we could use it to find the changes.
As you can see, it's kind of hard to read, and usually what I do is I will just ask the editor to make a Word doc or a simplified, even an email, that just details only the edits that were made in exact durations in timecode locations for all those edits. So in this case I've done that and the editor made me this Word doc, which just has three changes. It has two changes that are cuts where they are tightened, the edit is actually shortened, and it has one addition cut where 10 frames were added. So we are going to conform to this new video edit.
So back in Pro Tools we have our original video edit here and we are going to import the new video. So I will go to File > Import > Video and here we are going to bring in this video that's called Sequence NTSC_After. So we have a before video. This is the after video after the edits have been made. Click Open and Pro Tools brings in the video. If you remember in the complete production toolkit and in Pro Tools HD, you can have more than one video track running. So we are going to import this as a new track and we will bring it to the session start and we will also import audio from the file as reference.
If we click OK, it asks us where we want to put the audio files and we choose the audio files folder for this project, and it comes in. So here's our new video and our new video reference file. You can see the edit is shorter from the original video. So let's actually color code this new video and the reference movie just so we know which one is the new one and which one is the old one at a quick glance. Okay, now the tool we are going to use to actually make the edits in Pro Tools is called the Time Operations Window and you can find it in the Event's menu up here.
So under Time Operations, we just open up the main Time Operations Window and then from this window, we can actually go to Cut Time. Since our first two edits involve removing time, this is the window we are going to want to be on. Now, before making any changes, you have to know that Cut Time operates on any tracks that are currently showing in the edit window. So for that reason we are going to actually hide the newly imported video and the audio reference from that because we don't want to make any edits to that.
So with these tracks selected, we are just going to actually hide them in our Tracks list there, so that they are not showing. But everything else here, we do want to make the edits to. And remember, if you do have some hidden tracks that you want to make the edits to, you might want to show those at this time as well. So in the Time Operations Window here, I am going to go back to our file and reference. The first edit is at 33 and it ends at 33:07. Here's another pointer though before you make any edits, is you want to start at the end of the session and work from the end to the beginning when you're making these kinds of edits.
If you start at the beginning and you made the first edit, then everything from that point forward will be out of sync because it will be a different timecode. So you have to start at the end and work forward to make all of your changes work according to any EDL that you are going to receive from the video editor. Luckily here our video editor was aware of this and they made their document in the order from the end to the beginning, so the first cut is the last cut and it starts at 01:00:33 and it ends at 33:07. So it's a seven frame tighten edit.
Back in Pro Tools, we are going to enter those values in our Time Operations Window. 01:00, into this field 33. I am going to tab over to the End field. I am going to type 01:00:33:07. Make that seven frame edit and hit Enter, and you can see the total length is going to be seven frames. And if you zoom in to Pro Tools here, you can see there is a seven frame selection already made. And when we hit Apply, it's going to make the cut across all of our tracks that are showing.
So there is our first cut and what I like to do is I like to hit Enter here at this point and I like to say edit 1. Just make a marker there because we want to go back and check all of our edits to make sure that there's no audio glitches where the edit occurred and we will do that after the fact. So let's go to our second edit which is in here in the Word doc. We've got from 25:03 to 29:27. So back in Pro Tools, we've got 25:03 and Tab over and its 01:00:29:27 and hit Enter to lock that in. And that's a 4 second and 24 frame edit and hit Apply.
And you can see all the tracks snapped together at that point. Drop another marker there. Call this edit 2. And there's one more edit to be made and in the Word doc remember this is an insert of a time, not a cut time. So back in Pro Tools in the Time Operations Window, we are going to actually go over to Insert Time, which allows us to insert a certain amount of frames. And let's look at frame that starts on. It starts on 08:07 and it goes to 08:17. So back in Pro Tools here we are at 08.07, and tab over so we are at 01:00:08:17, and hit Enter to lock that in.
Again, it's a 10 second insert that's going to happen and hit Apply. And you can see that the tracks move down a little bit by 10 frames across all tracks. And we are done making our conforms. Go back to our edit window and drop the marker in there and call this edit 3, so we know where that one was. And close the Time Operations Window. And now let's show our hidden video that we are conforming to and here we want to make sure that everything lines up. So let's take a look. And you can see the audio is lining up perfectly.
If we go into Grid mode, everything looks in sync and we want to check just the end of the movie here. Yes, everything looks good. Everything is in sync and we are happy the edit is conformed correctly. So we can actually hide the old videos and we have our newly imported video and our Pro Tools is conformed. Now we just want to go ahead and like I said check our edits. So here at edit 1, there is a little weirdness that happened because of the cuts, so we're just going to clean that up edit-wise. So we get rid of this and what I want to do is use the Trimmer tool and just pull out this region a couple of frames and maybe lengthen that Crossfade and of course we want to listen and check our edits there.
(Male speaker 1: Financials?) (Male speaker 2: But Jessica?) So that sounds okay, and the second edit here. We are going to look. This one, it looks okay in terms of there is nothing any extra audio material hanging over but we are talking about to pull these guys out maybe a couple of frames there and we will make a quick crossfade using the F key between those guys to smooth that edit out. (Male speaker 1: Speaking of money?) Okay, sounds good. And the last one is trickiest one because remember we added some frames here, so there's a gap. So we definitely want to fill any kind gap like that.
We could fill it with room tone, but we might actually be able to get away here if I just removed this piece and take the Trimmer tool and drag the old section out and kind of pull this one in a little bit and make a crossfade. So I have to listen to make sure it works but it might work perfectly. I will actually go a little closer here. So that sounds good. I mean, we can finesse this edit a little bit more, maybe just pulling this over. It doesn't look like we have to have any other room tone to add in there. We can just pull that out and it stretches across the edit and everything is cool.
So conforming to a video edit can seem daunting but as long as you use these tips and you have good communication with your video editor, it actually is very manageable in Pro Tools.
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