SOUND ROOM: Using Pro Tools HD Native

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jstenner
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SOUND ROOM: Using Pro Tools HD Native

#1 Post by jstenner »

Here are some notes related to working in the sound room. Our hardware is an Avid HD Native system using the HD Omni interface (that little rack item to the left under the shelf in front of you) with the latest Avid Pro Tools software (11.3.2 as of Fall 2016). Our speaker system is composed of 5 Genelec 8030a studio monitors and 1 Genelec 7060b studio subwoofer.

When you launch Pro Tools it will present a dialog, asking how you want to proceed. Every Pro Tools project is considered a "session." If you're starting from scratch, you'll want to select "Create Blank Session." The key thing here is to select the I/O Setting template (I/O = input/output) that we have configured for you in the I/O Settings dropdown in the following dialog:
Blank_Session.png
The other elements in that dialog can be set based on the needs of your project, but A+T Default Surround is the required mapping of inputs and outputs needed to correctly route sound to the appropriate speakers, and other inputs/outputs on our workstation. Notice that our system is a 5.1 Surround system. Look around and you'll see 5 speakers and a subwoofer. These are defined in the software as L, R, C, Ls, Rs, LFE, which stands for Left, Right, Center, Left Surround, Right Surround, and Low Frequency Effect.

NEVER ADJUST THE AUDIO VOLUME ON THE INDIVIDUAL SPEAKERS THEMSELVES!

The concept is that we are MONITORING our audio with our speaker system. These speakers are very expensive because they are designed to produce what is called "reference quality" audio. If you properly handle your audio in this environment, you can be sure it will sound proper elsewhere. Therefore, you want to adjust the MONITOR volume using the knob on the HD Omni interface. The volume knob is #1 in the image below, and you can monitor the decibel output value in the LED panel labelled MONITOR above the knob when you turn it:
ProToolsHD_OMNI_Front.jpg
So, now you're wondering what knob #2 does! That is your control for the input volume coming from the microphone (or other audio inputs) on this system. Currently, we have Audio input 1 and input 2 connected to the sound booth (notice the panel with XLR cables behind you). By pressing on the knob, you can individually select each of these inputs and "trim" the input volume coming from the microphone inside the booth. If you have a shy voiceover artist, you should turn this knob up so you actually have a waveform on your recording inside Pro Tools (i.e. you can hear them).

Of course, there are many other buttons and elements on the face of the Omni. If you need to know more, you can download the Quick Guide below. One thing that I've seen trip students up, is they won't hear sound, tell me that "it doesn't work," and I'll look at the front panel of the Omni and the MUTE button has been pressed. Make sure MUTE is NOT red/enabled :-)

Here's the manual with a basic instructions on the HD Omni interface, but you shouldn't need it:
HD_OMNI_Guide_v81_67825.pdf
HD Omni Manual
(2.55 MiB) Downloaded 87 times

Sometimes itsy bitsy meddling fingers will randomly poke buttons and mess up our Pro Tools configuration, then walk away, leaving you with a setup that does not work (i.e. no sound output)! If that happens to you, take a look at the settings below to determine how the machine should be configured to work properly in our environment. Most of these settings are defaults, but sometimes they get changed by elves.

Setup->Hardware Setup:
Pro_Tools_Setup.03.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.04.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.05.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.06.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.07.png

Setup->Playback Engine:
Pro_Tools_Setup.08.png

Setup->Peripherals (note Fader Port Config!):
Pro_Tools_Setup.09.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.10.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.11.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.12.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.13.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.14.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.15.png

Setup->I/O Setup:
Pro_Tools_Setup.16.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.17.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.18.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.19.png

Pro Tools HD Preferences:
Pro_Tools_Setup.20.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.21.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.22.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.23.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.24.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.25.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.26.png
Pro_Tools_Setup.27.png

FaderPort: Remote control of Pro Tools from inside the Sound Booth

You should be able to control Pro Tools using the Presonus Fader Port control panel inside the Sound Booth. It's this little USB device, usually resting on the stool:
Presonus_Fader_Port.jpg
If it's not working, it may be because your setup is not configured properly. Here's what you need to do. It's very simple:
FaderPort - Pro Tools Setup.pdf
(326.99 KiB) Downloaded 88 times

