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Tag: tip

When you need to know the time

Recently I had a few projects where I was the one who was responsible keeping track of the time being spent on the tasks. At the end I had to know how many hours we spent with editing, mixing, etc. Who really knows me might just laughing right now as I’m very famously forget everything related to time. Birthdays, important dates, historical dates, pretty much everything. So I’m not the best person to keep track of things like this, but this time I had no choice.

There’s an app for that

As soon as my first panic attack went away, I remembered the marketing line from Apple: “there’s an app for that…” so I started to search the AppStore for possible solutions. I needed something that’s:

  • easy to use
  • doesn’t require complicated setup
  • reliable
  • can keep track of spent time on different task
  • can remind me to use it

I know that the last point might sound ridiculous to you, but it’s a fact, I needed something that reminds me to use it.

And I’ve found the aptly named Hours.

time

This is really a great app for me. It’s dead easy to use, requires very basic setup, and, most importantly you can set reminders inside the app!

I keep it very simple. For example I made two tasks: Edit and Mix. You can set the amount of time you spent with a task, or you can simply tap the clock icon and it’s immediately start to count time. Don’t forget to stop when you finish, but other than this, you don’t need to pay attention to the app.

Make a task list and always measure only what you really do. After the fact, you can create a complete report which can be as simple as a usual work clock, or you can create a detailed one with notes. Reports can be daily, weekly, monthly, whatever fit your needs.

If you’re a tweaky kind of person, you can set up time format, rounding rules and of course, reminders.

time prefs

I hope you find it as useful as me.

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Small Pro Tools tip #2

Just a little workflow tip that helps you identify clipped tracks during a multi-track recording without having to constantly scroll up and down on your timeline.

The key is to leave the track list open in the edit window.

First, it gives you a very good overview, can show you track numbers and names, you can easily select one or more tracks, and also, make tracks active or inactive, show and hide them. For these things it’s already a great habit to have it open during recording, but the main thing is, this is the best place to see if some tracks have clipped, as the overloaded tracks are shown in red.

track list window

As the track list window is very “succinct”, you can see much more tracks comfortably than in the edit window itself.

And while we’re here, sometimes you need to clear clip (clearing the red signs). To do this, hit:

[fruitful_sep]

ALT+C

[fruitful_sep]

After this command, you’re going to start with a clean track list again, so if anything goes into red after this, you’ll see it.

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On the road with a Macbook Pro #7

Although the festival season is over, I still have many gigs until I’m going back to the studio full time, without travelling hundreds of kilometres almost daily. Therefore I still need my trusty laptop to run Pro Tools without a hiccup, and of course, I need shortcuts to make my life easier.

Today’s shortcut is a really simple one (actually two) but well worth the tiny effort to learn it, as these ones are very helpful no matter if you’re on the road or in the studio.

During editing and mixing if you need to solo or mute the selected track:


shift+s for solo
shift+m for mute


When you’re concentrating on something, don’t bother reaching for the mouse or trackpad, these shortcuts will help you isolate or kill a track.

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On the road with a MacBookPro #6

This time it’s a really tiny tip, which otherwise can drive you mad. Usually I use my trusty Sounddevices usb pre2, but there are times when I have to use the built-in sound card with headphones. But as I change the volume, the dreaded click sound in OSX just drives me crazy.

volumemac

It’s annoying, usually it’s louder than anything else in your session. Back then it was a great discovery for me that we can easily avoid that sound.


To avoid the sound hold down shift while raising or lowering the volume.


I know for first look it might look not that important, but after a few hours, I think you’ll appreciate this little tip.

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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
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