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Automation is the most powerful feature for mixing in Pro Tools. It allows one operator to act as four or five in a traditional film-mixing situation. With this powerful set of automation tools, you can handle any amount of tracks that are before you. Doing it yourself might take more time than having four or five operators on a gigantic mixing board, but automation allows you to accomplish what would
In addition to being able to adjust levels of so many tracks, you can do more interesting things such as automating equalizers to compensate for mic positioning in a scene. Automating Sends provides reverb and ambience dynamically as the scene changes.
Writing levels or automating the
In this mode, the fader will record its current position as automation data. As you change the fader position, those changes are recorded exactly as you perform them into the automation playlist of the track. This mode is useful when you wish to override complex automation completely. Automation is written whether you are touching the fader with a mouse or not. When you set a channel to the Write mode, as shown in Figure 8.27, it will stay in Write mode the entire time you are playing the session. Once you have
Touch mode. Touch mode works just like Write mode except that you are writing automation data only when you are clicking and holding a fader or touching a fader on a control surface.
Latch mode. Latch mode is similar to Touch mode except that once you have touched or clicked on the fader, you will continue to write automation data until the transport is stopped.
Read mode works just like the
Trim mode is available only on TDM systems. In this mode, the fader will
Off mode means no automation is
Unlike music mixing, where most instruments remain static in their panned positions, film and video post-production requires almost constant motion with regard to pan automation. This is
Automation of EQs can help you accomplish several
For instance, you could have a certain character's dialog on track 1 in one scene and then on that same track have another character's dialogue in a later scene. Using automation, you can change the parameters of the equalizer to match the character in each scene. You might have an equalizer preset for the first character that you use whenever he is onscreen, and another preset for the second character. So long as those two
You could automate a single
Heavy "s" sounds, called sibilants, can be controlled by automating a narrow high-frequency band centered around the sibilant frequency, dipping when the sibilants are too strong and returning to normal when they aren't. Another example of this would be using a high-pass filter to eliminate microphone pops by momentarily engaging the filter when the pop occurs and then turning it off for normal speech. These are very surgical types of uses for automated equalizers.
Following is a step-by-step example of how to use an equalizer (Waves Renaissance EQ2) to compensate for a mic pop:
Instantiate the Waves EQ on the track in question.
Set up the first band as a high-pass filter, as shown in Figure 8.30. Play the affected dialog part and adjust the frequency until the pop sound is minimized. (By "pop" sound, I'm referring to the sound made when wind from the person speaking catches the mic, and a bad
Press the auto button in the upper-right-hand side of the plug-in window to
Select Band 1 On/Off and press the Add button. This allows that parameter to be automated by Pro Tools. Click OK.
With the plug-in window still open, place the track in Auto-Touch mode.
Press the band Enable switch to disable the band while the transport is stopped.
Play a few seconds before the problem spot and get the mouse positioned over the EQ's Band1 In/Out button, as shown in Figure 8.31. Right before the pop occurs, press the Enable switch to engage the high-pass filter.
After the pop has passed, disable the band to return to normal. You might have to choose a moment when no dialog is present to engage the filter, as turning it on might produce a
It is possible to edit this automation by choosing the Band1 In/Out parameter in the Track view pull-down menu, as seen in Figure 8.32.
You can drag the automation points to change the time when the band is engaged and disengaged, as shown in Figure 8.33.
Building dynamics in a mix is an art form. There is no way for me to explain how to artistically create a compelling mix for a film, video, or commercial. Time, experience, and the study of other people's
That being said, use your reference level as a clue to where you sit dynamically in a mix. If you are building a scene up to a climactic point, notice what your average VU meter reading is as you build to the climax. Once you've reached this climax and need to return to normal, the VU meter can help guide you back to normal level. Conversely, you will find that the average levels of sensitive and intimate moments drop well below the -20dBFS point.
Always using a calibrated volume when setting in your studio can help you control dynamic fluctuations in the mix. If you're constantly adjusting the volume while you listen, it will be harder to tell how the dynamics are working within your mix. Obviously, you do need to check your material at different
Using a favorite movie or program to use as a reference can be extremely helpful. Checking your mix against others is one of the most challenging tests you could impose on your work. Music
Try recording your mix once it has been broadcast over TV or cable systems and compare it to the original mix in the studio. You will be able to clearly hear the effects of the broadcast signal processing. This might not help you with that particular mix, but you will learn things that you can use in the future to improve your mixing for broadcast mediums.
When working on a complex film or video post-production mix, the amount of tracks and controls that need to be accessed can become daunting. Tactile control surfaces provide a method for accessing more parameters of a mix than the mouse and keyboard will allow by
The Digidesign 002, shown in Figure 8.34, is the latest addition to the Pro Tools hardware line. This control surface can operate Pro Tools parameters such as faders, aux sends, pans, and even plug-in settings through the use of
The Control 24, shown in Figure 8.35, is the next level up in control surfaces designed for Pro Tools. This work surface has 24 moving faders, along with a slew of parameter knobs, transport controls, and many function keys that provide dedicated controls for many Pro Tools operations. This larger control surface gives the
The Pro Control, pictured in Figure 8.36, is Digidesign's flagship control surface. It is expandable and can accommodate up to 48 individual channel
Many third-party control surfaces have recently entered the market. Mackie has made several control surfaces that have been used to control Pro Tools. The original HUI, or Human User Interface, is a very popular unit providing eight faders, transport controls, and some additional encoders and function keys. The Mackie Control is a newly updated version of this same type of control surface. The Baby HUI is intended more for project
Many popular digital mixers that feature
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