Templates are living, breathing documents that are crucial for time management. They can also help you consistently deliver good audio mixes and various delivery stems. Scott Hirsch shows how to work backwards from delivery specs to designing your templates.
- [Instructor] There are some different ways to store and save templates in different DAW's and definitely more than one way to save them in Pro Tools. For me, I just keep it simple. I make regular, good old Pro Tools sessions without any media. I have a few templates here. They're just regular Pro Tools session files. I've made them to accommodate different styles of productions with different needs. So, I've got one for broadcast, documentary, short film, et cetera. I can import all or some of these templates tracks using Session File Import in Pro Tools to any existing project.
Let's go into a template I've already started building. One crucial thing when you initially set up your templates: Make sure you get your sample rate correct. You want to make sure that your sample rate is set to 48 kilohertz, which is the standard for most post-production projects, because this setting, you can't change after you've made your template. Usually, I set our bit depth to 24-bit. Now, in building a simple, three-stem template, you're going to start with your full mix.
This is a combination of all three of your stems, which are you dialog stem, your effects stem, and your music stem. Now remember, all of these tracks, including the full mix, are auxiliary tracks in Pro Tools. They're simply mixer tracks that you can bus, or internally route, audio through. Notice I also have a master fader here and I use this for my levels meter. It's kind of like a final stage after all of our stems.
Now, we want to make sure that all three of our stems, our dialog, effects, and music stem, route into our full mix. So, let me show you how you can quickly do that to all three of the stems. Click and hold Shift to select all three stems. Then I'm going to hold Option and Shift to change all three of these tracks' output to Track, Full Mix. And notice that when I do this, it automatically names the output of all of the tracks to Full Mix.
This is a really fast way to make Pro Tools auto-name your output in a way that makes sense to you. So now, all three of our stems are routing to our full mix. Next, we'll route some actual audio tracks to our stems. I've already made 10 dialog tracks. I'm going to show them here. So, these are actually audio tracks where our actual audio regions from our film or video that we're working on will live. And specifically, it's going to be dialog-based regions sitting in these tracks.
Now, notice: Their outputs are just, right now, going out the main output. But we want to actually route them through our stem. So, it's a similar process. I'm going to Shift select all of our dialog tracks and I'm going to Option Shift to change all of their outputs to Track DX Stem. And it automatically names all of our tracks to Dialog Stem and the audio is now routing into our dialog stem. And then, after the dialog stem, it's going into our full mix.
Now, I've already done the same process to 10 effects tracks, which, as you can see, are routed to our effects stem, and four music tracks, which are routed to our music stem. Now, I brought some audio in here. We can do a quick test. So, I can just play back some audio from our dialog track and what we should see is audio routing into both the dialog stem and then out to the full mix. So, let's check it out. - [Audio Track] When the Vidafone was in its laboratory stage, a man had to-- - [Instructor] Right, so that looks good. It's going into the dialog stem and the full mix.
Now, I'm going to check on the effects. This is just some pink noise, test tone to see. And we should see that in the effects stem and also, going through the full mix. And finally, we have just a 1K tone for our music track. And yes, it's being routed properly. Again, this is the most rudimentary template you might encounter, with the three basic stems, dialog, effects, and music. But if you understand these concepts, you'll be able to build your own custom templates to accommodate more complex stems you might need, like NAT sound, MnE, narration only, and those types of more complex stems.
You can just build them out here, save your template, and then, once you have your template, you can import it into your session, which is most likely a session you've opened your AAF file into, and get to work on your post project without having to build these every time.