Winter 2016

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58 CINEMONTAGE / Q1 2016 58 CINEMONTAGE / Q1 2016 TECH TIPS by Joseph Herman A vid Pro Tools is the world's standard when it comes to DAWs and is used by professional post-production sound mixers, film composers and recording artists all over to create post-production sound and to compose and record music. Last time I reviewed Pro Tools for CineMontage (SEP-OCT 2013) was for version 11. Since then, the software has been upgraded and enhanced, with Pro Tools 12.4 being its latest incarnation, released late December 2015. We'll begin with a few words about Pro Tools 12 in general and later focus on the new features and enhancements in the latest versions, 12.3 and 12.4. Pro Tools 12 was announced early last year along with Pro Tools First, a free but capable version of the software. On the professional side, Pro Tools 12 introduced new flexible licensing options that allows you to buy and own the software outright (the same way you've always done), but now with the ability to purchase a monthly ($29.99) or yearly ($24.99 per month) subscription for the software, a useful option for part-time or casual users. Avid Pro Tools 12 also announced cloud collaboration to enable groups of people to work together, regardless of location, on projects stored on a centralized media platform. It's part of their Avid Everywhere vision and will offer ways for mixers, musicians and producers to collaborate with each other through a global media network, as well as market their skills and creations on the Avid Marketplace. Version 12 of the software also offered improved I/O setup, unlimited busses and in-app plug-in purchases and rentals. Pro Tools 12.2 saw even more enhancements, such as the addition of VCA Masters, which is a better way to control a group of tracks with one master control track, a feature previously only available in Pro Tools HD. With VCA you can group a bunch of tracks together and adjust them as a group while still having the ability to adjust the level of each track individually— without having to ungroup it all first (see Figure 1). Disk Cache was also introduced in Pro Tools 12.2. Sometimes with large Pro Tools sessions, hard drives can cause playback errors. With Disk Cache, Pro Tools can take your entire session and load it into RAM, which provides much better performance. Disk Cache is important since you want to minimize any pauses or interruptions during the creative process (see Figure 2). Avid Pro Tools 12.2 also includes advanced metering options with 17 different meter types, as well as the ability to display gain reduction for each track. You can choose to display the gain reduction for compressors/limiters, expanders/gates or the sum of all compressors and expanders. This is a feature found in high-end mixing consoles, and is something that professional audio engineers will appreciate. You can also choose to view the gain reduction for each individual plug-in assigned to a track. VERSION 12.3 With the release of version 12.3 of Pro Tools came several new and exciting enhancements and features, including the new Commit function. With it, you can render out audio or midi to a separate track without having to go through a bunch of steps to do it like you had to in previous versions of Pro Tools — by having to bounce it to disk first and re-import it back into the session (see Figure 3). Pro Tools Keeps Sharpening Its Edge Figure 1: VCA Masters has been added to Pro Tools. In the image above, the VCA track is controlling the four Audio Tracks to the left of it.

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