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Templates part 2

Last time I wrote about the necessary brain work behind creating a really helpful template, now I would like to share the simple method of doing it in Pro Tools. So the time has come when the well thought out blueprint come to fruition.

Step by step

If you really done your homework then this part is much easier, because it only requires some Pro Tools knowledge. The hard part is over. Consider this as some finger practice.

New session

Create a new session just as you would if you’d start a new project.

newsession

Let’s add some tracks. Instead of repeatedly open the new track dialogue window use your paper to count how many and what types of channels you need. This way you only encounter this window once. Don’t bother with anything else, just create as many audio (stereo and mono), aux, VCA and other tracks you need.

newtrack

At this point you can choose between two paths. Name the created tracks, or first make the routing. I prefer to name the tracks first. Some find it little complicated because at this point you cannot see any hint from the in-out part of the channel, but again, if your plan is accurate then it cannot be a problem. Select all tracks, right-click, select rename. This way you just need to type the names, hit enter and PT automatically skips to the next track’s name window.

When you’re ready, let’s make the routing. It can be done from multiple locations in Pro Tools but I highly recommend to use the Setup/I/O setup. It’s faster and much easier to see the logical building blocks of your session. Name everything!
When we get familiar with the session we will remember easily what bus we put the reverb send, but believe me, you don’t want to test your memory during a creative compose, edit or mix session. The template session should help you, not test you, so give a proper name to all the buses you make. It’s easier to route pretty much anything if it has a name.

iosetup

You can use some useful naming conventions if you like:

  •  x=prefix for effects: xRoom means Room effect
  •  b=prefix for bus: bDrums or bDIA means drum bus or dialogue bus
  •  v= prefix for VCA: vFX means VCA master for effects
  •  etc.

You can even invent some prefix, the main point is it should be clear to you what the particular “code” mean. Don’t overcomplicate, use something simple and understandable.

tracknamesprefix

There are many different naming schemes floating around. The point is to use one which you clearly understand and stick with it, don’t change it from session to session. It’s not mandatory to use any of these schemes but can be useful later as your session grows. This way it doesn’t matter how big your session is, you can identify the track types from the prefixes.

At this stage you shall have a pretty good starting point, now it’s time to insert some plugins. Remember, it’s only a template, you can change it anytime you want or need to. The concept is that when you use the template it should contain all the necessary ingredients which you need to do great work. So don’t be shy here, put in as many plugins as you possibly need. First, you can change it later, second, you can always bypass the ones you don’t need at the moment. Use channel strips, comps, eqs, distortion, etc. and don’t forget to “plugin up” your auxes. Insert multiple reverbs or delays or any other effect you like.

See? You’ve got your tracks, routing, plugins, effects. Almost done. You can stop here if you want but I suggest to go further than this.

The premium stuff

If you are patient or curious enough, I share some additional tips to enhance your already splendid templates a bit further. These things are absolutely optional, if you like, you can implement them into your workflow. It may require a bit of learning, but in my opinion it is very useful.

1

Saved zoom presets. Probably you already know that you can save four zoom positions and recall them by 1–4 on the keyboard. Generate a short sample of sine wave or pink noise and make your zoom presets so that are precisely suit your needs in every session you create from the template.
To create a zoom preset, simply zoom in or out, and if you like the current state, hit cmd+the chosen number.

zoompresets

2

Window configurations and markers. For example you have your effects set up, ready to go, but I’m sure that they’ll need some additional tweak here or there. Make a window config that will show your effects on screen. Window configurations are recallable by markers so this can be a very efficient and fast method. Window/Configurations/New configuration

3

The third idea directly comes from post production. Make some comment track. You can leave it blank. The purpose? You won’t clutter your marker list with additional comments. On the dummy/comment track you can create clip groups and use the clip group’s name as your comment field. It is very practical as you can have as many as you want, place them anywhere in the session.

commenttrack

The last step is to save your session as template.

saveastemplate

So, you’re ready with the best template you could possibly imagine, the last step is the real payoff: use it, work from it. If you were really meticulously followed the steps, this is a real dream template which would help you immensely to speed up your workflow and get the job done with less effort.