Join Joe Godfrey for an in-depth discussion in this video Overview of the interface, part of Pro Tools 7 LE Essential Training.
- [Instructor] So now that we've opened our Pro Tools session. There are three windows open for us. The Mix window is a big grey window with a grey background. The Transport window is a series of little buttons and the Edit window has the white background. The Transport window always floats to the top, no matter where we drop it. Sometimes is actually covers up things we want to see. So, sometimes the trick is to find the nice place for the Transport window. Command + 1, the one on your keypad.
Not the one above the letter Q, will turn the Transport window on and off. You can also do that in the Windows menu, Transport. So for now, we'll Command + 1 it out of our way. Command + Equals shuttles you between the Edit window and the Mix window. You'll find a command for that in the Windows menu, Command + Equals. It will always show you the other window. If you're in the Mix window, Command + Equals will take you to the Edit window. If you're in the Edit window, back to the Mix window.
We don't need the mix window for now, so we'll close that. And we'll resize the Edit window to maximum size and fill the screen. Now this is an Edit window with no tracks in it yet and we'll add those in a few minutes. But let's examine what's in the Edit window for now. In the upper left-hand corner is this group of four buttons. Shuffle, Slip, Spot and Grid. These are the Edit modes and you'll use each of them to accomplish different things. We'll go into each of them in greater detail as we do different projects.
But the main difference between Shuffle and Slip is that Shuffle inserts, deletes and rearranges blocks of time and Slip leaves things in place. For instance, if you wanted to insert an eight-bar guitar solo after the bridge of your song and push everything that comes back after it eight bars, you would use Shuffle mode. If you wanted to delete something and fill the gap, you would use Shuffle mode. If you want to leave the gap so you can fill it with something else, you would use Slip mode.
So, Shuffle fills and makes gaps. Slip leaves things in place. Film editors, you already know this as Inserts edits and Overwrite edits. Pro Tools can display movies and we use Spot mode when we want to place a sound on a particular frame of film where the playhead is part. It's faster than typing time code addresses. And we use Grid mode when we're editing on the beat, so that all our regions stay locked onto the beat. We also use Grid to slice up rhythmic sounds into mathematically accurate slices.
Next to the four mode buttons are the zoom buttons. You can zoom in, zoom out and store various zoom settings. I'm going to show you a better way to zoom than these buttons are though. Next to the zoom buttons are six buttons that give you the power of editing in Pro Tools. And we'll examine these as we do different projects. There's a Zoomer. There's a Trimmer that let's you set in and out points. There's a selector, so that we can pick precise areas to edit with. There's a grabber that let's you move things around on the timeline.
There's a Scrubber, so that we can go fast-forward and back. Kind of like rocking the tape heads, like engineers use to do. And the pencil let's us do lot's of different things. Including actually writing music with it. Writing MIDI notes that will play on a keyboard. You'll notice that some of these buttons and the Grid mode button, have little arrows below them. That means there's more than one tool in the button. And we'll examine what these do in later chapters too. But these are the default tools that you work with most often.
To the right of these buttons are counters. A numeric display of where you are on the timeline. And then the Start, End and Length of any region that you've selected. Pro Tools always displays a main counter and a sub counter. And these can be switched between minutes and seconds, bars and beats and samples. Our next exercise will show you how to use this. To the right of all that is a mini-Transport. I'm going to Command + 1. Actually I'll go to the Window and do Transport. And you can see that we have a play button, a fast-forward, a stop.
And these buttons are replicated up here. So this is a mini-Transport. It let's you do a lot of what you do here without the Transport window getting in your way. You can reach up here to play and to stop. But most Pro Tools users like to use the space bar to play and to stop. Back over on the left, there are two calendar looking icons. The left one has options for Comments and Inserts and Track Colors. Let's turn them all on and we can see that it puts lot's of little columns in here, in the Edit window.
Which gives us access to information. Comments is a place where we'd want to store information like, recorded on a certain date using a certain kind of mic. Inserts and Sends, we'll deal with later as we start the mix. But for now, let's turn all these off. Keep a nice clean timeline. The other little icon let's us choose the rulers that we see across the top of the Edit window. For broadcast, we need to see minutes and seconds. For music, we're usually more concerned with bars and beats. It's usually a good idea to show the ruler that you need for whatever you're doing and then hide the other rulers.
So you're timeline's not so cluttered. You can set the default ruler here. Or you can go to the View menu and there's a Rulers menu and you have basically the same menu to pick from there. We also see that there's a Track menu with a lot of options for hiding and showing tracks. A Group menu, with some options for making and suspending groups. The Group menu can be raised up so that it's higher by using this little grey bar. You can resize the horizontal component of those menus by using this vertical grey bar.
If you want this Track menu and this Group menu to go away completely, this double-arrow in the lower left-hand corner will push them out of the way. If you want them back, click the arrow again and they come back. On the right-hand side of the Edit window there's a Regions menu with lot's of options that we'll explore as we go on. Again, if you want that to go away. You hit the double-arrow, it goes away. Double-arrow, brings it back. The Regions menu is where audio that you import or record hangs out, even if it's not currently on the timeline.
Some programs might call this the bin or the asset bin. And once we have audio in here, we'll be able to sort it and select it in all sorts of ways. And this is also where we would export individual files and where we delete files that we're not using from our session. So now it's time to look at importing some audio.
- Understanding the file structure
- Editing a simple sound effect
- Recording and editing an announcer
- Using the grid
- Creating bar- and beat-based markers
- Placing lyrics on a timeline
- Choosing and installing plug-ins
- Tracking and overdubbing
- Recording and modifying MIDI
- Importing visuals into Pro Tools
- Experimenting with automation
- Mixing and saving mixing templates