Join Skye Lewin for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with clip groups, part of Pro Tools 12 Essential Training.
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- Clip groups in Pro Tools make editing and moving large sections of audio extremely easy. A clip group is a combination of several audio clips and even midi clips, that act like a single clip when manipulated together. Using clip groups, you can easily do things like rearrange the song structure, or create a clip group for keeping multiple drum tracks phase aligned while editing. Creating a clip group is really easy. Let's highlight all the clips on our guitar track here. I'm gonna click and select cmd+A, or you could use ctrl+A in Windows, and from the Clip menu, choose Group.
You can also use the key command cmd+opt+g on a Mac, or ctrl+alt+g in Windows. It doesn't matter if the clips underneath the highlighted area are separated or contiguous. The clip group will include whatever audio, midi, or silence you highlight. I'm going to undo this and add a little silence before the clip, or use the key command shift+return to go to the beginning of the session and keep that selection added to our current selection, and I'll create a new clip group. You can see that the silence is also included in the clip group.
I'm going to undo this one more time, and I'm going to make a new clip group that just goes through the beginning of bar four. Let's say that I wanted to double this section here. Now this isn't a really musical selection, but as an example, I can accomplish doubling this by either using copy and paste. So I will copy, click, and tab to jump to the end of the clip, since tab to transience is not enabled, and then I can paste. I'm going to undo that, or I can double this with the Duplicate function.
As you can see, it's really easy to use clip groups to double and rearrange sections of a song. Now, I'm going to undo and get rid of this clip group. Now let's make a new clip group containing both midi and audio. I'm going to double-click to select the Mini Grand midi clip, and I'm going to hold the shift key and click on the Piano track to select the piano clip. Now I can create a new group that contains both audio and midi data. Let's look at the Clips list, and over here we can see that this icon indicates that both midi and audio are in this clip group.
I'm going to undo, make another one with just audio, this time I'll use the key command cmd+opt+g, or ctrl+alt+g, and we can see that the icon for this clip group reflects that there's only audio in the clip group. I'm going to undo one more time, and make another clip group with only this Mini Grand midi clip in it. Here, this icon shows us that there's only midi in this clip group. You can also ungroup an existing group. From the Clip menu, you can select Ungroup or Ungroup All.
You can also use the key command cmd+opt+u on a Mac, or ctrl+alt+u in Windows. This will return us to the status that we had just before we made the group. If you need to edit one of the clips within a clip group, you can ungroup the clip group, make the edit, and then choose Regroup. You don't actually have to make a new clip group after making the edit. So let's try it. I'm going to make a clip group with both the piano midi and audio. I'm going to ungroup the clip group using the key command, I'm going to make an edit, let's say in this case I'll just delete a small section, and then I can regroup.
We can regroup from the Clip menu, and we can also use the key command cmd+opt+r on a Mac, or ctrl+alt+r in Windows. You can see that the clip group now reflects the change that I made on the Piano track. One of the best things about clip groups is that you can do all the same things you would do with any other type of clip, including selecting, trimming, separating, naming, moving, cutting, copying, pasting, muting, locking and adding fades or crossfades. You can even loop and navigate using tab and tab to transience.
Let's play around with this a bit. So, I'll trim the beginning of this clip group. Maybe delete a section here, put in a fade-out, put in a fade-in, and maybe I'll move the second half here. So treating these clip groups much like audio clips, we can manipulate large sections of audio and midi at the same time. I should point out that two things happen when you trim a clip group. First, when you trim a clip group, it does not trim the underlying clips. The underlying audio and midi clips retain their original length and location.
Also, when you're using the TCE Trimmer tool, it applies only to the audio tracks to lengthen or shorten them and creates new clips over the clip group. Let's try that. Going to undo to remove the fade, select the TCE Trimmer tool, and trim our clip group. You can see that this separates the clip group and creates a new audio clip on top of the clip group. I'm going to undo this, and I also want to point out that while fades and crossfades can be used on clip groups, they'll only apply to the audio clips within the clip group.
Notice how here where we made our fade-out earlier, we can see it on the audio, but there's nothing on the midi. If you ungroup the clip group, the fades that you make on top of the clip group will be removed. However, if you regroup the clip group, it will restore the fades or crossfades. So I'll zoom out, gonna switch to the Smart Tool, select our clip group, and I'm going to ungroup it using the key command, and we see the fade disappears. Now if I regroup it, the fade's still there. Now what happens if you decide to record onto a track within the clip group? I'm going to go ahead and record enable the Piano track.
And even though I don't have anything plugged in, we can still record, and we'll just get silence. Start recording. And stop. When you record audio or midi over a clip group, new clips are created over the existing clip group instead of being included in the clip group. I'm going to undo that recording. And I'm going to deactivate the record enable on the piano track. If you want to record into a clip group, first, ungroup the clip group, then record, then regroup the clip group.
Another useful thing to know about clip groups is that they have the same time-based format that is samples or ticks, as the tracks on which they reside. Mixed clip groups have both sample-based and tick-based tracks, just like our Piano and MIni Grand clip group here. If you change the tempo in the session, clip groups on the tick-based tracks will adjust to the new tempo, and their lengths will shift accordingly. But sample-based clip groups will not change, as you can see here. By changing the tempo, we've separated the clip group between the sample-based and tick-based tracks.
And you can see the separated clip group icon at the bottom of the clip group. If you want to review the differences between samples and ticks, check out the video about that topic earlier on this course. One last thing about clip groups is that Pro Tools can import and export clip group files. The file format is .rgrp. So let's select the clip group in the Clips list and from the Clips list pop-up menu, we can choose Export Clip Groups. Choosing this option will save the file where we specify. We can also later import the clip groups that we've exported by going to the File menu, and from the Import menu, choosing Clip Groups.
This is a great feature for bringing multi-track loops into a session, or pulling complexly edited sequences from one session into another. Clip groups are really useful organizational tools for arranging the parts of a song. I use them all the time, and I'm sure you'll find other ways to use them aside from what we've talked about in this video.
- Exploring the Pro Tools interface
- Connecting hardware
- Adjusting preferences and settings
- Selecting inputs, outputs, and busses
- Understanding signal paths and gain stages
- Defining input and output settings
- Importing audio
- Recording and editing audio and MIDI
- Composing with virtual instruments
- Adjusting time, tempo, meter, key, and chords in arrangements
- Using delay compensation
- Mixing and mastering
- Exporting to MP3
- Setting up an effects loop (sends and returns)
- Importing and working with video
- Working to picture with music, Foley, ADR, and FX
- Archiving a session
- Using cloud collaboration in Pro Tools 12.5