Pro Tools First Tutorial | Pro Tools First for Podcasts

Pro Tools First Tutorial | Pro Tools First for Podcasts

Hey, hey, audio people. Welcome back to the
Pod Sound School. Or if this is your first time here, I’m Studio Steve. And if you’re
looking to get better at Pro Tools First, you are in the right place. On today’s video, we’re going to cover some
very basic Pro Tools operations, like setting up a new track, recording a little bit of
audio, making some edits to that audio, and then applying effects to that audio. This is a great preliminary video that’s going
to show you how to get up and running quick. And I’m also going to show you the quick keys
you’ll need to learn and memorize in order to move forward. And good habits, we want
to develop good habits right from the beginning with Pro Tools so that when we are advanced
Pro Tools operators later, we can be as fast and as efficient as we can possibly be. Okay, well, let’s dive in. But before we do,
remember to hit the subscribe button, and also hit that bell button. That way you can
be notified when we post new videos each week. Okay, let’s get to it. [inaudible 00:00:54]. You know I never realized before that you
were so [inaudible 00:00:59]. So right here, there’s the dashboard that
defaults every time you open up Pro Tools. I’m just going to name this PT Basics. This
is a feature I’m not going to cover in this video, we’re not going to talk about this.
I like to turn it off myself when you’re just doing something basic, if you don’t need it
backed up to the cloud. And press create. Now here we are in a basic Pro Tools session.
I have configured the workspace here to the way I like it. Remember, by pressing command
equals, or control equals if you’re on a PC, you will toggle between the edit window and
the mix window. Memorize that quick key, you’re going to use it a lot. Now, do you remember the quick key for setting
up a new track? It is shift command N, or shift control N on a PC. We’re going to go
ahead and do that. And when we do that, this window pops up. This is our new track window.
Notice here it says one, has a dropdown menu that says mono, has another one that says
audio track, and another one that says ticks. Now, what we could do is we could use our
mouse and we can come here and simply select stereo or mono. We can select if we want an
audio track, an aux input, a master fader, a mini track, or an instrument track. So let’s
say we want a mono audio track, and then we can press create. Well, I don’t want you to do that because
I want you to get away from using your mouse as much as possible. The more we can use quick
keys in Pro Tools, the better off we’re going to be. So let’s go ahead and go up here where
it says track and say delete, and delete that track, because we set it up the lazy way. Okay, now we’re going to set up the track
in the most efficient way. Let’s press shift command N, there’s our new track window. Now,
if you hold the command or the control button down, and you press the right and left arrow,
it will toggle between mono and stereo. Whoa, that’s really cool. You see that toggling.
If you hold the command or control button down and press up or down on the arrows, it
will toggle between what type of track it is. Now, simply by clicking the arrow a few
times, I can go between an audio track, an aux input, or a master fader, which are going
to be the three I’m going to use most often. And if you’re into music production and MIDI
production, you’ll also do MIDI tracks and instrument tracks as well. Now that I have
it saying create one mono audio track, press the return or the enter key, and there is
our track. Now, let’s do that one more time, only this
time we’re going to use it to create multiple tracks. So shift command N, now that you’ll
see the one is highlighted in green. You can simply type in a different number here. So
let’s say four. Now it says four mono audio tracks. And I like that, so I’m going to go
ahead and say create. Now you’ll see I have five audio tracks here. It’s always good practice before we get into
recording to name our audio tracks. So let me show you a quick way to do this. If we
go to audio one here and double click on where it says audio one, you’ll notice the name
of the track pops up, and we can rename the track. Let’s call this Kick Drum. Now, what
we could do is come down here with our mouse and press next. That’s a fairly efficient
way of doing it and that will bring us to the next track. Many people will press okay here and then
double click here on two, and say snare, and go through that whole process. That isn’t
the quickest way. The quickest way is to go up here to where it says kick, and now you
can hold the command button and press down, and it goes down to the next track. So now
we command down to audio three, and name this High Hat. Now we command down to audio four
and we name this Tom, and now we command down to audio five and we name this Tom 2. Look
how quick that was to set up those tracks. This is really important. So take some time
and just practice setting up tracks without using your mouse. If you do it, it’s like
learning how to play an instrument, at first it’s going to feel a little slow, you’re going
to have to remember command down, command to the right, but you’re going to develop
good Pro Tools habits later. Okay, so there’s some nifty quick keys that
you will use every single day you’re using Pro Tools. So to remind you those again, we
have command equals, that toggles between the mix and the edit window. We have shift
command N, that creates a new track. And then if we toggle over holding down the command
or the control button, we can change between mono and stereo, up and down between audio
track, aux, master, MIDI, or instrument track. And then enter will do it. I want to go ahead and delete all these tracks
and start over again as if I’m just setting up a session. So I’m going to clear out these
tracks by selecting where it says kick. Then I’m going to hold down shift and select Tom.
