For 4 weeks we are running a community tip competition again as we have 4 very special silver iLoks to give away. We have awarded three winners so far so there is just one silver iLok to go. You have been continuing to send in your tips and so here is another selection of tips.
I am a Post Mixer and I do tons of promos. I would like to share a little known way of versioning that I use often. You often have the scenario with promos where the only thing that changes is the end tagthat refers to the time like Tomorrow, Tonight, Today etc, The trick is to duplicate and then render new audio file in place on a new duplicate mix track.
Then go into Destructive Record and keep making new tracks or new playlists with the tags on the source VO tracks.
I mute the old ones and keep punching in on new copies of the mix by continually rendering new audio files on new mix tracks. This way I can make dozens of versions without sitting through the whole 30 second spot.
As I am getting more and more bigger projects, file management is becoming even more crucial to my workflow. I get people sending me all kinds of files and the naming conventions are a big part of it. I sometimes wonder how they get around their hard-drives. The best way is to get into the situation where this workflow comes naturally as soon as possible so you don't have to spend too much time thinking about it. So here are my key-points:
- Have a specific place for all your MUSIC/AUDIO related projects.
- When you create a project make sure it's name includes - ARTIST, SONG TITLE and DATE
- When saving different versions use actual versions not final 1, final final or even absolute final final final. Save different versions as - ARTIST_SongTitle_dd/mm/year_v001 etc.
When creating new tracks as part of the recording process, again take care of housekeeping. ProTools and all the rest of the DAWs allow you to name your tracks. Too often I se sessions with the tracks stilled named with their default names like Audio 1, Audio 2, etc.
So I just have to say it - NAME THEM. For example for a vocal track - SingersName_VOX. That way if you ever have to deal with missing files you should be able to locate them. And trust me - you will loose them and you will have to find them. That day will come.
I do recommend that you check out Grammy's naming conventions (people have actually thought about that).
Also colour your tracks and prepare for sessions. House-keeping allows you to be more creative in the process.
I have a tip for organising and structuring sessions. Doing postproduction, especially commercials, I need to deliver files with exact length. E.g. 20",15" and so on.
You have to take care that SFX and music don't exceed this length. Normally you set markers for "start" and "end", but often you have mark other things: sync points to snap various SFX to a dedicated frame, VO drop-in points etc - so you can end up with a lot of markers and it can get confusing especially if they are near to each other as you may click on the wrong one and select a wrong range for bounce! So here's my tip:
- Create a new track called "marker"
- On this track mouse-click on the desired TC, e.g. 10:00:00:00
- Double-click on seconds at "edit selection length" next to the main counter and type 20 to select a 20" range.
- Press shift+alt+3 to consolidate.
- Now you have your "marker-clip". You can name it 20" - prodution-name - motif or what ever.
Now, when you import music, sfx and atmos or editing/nudging such clips, you maybe move them a few frames before your start points or trim your clip-end/fade a few frames over your end-point. You could trim all your clips by hand or...
- Click on the marker-track,
- Select all tracks by clicking on the grey line above the first track
- Press Command+T.
- All clips are cut to the right length.
Want to bounce the final mix? Select the right length by just clicking on the marker track.
Want to copy automations? just click anywhere on the marker track and navigate via "move edit selection up/down to the tracks /automations you want to copy - you will always select the whole length.
I have bounced several clips from 5 to 60 seconds in the usual lengths for commercials, put them in my clip-list in default sessions, snap them to start and I'm done!
For music you can extend the workflow: consolidate marker-clips for "intro","verse","hook" … or create marker-clips per scene when mixing for film.
I know it is "just" one click less then selecting the range between your start an end-markers but for me it is pure control! I tab through my motifs, spot the first frame, select the length by clicking shift+tab and toggle the selection through the tracks without using the mouse - so much faster!
Here's a little reverb trick I learned earlier this year that works especially well on reverb. If you insert a filter before the reverb and apply a high pass at about 600hz at 18db/oct and a low pass at 10khz, it cleans up the reverb and helps glue the vocal to the track a little more.
In my current job, I build lots of rigs. Big rigs. Mac, PC it doesn't really matter. One thing I have got into the habit of doing is making a folder somewhere on the system drive that holds
all of the original installers. This helps to remind me of what version of what went where.
eg: Main Folder, Pro Tools Installers 2015. Then inside that folder, I create a number of sub folders....
- I have a folder of current Avid plug-ins for what ever version of Pro Tools is on that system.
- A folder with 3rd party plug-ins, Waves, McDSP, Serato etc. ad infinitum
- On a Mac, I include the lastest OSX Combo update. I never use the delta updates, as Apple pixies may steal your toes.
- Another folder for things like Quicktime 7, Blackmagic drivers, ilok License Manager etc, etc.
- On a PC, I include things like NVidea drivers, QT7 etc
If there any any issues on the system, then on the phone I can ask the user to open this folder to see what version they are currently running. Any updates can then be applied if their system is out of date. Software changes so rapidly and many users simply don't know exactly what they have installed. This helps to narrow down any conflicts.
What Do I Need To Do To Try And Win A Silver iLok?
- Send us your tips and tricks that help you in your productions. Use the Contact Us page please.
- Take a look at the community tips that are on the site to see the kind of thing we are looking for, and also to make sure we haven't covered the tip already.
- Each week we will pick out one winner over 4 weeks as we only have 4 iLoks. However we have awarded three silver iLoks already so there are only one to go.