If audio mixing doesn’t make up the bulk of your work, it’s tempting to save money and stick with entry-level tools. But could moving to Pro Tools make your audio workflow more professional, simpler and better at handling video? Jigsaw24 Media Pre-Sales Consultant Rolf Martens certainly seems to think so…
Avid’s Media Composer NLE and Pro Tools DAW are very much the kings of the hill when it comes to large-scale media production and post, with most major projects relying on their long-established and famously stable workflow. But what about design agencies, marketing departments and other creative teams that don’t rely on an Avid workflow? Should they still consider Pro Tools for their audio work? Jigsaw24 Media’s Rolf Martens says yes.
It will make working with audio so much easier for you. With some creative software, you get the impression that audio was an afterthought. With Pro Tools that really isn’t the case.
I don't think any other software is as intuitive as Pro Tools. It's very customisable, so you can bring it in line with your existing workflow, but at the same time its native shortcuts and tools are very, very well thought out and will generally make your life easier. Once you know a couple of shortcuts you start to get an idea of how Avid thought about each of them and it becomes easy to work without looking at your keyboard or mouse - controlling the software becomes second nature in a way that just doesn’t happen with other software.
Part of that is because the Pro Tools interface is a lot cleaner than the interfaces of other audio software – there are only two windows, nothing is hidden behind a stack of pop-ups, it’s all upfront and very intuitive. I think that’s one of the major reasons why it's been adopted by the industry; everyone who tried it was like, "OK cool, I can do this, let's get on with it." That's the main reason why it trumps any other software.
No, you can combine your video and audio files into an OMF or AAF and import that into Pro Tools to do your sound design, which will be much easier in Pro Tools than in non-specialist software. In more advanced versions of Pro Tools, you can even cut the video within Pro Tools. Once you’re happy with your mix, you can export the whole thing back to your video editor as an OMF, or even drag and drop your mix onto your editing timeline. Either way, it’s a simple roundtrip involving a single file.
It doesn’t have to be. With their latest release, Pro Tools 2022.9, Avid released a free version of the software called Pro Tools Intro. It’s limited in the number of tracks it can support, but otherwise the full feature set is pretty much there. You can have eight insert tracks, eight MIDI tracks, four aux tracks or working folders and one master track, which is limited for Pro Tools but still powerful – you could mix an ad with it no problem.
You'd only need to upgrade if you want to make more complex mixes or if you need one or more video tracks. Pro Tools Studio supports a single video track, so is fine for small projects, and then Pro Tools Ultimate supports up to 64 video tracks so you can edit directly in Pro Tools and re-export the trimmed sequence with the correct audio.
No. Pro Tools actually has some pretty good bundles that come with each version of the software, so you get powerful plug-ins included out of the box. For example, there’s a plug-in called Channel Strip, , which is based on the same algorithm of the famous Avid/Euphonix System 5 consoles used in countless theatrical mixing theatres. That’s a full theatrical-grade toolkit included as a free plug-in, and that’s only a small part of what you receive.
No. You can route audio directly from Pro Tools into Teams or Zoom or any conferencing software to share the mix for approval, with the client seeing and hearing what the operator has on the timeline; it’s great for remote workflows.
I’d definitely recommend downloading Pro Tools Intro and getting your head around it, start learning a few shortcuts and see what you can do. If you’re looking for tutorials, Pro Tools Expert is a site I like a lot. But honestly it’s best just to start experimenting for yourself.
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