You’ll notice now all of these have been highlighted. I go up to track here from the dropdown menu,
and I say delete. Okay, so let’s say I’ve just opened up this
session. The first thing I would do is shift command N, and then I would hold down the
command button and press the right arrow to get to stereo. Still holding down the command
button, I press down twice until I get to master fader. Now I press the return key,
and boom, I have a master fader. I went very slow. That normally is something
I can do in a snap. Now, in a snap, I want to go add four mono audio tracks. You see,
that was just a snap. I’ve trained myself to be able to do that so I can set this up
very quickly. Now with these audio tracks, I would say Vox 1, hold the command and go
down, and I would say Vox 2, hold the command and down, Vox 3, hold the command and down,
Vox 4. You see how quickly my Pro Tools operation is becoming by just learning these quick keys.
You should be able to set up sessions very quickly when you’re getting going. You want
to be efficient in your workflow. So I’m going to go ahead and record a little
bit of voice so we have something to play with. As I press the record button here, you
can see my voice levels coming through as I talk. Now, do you remember the quick key
for record? It is command or control space bar. You see now it is recording. And after
we have this audio recorded here, I’m going to show you how we can create a couple of
different edits and crossfades to it. And then we’re going to apply two very common
effects to it. We’re going to apply compression, and I’m not really going to get into how compression
works. We have a video here on YouTube all about how compression works. You can check
that video out here. I would definitely recommend doing that. Instead, I’m just going to show
you how to apply compression to a vocal. And I’m going to show you how reverb works. They’re
two different types of effects, and it’s important that you know exactly how to use them in Pro
Tools. So hang around. We’re going to get through it really quickly. You won’t want
to miss this stuff. This is very basic stuff that you need to know. Okay, so that’s enough vocal I think. I’ll
go ahead and press the space bar, which stops it. And now I’m going to unarm the track by
pressing the record button again. Now we can see here that I have a nice tasty vocal track.
I want to see this a little bigger. The easiest way to do that is to take your mouse to the
bottom of the track, and you’ll see this little icon appear when we hover over the intersection
between this track and the track below it. You click and drag, and you’ve got a nice
fat audio track. Now, if I want to zoom in and out on the audio,
the quick key for that is command bracket right or command bracket left. That’s a very
important quick key, and you want to know that. Also control on a PC. Bracketing, or
zooming in and out, this is great. You’ll notice that I have this cursor selected here,
and whenever the selector tool is on, that’s where it will zoom in and out on. That’s really
helpful to know too. So I already know that I want to kind of cut
out these words here in the middle that I said. So I can either highlight those and
then Apple bracket, and it will zoom in, or I can put the cursor right there and I can
zoom in. It’s not necessary for me to play this vocal back, but let’s just say that this
is a word that I don’t want, this middle part. I want to delete it and then I want to put
the two parts around it together and make it a seamless edit. So let’s do that. I’m just going to delete
it like this. And then, there’s a lot of ways that I can bring these together. One really
cool way is by using the shuffle mode up here. Now, I could just select the shuffle mode
with the mouse, but the better thing to do would be to use the quick key. And a refresher
on these quick keys, shuffle is F1, the F1 function key. Slip is F2. Spot is F3. And
grid is F4. So if I go into shuffle mode by pressing F1, now I can access these tools
over here. F8 is my grabber. And if I grab this and start sliding it to the left, it
will snap into place. Now let’s command Z and undo that move. And
let’s press F2 to go back into slip, and you’ll see how this works differently. And if I slip
over too much this way, I can actually slip over the audio. It’s kind of cool that it
becomes transparent so that I can see what I’m doing. This is really cool when you’re
