Learn how to configure the Grid setting and about the difference between Absolute Grid Mode and Relative Grid Mode.
- As we covered in an earlier chapter, selecting the proper edit mode is a critical first step when you begin to edit and arrange the media on your tracks. In a music-based project, timing between tracks is critical to keep your audio rhythmically aligned. If you've set your session tempo properly, and used it as a reference during recording, then editing in Grid Mode can offer numerous advantages. Let's look at how we can use grid-based editing for music production work, and along the way I'll explain the difference between absolute grid and relative Grid Modes, and give you suggestions for when to use each.
We'll start off by exploring grid values for selecting and editing on this drums track. I've selected a section of drums from an original performance at 90 beats per minute. Let's give it a listen. And let me clear the solo first. (drums) All right, so what we'd like to do at this point really is to hear the drums play back over and over again and repeat on themselves, because this section will repeat seamlessly, at least that's the hope, and to try it out, we can enable a function called Loop Playback.
Now Loop Playback is available for us under the options menu. When Loop Playback is enabled, you'll notice a looping arrow on the play button in the transport controls. So let's listen to the playback again and see how it loops. (drums) Sounds good to me, so that tells me if I wanted to, I could use this clip as a repeating pattern in my session. The other thing we're going to explore is how we could potentially edit the drums using grid-based editing.
I'll use my selector tool to select a specific number of beats with my grid set to quarter notes. If I select four beats I'll have a one bar pattern. (drums) And that one bar pattern repeats on itself fairly nicely. But let's try it out with a three beat pattern instead of a four beat pattern. (drums) So that's giving me some creative ideas of how I might use this drum pattern in a different context.
We can try out other options by changing our grid setting. So if I select eighth notes here and remake my selection I can try out a different pattern. (drums) So that should give you some idea of the variations you can create using Grid Mode. Let's take a look at some editing variations we might choose to do. So with this pattern we're starting off with two kicks at the beginning. (drums) And then a snare at the end.
And so we can change that pattern by selecting a different beat to begin and copying it to the clipboard, and then pasting that in instead of the two kicks that we had. (drums) You get the idea. And we can do other creative manipulation here if we choose by selecting different patterns from different locations and copying and pasting them in just to give our overall performance a little variation and again, just trying to come up with some creative ideas here.
(drums) So there's a lot of creative stuff you can do with grid-based editing. Those are just a few examples. At this point, I'm going to switch gears and show you how I've used these drums in this session in a completely different way. Going to the beginning of the session, you'll notice I've got a different tempo here. This is 120 beats per minute. So I changed the drum performance using Elastic Audio. Now that goes a bit beyond the scope of this course, but suffice it to say, I've used it to change the tempo of the drums.
Now let's take a listen in context. (slow rock music) Now you may recognize the pattern, but it's slowed down considerably. (slow rock music) Now I'd like to show you some other types of editing we can do using Grid Mode. At the end of this session, we have an area that kind of builds up towards the conclusion, and I've brought in some extra drums, actually from the original performance, to supplement the feel at the end.
(slow rock music) Now they're in time with the original. We'll solo the two drums tracks and I'll just play the ending there for you so you can hear it. (drums) But now that I listened to it I'd really like those drums to come in at the end where the final conclusion is which is a bar later from where they're currently located. Because this drums clip begins exactly on the grid, at bar 32, beat one, I can use Grid Mode to move it exactly one bar later by clicking and dragging until I get to bar 33, beat one.
Once I have it in position, Grid Mode will snap it exactly to the start of the bar. (drums) So you can hear it's still in time, but now it ends where I want it to. Now that technique won't always work. As an example I'll show you this section of vocals towards the end. Now they're currently in time, but they're a beat too early. (slow rock vocals and drums) All right, so timing-wise it's fine, but the vocals are early so I want to move later.
The problem is here, that if I make my edit in Grid Mode the vocals will move out of time. (vocals and drums) 'Cause they weren't cut on the grid in the first place. So to make it easier to move these vocals, I'm going to change my grid value to quarter notes so I can easily move the vocals one quarter note later. The problem is now if I move the clip in Grid Mode, the start of the clip snaps to the grid, taking the whole vocal out of timing alignment.
So let's undo that. Fortunately, Pro Tools provides a solution for us in the form of Relative Grid Mode. In Relative Grid Mode we can move our clips by grid increments, in this case quarter notes, while maintaining the offset from the grid. Now as I move the clip, it's a quarter note later but it retains its original offset from the grid. (slow rock music) Keeping the timing within the clip aligned with the session. (slow rock music) So those are just a few simple ways that you can use Grid Mode for music production.
Anytime that you need to keep a performance aligned to a rhythmic grid, you can use the grid options in Pro Tools to help. Set the appropriate grid value using the grid value pop up menu to the right of the counter's display. Use Absolute Grid Mode for audio that's cut on the grid, and Relative Grid Mode for audio that's currently in time where the clip falls between grid lines. Between these two modes, you will always be able to keep your audio time aligned to the session grid and tempo.
- Getting started with Pro Tools menus, windows, and edit tools
- Creating a session
- Creating a click track
- Recording audio
- Importing audio and video
- Recording, viewing, and editing MIDI data
- Selecting and navigating within tracks
- Adding markers
- Editing clips
- Creating fade effects
- Mixing tracks and adding automation
- Backing up a session
- Bouncing a mix to disk
Skill Level Beginner
Q. This course was updated on 03/23/2017. What changed?
A. Challenges and solutions were added to chapters 3–10 and three videos were updated in the first couple chapters.