Join Skye Lewin for an in-depth discussion in this video Editing and arranging clips, part of Pro Tools 11 Essential Training.
There's really not much that you can't do while you're editing in Pro Tools. In this video we'll talk about some of the most basic editing tasks like separating, cutting, copying, pasting, clearing, duplicating, moving, and nudging audio clips. First let's look at separating and audio clip Separating basically means to cut a clip into two pieces, or to create a separate clip within a clip. Let's look at how to do it. First, select the Selector tool, or you can use the Smart tool. If you're using the Smart tool, just remember you have to position the cursor on the top half of a clip to use the Selector tool.
I'm in grid-mode because I want to make an edit right on top of a bar. And since I'm working with musical material, that will actually help what I am going to do. This isn't essential to the example, but let's say I want to make a cut right here at the start of piano where the cursor is. If your cursor's not there, just place it where you want to make your cut, and then go to the Edit menu and from the Seperate clips sub-menu select @selection. We can also use the key command Cmd+E on a Mac or Ctrl+E in Windows. Let's look at another way we can make a selection.
Let's say I wanted to make a clip from bar three to bar five. I can click and drag with the Selector tool, or I can click at bar three, hold the Shift key, and click at bar five to make the same selection. Then, I can use the same separate command. And I now have a clip that starts at bar three, and ends at bar five. Also, when you have commands keyboard focus enabled, which is indicated by this little icon here. You can perform the same separation by just pressing the b key. Let's try it. I'm going to make another selection, and use the b key, and it does the same thing as selecting from the menu, or using the other key commands.
Cutting, copying, pasting, and clearing in Pro Tools is just like doing these actions in any other software program, except that here we're working with audio and MIDI clips. So let's look at Cut and Paste. First, let's solo this guitar track at the top. And I'm going to take a listen to it. So you can hear that the third chord is actually pretty flubbed up. So let's say we wanted to copy and paste that third chord from the second phrase So that we don't have to listen to that flub.
We can use Copy and Paste to do this. Since in this example we have a four bar phrase, I would want to go to bar six and select this first chord on bar six. So I'm going to make a selection here around that chord from the Edit menu. We can see that we have Cut, Copy, Paste, and Clear options available. So if I wanted to use one of these editing functions, I can select it from the menu, or I can use the key command Ctrl+x in Windows, or Cmd+x on Mac, for Cut, Ctrl+c in Windows, or Cmd+c on a Mac, for Copy.
Ctrl+v or Cmd+v for Paste. And you clear using the key command, CTRL+B in windows, or CMD+B on a Mac. So I'm going to go ahead and copy this, and I'm going to make a selection where I want to paste it. In the case, right before the note that's flubbed. When you have commands keyboard focus enabled, you can perform cut, copy and past by simply pressing the x, c, and v keys without needing the additional modifier. This makes for a really ergonomic and slightly faster workflow. So I'm going to paste just by pressing the V key since I have Commands Keyboard Focus enabled.
Now, I've made that Copy and Paste edit. Let's take a listen It's not great but it's still way better than it was. On an audio track, wave form and blocks view are considered master views. One thing I want to point out, is that, when you edit a clip in one of these two views, the edits apply to all the data on that track. Including the automation, by default. For example, if you clear part of a waveform in a clip. The underlying volume data will also be cleared.
However if you cut out the volume data from a track the waveform will not be affected. So let's take a look at this. First, let's go to Volume and let's use the Grabber tool and click and drag a few times, so that I have some automation break points that we can play around with. Let's switch back to our Master View either the waveform or blocks. And let's make a selection with the Selector tool. Now if we clear, using the key command Cmd or Ctrl+b, notice how the waveform is cleared, and any automation that was with that clip has also been cleared.
This behavior is because we have automation follows edit enabled. Again, you can change this behavior by going to the Options menu and unchecking Automation Follows Edit. Now, let's go back to the Waveform View. I'm going to select Undo Clear from the Edit menu and I'm going to uncheck Automation Follows Edit. Now, if I clear this selection and look at the volume again We can see that the automation was not affected. However, I'm going to leave Automation Follows Edit enabled. Now let's clear some automation. I'm going to make a different selection, then I'm going to clear the automation from that selection.
When we do this, notice that only the automation is cleared and not the underlying audio clip. The master views on a mini track are blocks, clips, and notes. Any edits that you make to your MIDI clips in one of these master views. On a MIDI track or an instrument track, will effect all of the other automation and control data as well, just as with audio. In addition to the regular cut, copy, and paste. We also have some unique, special commands in Pro Tools. We have Cut Special, Copy Special, Paste Special and Clear Special can be really useful when editing automation or MIDI controller data.
This will be covered in more detail later in this course, in another video on editing automation. Let's close this menu and make a selection that contains some automation, and from the Copy Special sub menu of the Edit menu We can choose to Copy Clip Gain, All automation, Pan Automation, or Plug in Automation. So if I just wanted to copy the automation or just the clip gain I can do that from here rather than copying everything. The same thing applies to Cut, Paste, and Clear. Now we already know that the easiest way to move a clip in time is with the grabber tool.
You can just click and drag, or click and drag to move back. Another method is to select something and then cut or copy it, and paste it to a new location just like we did with the guitar track earlier. So let's say for example I wanted this selection of the piano to be moved to bar nine, I can copy this and I need to select the Selector tool. Position my cursor at bar nine and paste. Now let's look at the nudge feature. this is a really useful feature if you want to make minor adjustments in time. The nudge function will nudge a selection or a selected clip by the value set in the nudge value, the nudge value is right up here.
This value is based on your timeline, so for example, if you're working in bars and beats the value will be based on musical time. And if you're working in minutes and seconds, it will be based on clock time. For this example, let's set our nudge value to one-quarter note. Make sure you have a clip selected, or a selection on a clip, and on the numeric keypad, press the + key to nudge forward in time, or the - key to nudge backwards in time. Notice that this will follow our nudge value, so if I wanted to nudge by an eighth note, I'd need to set my value to one-eighth note.
Then nudging will move in increments of eighth notes. If you are working on a laptop without a numeric keypad, you can use the key command Ctrl+period or Ctrl+comma on a Mac or start+period or start+comma in Windows. Also with commands keyboard focus enabled, you can use the comma and the period keys to nudge forwards and backwards. Now lets make a selection with in a click. Notice that if a selection is within a clip the selection moves but the clip does not. If the selection contains a full clip like we already saw the clip itself will move.
One thing I should point out about nudging though is that it's really easy to go a little overboard trying to get everything aligned perfectly. And this can actually take away from your musical performance, so be careful not to over edit and maybe rerecord a performance if it needs drastic editing rather than wasting lots of time trying to fix something. Editing audio in Pro Tools is really straightforward, especially once you know the functions, tools, and commands. While the specific workflows of using Pro Tools may differ from those in other DAWs, the underlying tasks are universal.
- Exploring the Pro Tools interface
- Selecting inputs, outputs, and busses
- Understanding signal paths and gain stages
- Setting up Pro Tools hardware and software properly
- Importing audio from multiple sources
- Recording and editing audio and MIDI
- Adjusting time, tempo, meter, key, and chord in arrangements
- Adding automated delay
- Mixing and mastering a session
- Setting up an effects loop
- Importing and displaying video
- Adding music, Foley, ADR, and FX
- Archiving a session