making advanced edits that it’s added this transparency feature. I love it. But I know
that I want it to snap. So we’ll do the F1 shuffle movement again, we snap it. Now, if you remember from our previous video
with modes and tools, and if you haven’t watched that video, go and watch it right now, there
is something called a smart tool, which we can either access by hovering our mouse over
here in this bracket area, or the smart tool, we can press F6, F7, and F8 all at the same
time. Our smart tool is there. With our smart tool, this creates different icons depending
on where we drag our mouse. Here’s the grabber tool, here’s the cursor tool, here’s the fade-in,
fade-out tool, and here at the bottom is a crossfade tool. So now we just drag out a nice teeny little
crossfade, and if I press F7 again to access my cursor, and I command bracket in a bunch
of times, I can see that I’ve made a really nice crossfade there, and there we go. I’m
going to go back to my smart tool again. I’m going to put a fade in at the beginning and
a fade in at the end. Now, here’s one final trick when it comes
to editing this. I’ve listened to this now, I know that this is perfect, exactly how I
want it, I want to be able to move it around without messing with my area that I crossfaded.
I would like this all to be one chunk. Well, to make this all one block, I can use the
grabber tool and highlight the first area, move over here, hold down the shift button
and highlight the second area. Now, if I don’t hold down the shift button, then it’s just
going to go between the two of them. This is the same if I had different regions.
One way you can split regions at your cursor is to press command E. So if I had different
regions here and then I’m F8 for my grabber, I can use my grabber and just grab single
regions, or I can hold down the shift button and grab all the regions. If I start at the
end here with the grabber and then go to the first, it will grab all of those. Now here’s a really cool quick key to memorize.
It’s shift option 3, or on a PC, shift alt 3. If you shift option 3 all together, that
is the quick key for consolidate track. And now, look, I have one beautiful block that,
if I go back into slip mode, I can slip around anywhere I want. I can put it … If I go
to shuffle mode and just go to the left, it’ll bring it all the way to the front of the session.
And now I’ve got a really beautiful voice. Okay, now finally, before we end this video,
I want to show you two effects that you’re probably likely to use and explain why you
want to use them in a different way. The first one is compression. Now, compression falls
into a category of effects called dynamics. Dynamic effects you actually want to apply
onto the track itself. So if we command equals over to our mix window, this is a fun place.
I like to apply my effects here. Many Pro Tools operators like to do these
kind of things from within this edit window. And if you remember from the very first video,
you can go up here to the edit window where it says view, and edit window views, and you
can put these inserts and sends here on the edit window as well to where you can apply
effects. But I, like I said, prefer to do that over
in my mix window. And the reason for that is I like to have more real estate here in
my edit window. And it’s so easy to get over to my mixer by pressing command equals and
toggle between those anytime I want, so why not utilize the space of both? So I am on
Vox 1 here. If I highlight it here, you’ll notice it stays highlighted over here on our
mix window. So how do I put a compressor onto this track?
Well, it’s pretty simple. The compressor is going to be an inserted effect that I put
onto track one. So I go up here to where it says inserts, and I select one of these empty
fields, and it says plugin, and if I go to dynamics, here I have compressor/limiter,
de-esser, expander/gate. Let’s do a compressor/limiter. This is the D3 compressor that comes with
Pro Tools First, and actually it’s a pretty decent compressor. I really like it a lot.
So now, as I press play on my voice, you can see that the compression effect is taking
effect. Again, I have a compression video that will teach you a really cool … I have
a Studio Steve setting for vocals that you can use on your compression that I talked
about during that video. Definitely worth checking that video out. So now we have a compressor on this track.
