Russ has already posted a comprehensive view of Pro Tools 11 from his perspective one month on and so here is how it is looking from the ‘post’ world’.
In general from the plug-ins point of view things are looking pretty good in the post world. My plug-in lists in Pro Tools 11 are looking pretty good, I have plenty of plug-ins that are AAX 64 bit to choose from. Maybe not all my favourites are across, Waves are taking their time to port what is effectively just one plug-in, the Waveshell, especially as we showed them working as beta’s back in April when I was at NAB for the launch of Pro Tools 11. The other biggy for the post community is Sonnox. I had a job in 2 weeks ago which was the second block of a series and as I had worked on the first block before Pro Tools 11 came out, it was predominately made up of Sonnox plug-ins, which aren’t available in AAX 64 bit yet, we know they are working on them as fast as they can, but as many plug-in developers are finding coders are in very short supply, in fact if you fancy working for Sonnox as a coder they have a vacancy right now. Anyway back to the post job, there was a simple answer, Avid have enabled Pro Tools 10 and 11 to co-exist so I was able to complete the second block in Pro Tools 10.3.6 using the same configurations and plug-ins to provide the client a uniform sound. However if I hadn’t have needed to use Sonnox plug-ins for a uniform sound I would have undertaken the job in Pro Tools 11, there are plenty of tools at my disposal in my Pro Tools 11 plug-in lists now. Also a number of the iZotope plug-ins are already AAX 64 bit but I am waiting for my beloved RX2 to be upgraded, but hopefully it won’t be long.
This has been a real bummer. Its a real shame that Avid had to drop this from Pro Tools 11 to get it out on time. Just to be clear, I am referring to the Digidesign TC/E algorithm that is the Trim Tool preferences list in PT 10 and not in PT11. I did a show and tell comparison and then following some feedback showed a workaround by using Elastic Audio. Also there was some confusion, about what Digidesign TC/E is good for. It is good for the time compression and stretching of spoken word, not singing. For singing, it is not very good, but for speech it is still an incredibly good algorithm and I am not alone, take a look at the post on the DUC asking for it to be reinstated. Avid have stated here on this site that it will make a comeback, I just hope it isn’t too long before we can use it in Pro Tools 11.
Things continue to be a little troublesome with OMF and AAF. There are a couple of threads in the DUC outlining issues with importing these into Pro Tools 11. The good news is that they will often work in Pro Tools 10 so again because Avid have enabled 10.3.6 and 11 to co-exist, it may be a pain, but it isn’t the end of the world. Some of the problems may not be PT11 related, there has been problems with clips coming in with different timecodes, which Pro Tools couldn’t handle. Once the video editor transcoded to one timecode format all was well. Also there can be issues with AAFs with interleaved files, the sledgehammer solution is to specify multi-mono files but it may be as simple as making sure you turn on interleaved support when you create the session in Pro Tools.
Avid Video Engine
There remain some concerns about video quality in Pro Tools compared to Pro Tools 10, Obviously it is better to stick to Avid friendly codecs and a reminder that H264, whilst it make work, is not going to play well with any flavour of Pro Tools. Avid’s Avid DNxHD not unsurprisingly is working well.
There have been comments that HD users have had a tough time. We discussed it at length in a recent podcast in the context of the costs of upgrading. Yes HD users will have to spend a lot of money to get HDX to get the benefits of Pro Tools 11, but this was not a surprise. Avid told us when they released Pro Tools 10, 18 months ago that the HD cards would not work with Pro Tools 11 when it came out. I had an HD2 system and I was one of the first to upgrade to HDX at the end of 2011. Professional users should be running their business plans based on a projection that computer based systems will need replacing every 3 to 4 years and so set your pricing so you can get a return on investment after 2 years so that year 3 and possibly year 4 are neat profit. For non commercial organisations this may not be possible, but as we have said time and time again, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, if your Pro Tools 10 HD system works for you, enables you to do what you need it to do then keep using it, don’t spend the money upgrading.
Off line bounce
The off line bounce won’t impact on my mixing workflow, I would never deliver a mix to a client that I hadn’t heard all the way through. But for outputting deliverables and stems, it is already saving time, I understand that for some post workflows it will take the time it takes to complete the deliverables down from 4 days to 1/2 a day.
Would I use Pro Tools 11 now for post work? Yes I would and I am. Once I get Sonnox and iZotope I will be able to fully work in Pro Tools 11. Waves will be useful but won’t stop me from working in 11 as I haven’t had them available as DSP plug-ins since I upgraded to HDX 18 months ago, so they are less of a concern to me. I appreciate that if your favourite plug-ins aren’t ready yet you will need to wait. But do get the trial, find your way around Pro Tools 11 so that when your favourite plug-ins are ready, you can hit the road running with Pro Tools 11.
What have your experiences been with Pro Tools 11 in a post context? Especially in the areas of video performance and OMF/AFF importing. Do please share them with the community.