23 Jul

On the road with a MacBook Pro #5

It’s easy to see everything even on a laptop’s screen when we have one or two tracks. But if the track count goes up, inevitably, we won’t see most of the tracks. Even when you’re travelling, there’s a very fine solution for this.

Track height

Obviously you won’t see everything all the time, but you can selectively raise the height of the track/tracks you really need to see.

Track height adjustment: (select the track) ctrl+ up/down arrow
It also works on more than one track if you select more.
To make it work on all tracks in the session: ctrl+option+up/down arrow


This is another function that you can adjust from menus with a mouse/touchpad, but as with other functions, it is much faster to use the keyboard for these tasks.

18 Jul

Pro Tools tip #1

I plan to start this as a new mini series with small tips that may help you gain a better or faster workflow. Don’t expect huge essays here, only some practical advice for our daily work. Here’s the first one.

Elastic audio

Probably we all use it to some extent, whether in music or post production. Pitching, correcting, lengthen or squeeze something. Sometimes though, when we have to deal with a long clip it takes quite long to get the clip analysed so we can manipulate it. For these kind of things I always use work tracks. You don’t have to make them prior anything, it is sufficient to create them on the spot.

Let’s say we have a really long file (2hours long for example), but we only need some elastic manipulation on a 10 seconds long part. If we just simply activate elastic audio on the track, it would take quite long before we could actually do what we planned. Instead of this, there’s a faster method.

  • Duplicate the track (option+shift+d) and uncheck active playlist and alternate playlist in the box. This way, all your automation, sends, routing, etc. stays the same but you won’t have any clips on the new track.

duplicate track window

  • Select the area you want to manipulate with elastic audio and separate the clip there (hit b for separation). Then cmd+x to cut the selected part, hit semicolon to go down one track and cmd+v to paste the clip snippet. Now comes the important part, hit option+shift+3 for consolidate the clip. This is important because it creates a brand new file!
  • Now it’s time to switch on elastic audio on the new track so Pro Tools will only analyse that small clip instead of the 2hour long clip.

elastic window

  • Do whatever you wanted to do, done.

This might seem a bit complicated at first but in reality it takes only a few seconds. And as usual, there’s some added benefits:

  • the elastic audio analysation process going to be much faster
  • you’ve got a full untouched backup just a track above
  • whenever you change something in elastic audio, you’ll get the results much faster because Pro Tools will only work on that short clip instead of the original long one
13 Jul

On the road with a MacBook Pro #3

Even when you’re on the road, it is pointless to always use the mouse or touchpad for every task. But of course on a laptop, screen real-estate is scarce, so you contsantly have to open and more importantly close windows.

Close Window

If you always use the touchpad or a mouse for this, honestly it drives you mad after a short editing session. Use the keyboard instead

Close window: cmd+w

Fine you can close Pro Tools windows, but don’t stop there. When I’m in the midst of a editing session, my screen might look like a complete mess to some. Opened windows all over the screen. I don’t close them until I think I don’t need them in the next few seconds. However this method has a serious drawback. Many times I end up with screen full of different windows, and frankly even I cannot find things. This is the right time to clean the whole area.

To close all floating window at once:


Hide all floating windows: cmd+option+ctrl+w


This one shortcut will clear everything for you.

10 Jul

On the road with a MacBook Pro #2

The second small tip is about nudging. When I’m in the studio there’s more way to do it, usually from a control surface or from the numpad.


Thanks to the clever shortcut layout in Pro Tools, we can enjoy this feature without a full keyboard

Nudge left or right: , and .


These two are adjacent to letter m on a MacBook Pro’s keyboard. Don’t forget to set the amount of nudge though.

03 Jul

On the road with a MacBook Pro #1

As you probably know in the summer I’m on the road. Not constantly, but many times. But things cannot be postponed forever, so most of the time I have my laptop with me (MacBook Pro), with an iLok, and external drive, a Grado SR 125. Many times I need to edit, tweak, bounce things to meet certain deadlines.

But as we all know, the trusty MacBook Pro doesn’t have a full keyboard with numpad. There are solutions for this, but in this mini-series I would like to remind you to a few shortcuts that can make your life easier without a full keyboard.

Loop playback

Honestly I cannot live without this feature. During editing or mixing I constantly use loop playback and almost always engage it from the numpad. But this function has a proper shortcut too.

Loop playback: cmd+shift+l


This way you can activate/deactivate this cool feature. It is much faster than to always right-click on the play button and select it from there.

Tamas Dragon