That was pretty easy, right? Okay. Now let’s move on to reverb. Reverb is that far away,
distant sound that we’re used to hearing in big empty rooms or hallways. It’s a really
cool effect to put on voices in music, used all the time in music, and occasionally on
a podcast. If you want to have a fun effect or something like that, you can put it on
your voice just for a second. And there’s tons of fun ways you can do that in Pro Tools. Many people, when they want to apply reverb,
will make the mistake of applying it the same way we just applied this compression. And
Pro Tools allows you to do that. And if you did that, and you pressed reverb here like
this, you would notice that my voice is now completely saturated in this reverb effect.
And if I wanted to lessen the reverb, I would have to mess with the effect here. And I don’t
really have that much control when it comes to my voice and my reverb. So what people
do instead on these type of effects, reverb, delay, modulation, and all those kinds of
effects, is they set them up on another track. Now, another quick way that beginners will
do this, and it’s another way that you can do this, and it’s a very intuitive way of
thinking about it, is to simply command C to copy this. Go down to the beginning of
the session here and paste it, so now there’s two of my voices. And then, to move this reverb
over here, and now when I press play, I have one voice and one reverb. Now, that’s cool
and everything because now I can change this name here to verb and I can … And so that
works. But, because of the audio, and this being an actual audio track, this is going
to take up more CPU power, and it’s not the ideal way of doing it. The ideal way of setting up a reverb, let’s
go ahead and delete this track, it’ll ask me, “Are you sure you want to delete this
because there’s audio here,” say, yes, I’ll delete that, is we want to set up something
called an aux track. What does aux stand for? It stands for copy. So an aux will actually
allow you to copy your track and send it somewhere else. This is used all the time for headphone
mixes. And I know it can be a little confusing, but just hang with me and see how it works
here, and it’ll start to make sense with you. Let’s go ahead and press command equals and
get over into this again. And let’s press shift command N, and now command to the right
and do a stereo, and now command and the down button just once until we get to aux input.
Now the enter key will create an aux track. Notice that Pro Tools defaults this to a different
color, it’s green, whereas our audio tracks are blue with the label here. That’s pretty
nifty. And I like that it defaults to do that. Now let’s name this track Verb and go up to
the top and insert that same reverb. So we go up to the top, and now we have that reverb
unit here on our aux track. But if we press play, nothing goes into this track because
we need to set up where this aux track exists. We need to give this aux track a location.
We do that by applying an input to it. So on this aux track right here, up here where
it says IO, go to where it says no input, and name that input Bus 1-2. Now this reverb
is on Bus 1-2, which means now we can send any track in our mix to the same reverb unit. So let’s go to our voice track here, and we’ll
go ahead and create a send, or a copy, or an aux, and we’re going to send it to Bus
1-2. If we select an empty field here and we send it to Bus 1-2, this pops up. This
is what’s commonly called a little fader. I really like that name, little fader. It’s
a little guy. This allows us to control how much of our copied signal we’re going to send
over to that reverb track. A quick key here that’s really cool, and this
same quick key works all over Pro Tools on all of the faders, and even on the panning
knobs, is to hold down option, or alt on a PC, and then click once on the fader. And
look, it threw it up to zero. If I ever want it to go back up to zero again, I do that
again, hold alt or option, and boom. Same goes for these, that same quick key, any fader.
Or if I have my pans messed up and I want my pans to zero again, I can hold the alt
or the option button, and they go back to zero. That’s a really nifty thing to know and to
get good at using, because look how much faster it is when I set up this send, and if it comes
at zero, for me to press option to get it perfectly at zero, other than me trying to
put the fader up here and get it until it’s right at zero. It’s so much easier just to
hold down the alt button. Now when I press play, you’ll see that it’s
going over here. That’s wonderful. Now, as you can hear, I have my voice and I have my
reverb. I can highlight this and drag it up here so they’re next to each other. I have
my voice and I have my reverb. That’s a little too reverberated for me, so I can now control
my reverb. I can mess with the reverb effect. Now, let’s say I want to mess with my reverb
effect by itself, only by itself, without hearing my voice. This can be a little tricky,
because if I mute my voice, nothing is going to be sent over to the reverb channel anymore.
How can I just hear the reverb channel? Well, this has to do with our little fader again.
