A step closer to sound design in Pro Tools

Before uploading a few example of sound design used in a variety of tracks, here’s a task I’ve used at college to help students familiarise themselves with Pro Tools and in particular the four elastic time algorithms available.

Stage 1

Before you start importing and editing, use the main counter selector to choose min:secs:

main counter selector

Import (shift command I) the 24 bit stereo wav “Bombat” and choose ‘new track’ to place it at the start of a stereo audio track.

imported track to start

NB: If you import “Bombat” from the Workspace browser (alt semicolon), by dragging it from Workspace to the Tracks list column (on the left of the Edit screen) ‘ it will be placed on a stereo audio track automatically, but make sure that the Workspace metronome icon (conform to tempo) is not highlighted (green).

workspace - time conform off

Make a cut/edit (separate region at selection) (shift E) at the first transient. (To accurately place the Selector tool (F7) at the edit point, choose Slip mode (F2).)

The Audio Zoom Out tool (first on the left), which magnifies a track’s amplitude display, is at maximum.

audio zoom out tool

Here, the track size is ‘extreme’.

first transient

Select Shuffle (F1), then select the Grabber tool (F8).  Click on the unwanted region, to the left of the edit and backspace to remove it.

NB: All edits and most processes are non-destructive.  Undo (command Z) will allow a maximum of 32 stages (of undo).

Because you selected Shuffle, on removing the unwanted region, the remainder of the audio file automatically moves / shuffles to the left – in this case to the start (otherwise to the nearest region).

Now, using your musical sensibilities, work through the track, using Identify Beat (shift command I) to tempo map the track.

NB: the track starts with an anacrusis (upbeat), it’s in 4/4 with the exception of bar 33 which is in 7/8.

Having established the tempo of your first chosen region, switch the main display to Bars|Beats and create a click track for audio confirmation that the identified tempo is correct.

The track is 8:20 and needs to be mapped in it’s entirety (302 bars).

Stage 2

Make edits at the following places to create six regions of varying duration:

bar 101|1|000   2 bars

bar 154|2|000   3 beats (ie. crotchet / quarter note)

bar 162|3 |000   1 quaver (or eighth note)

bar 188|1|000   4 bars

bar 285|3|000   2 beats

bar 300|1|000   1 bar

Create a new stereo audio track, name it “edits”, and using the Grabber tool (F8) in Slip mode (F2), alt drag the six regions above to it.

NB: by alt dragging you make a copy of the region, rather than removing it from the original track.

Double click on each of the regions in ‘edits’ and name them (in upper case) A – F.

Return to the start and choose the playlist selector of ‘edits’ (ie. the triangle pull down menu selector)

playlist selector

and choose  ‘duplicate’

choose duplicate

this will create a duplicated track, with all the regions in place called ‘edits.01 (2)’.  The next step will render these regions as stereo audio files, so the original ‘edit’ track (or playlist) is a backup.

Mute the orignal “Bombat” track. Select each region in turn (from A – F) using the Grabber tool (F8), press space bar to play.  Make sure the region doesn’t glitch at the start or end – make fine adjustments with the ‘standard’ Trimmer tool (F6).  Select loop playback (shift command L) and make sure the regions loop accurately.  Region C won’t loop at this stage.

Select each region and ‘consolidate region’ (shift alt 3) – this will render regions A – F as audio files.  They’ll automatically take the name of the playlist ie. ‘edit.01_01’, ‘edit.01_02’ etc. so please re-name as follows:

A cr, B cr, C cr…..etc (where cr identifies them as consolidated regions).

Stage 3

Open Workspace (alt semicolon), make sure the metronome (conform to tempo) is highlighted green.  Locate the audio files (within the project you’re working on) and import and ‘place’ all consolidated regions (A cr – F cr) using a  given variety of Elastic Audio options (next to the metronome icon), as follows in this pdf:

remix detail

The pdf above, details every aspect of putting together this remix.  However, it doesn’t include details of all plug-in parameters inserted on the master fader, stereo aux inputs or stereo tracks;  for that, I’ve attached screen snap-shots and a Pro Tools snap-shot of the mix screen.  All plug-ins are ‘multichannel RTAS’, despite the TDM HD2 system we have.  This is done with straightforward transfer to LE systems in mind.

I suggest having imported all necessary audio files, you place them and edit (treat) them as instructed.  Once you have the structure in place, start applying the automation, which I’ll give further information on in stage 4.

Stereo Master Fader – Insert – MAXIM

MAXIM

Stereo Aux Input – D-VERB

D-VERB

Stereo Aux Input – AIR NON-LINEAR REVERB

AIR NON-LINEAR REVERB

Stereo Aux Input – AIR REVERB

AIR REVERB

Stereo Aux Input – AIR FREQUENCY SHIFTER

AIR FREQUENCY SHIFTER

Stereo Aux Input – AIR DYNAMIC DELAY

AIR DYNAMIC DELAY

Now follow – the plug-in inserts for stereo tracks:

stereo track – F cr – air stereo width

F cr - air stereo width

stereo track – E cr poly- air stereo width

E cr poly - air stereo width

stereo track – C cr rhyt – air dynamic delay

C cr rhyt - air dynamic delay

stereo track – D cr poly – air stereo width

D cr poly- air stereo width

stereo track – B cr poly 1 – air stereo width

B cr poly 1 - air stereo width

stereo track – B cr poly 2 – air stereo width

B cr poly 2 - air stereo width

stereo track – D cr vari – EQ3 1-band

D cr vari - EQ3 1-band

Stage 4

Your Pro Tools mix screen should now look something like this:

REMIX - MIX SCREEN

You’ll need to prepare for automation, the following parameters on these tracks:

F cr – air stereo width – PAN

E cr poly – air stereo width – PAN

D cr poly – air stereo width – PAN

Looking at the plug-in window, click the ‘sqaure on sqare’ button, below “Auto” (the “plug-in automation enable” button)

plug-in auto enable

and in the window that opens as a result, add the appropriate parameter to the right hand column

plug-in automation window

Doing this adds that parameter to the edit screen’s “Track View Selector”  pull down menu list

edit screen track pull down menu

Right.  That should be enough detail to be getting on with.

Remember, digest the various approaches and treatments and at every stage imagine how you might use them in your own creative projects but especially in assessment 5.

The final thing to do is produce a 16 bit 44.1 KHz stereo interleaved wav bounce down.  Please personalise the title with your initials eg “GS bombat remix”.

Good luck.

About Gareth Stuart 80 Articles
studio owning tonmeister/pro tools engineer/musician/producer, p/t university lecturer, dad/husband, ironman (triathlete) & keen skier

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