Working with Final Cut Pro

It's an industry standard workflow to pass audio from the film world to the audio world, since video editing software typically only has basic audio tools. For Final Cut Pro, we have an application installed on the audio workstation called X2Pro Audio Convert. The general workflow is that you do your initial audio/video sequence in FCPX, then export an "EDL" (Edit Decision List) as an XML file from FCPX. You can then load the file into X2Pro Audio Convert and produce an AAF Audio File. This "audio file" can be loaded into Pro Tools and it will produce a session that replicates/syncs with your project in FCPX. You can even see the video simultaneous with the audio! There are a number of features you might want to investigate here.
X2Pro_Audio_Convert.png
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jstenner
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Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:33 pm

Getting Started with Pro Tools and Audio Synthesis

#2 Post by jstenner »

Okay, so the hardware is configured and working properly. Now, what? As a starting point you need to know the basics of Pro Tools. It's a lot like Photoshop. You'll never learn to do EVERYTHING it can do, BUT, by learning the basics, you will be able to do just about anything you'll ever need to do.

Beginners Guide to Pro Tools on Pluralsight.
or
Up and Running with Pro Tools on Lynda.com

Once you are comfortable using the Pro Tools interface, can record and export audio, you'll want to learn how to generate your own sound! That can involve a combination of manipulating found sound as well as what is called additive synthesis. The keyboard to your left is a Native-Instruments Komplete Kontrol S-Series keyboard. It is a MIDI keyboard. That means it doesn't produce sound on its own, it sends MIDI signals into the computer (including Pro Tools) to drive software synthesizers installed on our workstation.

Synth Programming Basics on Lynda.com
Synthesis and Sampling with Absynth on Lynda.com

You might also want to look on Lynda.com and elsewhere for tutorials on Reaktor, Massive, Battery, FM8, Guitar Rig, Kontact and some of the other virtual instruments we have installed. We have the Native-Instruments KOMPLETE set of tools as well as the AIR set that comes from Avid. The workstation also includes an install of Ableton as well as Max/MSP.

Native Instruments Komplete 11 Tutorial on Lynda.com
The master of disaster!

jstenner
Site Admin
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:33 pm

Some Pro Tools shortcuts

#3 Post by jstenner »

Here are some key Pro Tools shortcuts that you can refer to without scouring the manual/Internet:

I like to set PT up like this->
Setup Preferences:
Organize Plugins - Category & Manufacturer
Mixing -> Default EQ EQ3 7 Band
Mixing -> Default Dynamics BF-76
MIDI Automatically create click track

Keyboard Shortcuts:
a-z button to enable keyboard shortcuts (the little black/yellow button upper right in Edit view)
Pro ToolsScreenSnapz001.jpg
Pro ToolsScreenSnapz001.jpg (18.65 KiB) Viewed 1108 times
Cmd + "=" to toggle between Mix and Edit view
spacebar to start/stop playback
“t” to zoom into Edit
“r” to zoom out of Edit
Use Smart Select (grouped buttons) to work with clips contextually (based on mouse position):
Pro ToolsScreenSnapz002.jpg
Pro ToolsScreenSnapz002.jpg (15.56 KiB) Viewed 1107 times

Option + Command + "[" or "]" to scale up and down the display of a waveform.
“b” = split clip at playhead
Ctrl + Opt + Cmd + up or down arrow = will scale Mix or Edit window to fill width of monitor in upper or lower half and fit tracks in window.
Cmd + “m” to mute selection
Shift + “;” to select next track down

Tip:
If MIDI is not playing, make sure that in Options->MIDI Thru is enabled.

If you’re not hearing sound through an Aux track (but you see signal in the meters), then it might need to be put on “solo safe” mode. Command + click the S and it will be solo’d along with the track that’s feeding it.

EXCELLENT web app for Pro Tools shortcuts:
http://www.protoolskeyboardshortcuts.com/
The master of disaster!

jstenner
Site Admin
Posts: 70
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:33 pm

Using Pro Tools with Ableton Live

#4 Post by jstenner »

The computer in the sound room has the latest version of Ableton Live installed. It's helpful to link it with Pro Tools so you can use them together. It's really easy. Here's a tutorial on how to use the built in ReWire plugin to make them talk to each other:

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