And you can always access your little fader, once you press the X and make it go away,
by pressing on this Bus 1-2 again. Then your little fader pops back up. Now, there’s this button right here that says
pre. What that means is pre large fader. That’s exactly what it stands for. And that means
that it’s going to copy the signal and send the signal over to Bus 1-2 before the large
fader, which is this guy down here. Does that sound confusing? I understand. It was very
confusing to me at first too. Aux sends can be a hard thing to wrap your head around. But basically, what’s happening here is it’s
going to copy this, it’s going to create a copy of this signal, and before I mess with
this signal’s volume and pan and everything else, before any of this, it’s going to send
the copy over to the verb channel, which is nice because, now if I do that, if I select
this pre button and I mute my voice, now it’s going over there anyway because the mute and
the volume don’t affect it. If I turn down the volume of the voice here all the way,
I still get that reverb. So now let’s see what happens if I take the
pre off again just to illustrate this for you further, and I press play, nothing’s going
over there. As I bring up the volume, I get a little bit of reverb. But you can see how
much reverb I get is dependent on this fader, because the pre button isn’t selected, so
this fader is controlling how much is going over to the reverb channel, or the Bus 1-2.
However, if I put the pre button on, then it doesn’t matter. This is really cool to
know about that pre button because what it allows you to do is just listen to your reverb
effect, and mess with your reverb effect, and make your reverb effect crazy without
having to listen to the raw track. That can be really useful. Now, let’s say for some reason … I want
to show you one more thing and then we’re done with today’s video. Let’s say I had another
vocal track, and to illustrate that, I’m not going to bother recording one, I’m just going
to grab a chunk of this, copy it, and paste it down here somewhere. Let’s say I also wanted
to send this to the same reverb. Well, now all I have to do is come up here, and here’s
another quick key, hold down the option or the alt button again, and click on this, and
drag it, and it copies it. Really cool quick key. That way you don’t have to go through
here and set up a brand new one again, and press option or alt here. All you have to
do to copy these from one track to the next is by holding down the alt or option key,
clicking, and dragging. You can also do that with the effects. I want
this same compressor on this vocal track to be on this one, with the identical settings
that I’ve made here. So I have messed with my settings and I’ve gotten them perfect the
way I want it. Now I don’t have to dial in all those settings again. All I have to do
is option or alt, and click on this, and drag it over there. Boom. Now all of my voices
can have those same effects. Further, if I really love this effect and
I know I’m going to use this effect all the time on every one of my mixes, inside of the
effect, right here where it says preset in every effect, you’ll notice it’s here, it’s
also in the reverb. All the effects in Pro Tools have this. There’s a little dropdown
arrow. This allows you to save settings as My Awesome Effect, you can name it whatever
you want. And then … or My Awesome Compressor. And now every time I open up this same compressor
unit, you can see that I can use My Awesome Effect right there. It’s been added to the
list of presets. Also, these presets are good to know that
they exist because, look, acoustic guitar, bass guitar. This is a good place to start
with a lot of these effects when it comes to these presets just by clicking where it
says factory default. So there’s a little bit on effects, a little bit getting more
familiar with how to apply effects, the difference between dynamics and EQs. Compressors and
EQs, we always want to put directly on our audio track. Reverbs, delays, modulations,
things like that, we want to set up an aux track to be able to do that. I hope you found this video useful. If you
did, please give it a thumbs up. Leave some comments below. Tell me if this has been helping
you. And also tell me what you’re struggling with, I’d love to help you get better at using
Pro Tools First. I absolutely love Pro Tools. It’s been a blast helping you today. And keep
checking back, hit that bell button. Keep checking back because we’ll be putting out
more of these Pro Tools videos. Thanks a lot, guys.

7 thoughts on “Pro Tools First Tutorial | Pro Tools First for Podcasts

  1. If you haven't checked out my first two Pro Tools Videos, check them out first: The first is setting up and configuring your workspace:

    The second one is about modes and tools:

  2. So excited about this video. Don't wait so long next time before giving us more Pro Tools First Videos, I'm anxious to keep learning!!

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