The aim of this article is to give you a one stop stop to help answer all your questions and concerns about Pro Tools 12.5 and the long awaited cloud collaboration services. You can also check out our comprehensive range of articles and videos on Pro Tools 12.5 cloud collaboration.
One thing to be aware of is that Avid will be reviewing and improving these features so if you are coming back to this article well after the initial release we do suggest that you check the Avid Knowledgebase for the most up to date information moving forward.
Overview of Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration
Cloud collaboration is the long awaited feature for Pro Tools 12 that enables you to connect with other Pro Tools users anywhere in the world to collaborate on any type of creative project in Pro Tools.
You create a Pro Tools Project file, which is similar to a Session file but stored in the cloud, and find and invite people to collaborate right from within Pro Tools, which features a new Artist Chat window. From within Pro Tools 12.5 you can share audio and MIDI tracks, edits, mix changes, in fact anything you do in Pro Tools.
You can work with up to two other collaborators on any Project at the same time, though you can cycle as many people in and out of a Project as needed. You can collaborate in near real time with others or create offline and upload updates. All Project files and associated assets are stored in your own personal and secure cloud storage space, so you can access your Projects anywhere you have an Internet connection.
What Kind Of Users Would Benefit Most From Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration?
Avid have designed Cloud Collaboration to empower any independent artist, musician, producer, mixer, engineer, or other audio pro to find the talent they need and collaborate together on a music or soundtrack production. No matter where you are located in the world. You can find talented musicians to record missing parts of your song. Invite other songwriters to work together on a new composition. Record voice talent without having to fly them to your location. And collaborate with producers and mixers to take your production to the next level.
What Is A Project?
A session is what we have been used to in Pro Tools for years. It creates a session on your hard drive and that is no different in Pro Tools 12.5. A session is stored locally on your system and you cannot collaborate on a session. A Project is essentially very similar to a session but the key difference is a Project lives in the cloud, which Avid introduced in Pro Tools First and now is being rolled out into Pro Tools 12.5 as part of the cloud collaboration workflow.
You can read more about how to create a Project and what all the icons mean in the Pro Tools 12.5 Dashboard in our article Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration - Getting Started And The Dashboard
What Is New In The Dashboard in Pro Tools 12.5?
The Dashboard was new in Pro Tools 12 and you will will see some changes in Pro Tools 12.5 in the Pro Tools Dashboard. The first thing you will notice is the addition of a Project tab to the two tabs we had before - Create and Recent. In the Create tab you can now create either a Project or a Session. For more on the Dashboard see our article Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration - Getting Started And The Dashboard)
How Do I Change A Session Into A Project?
If you have an existing session and you want to collaborate with other people you need to turn it into a Project. To do this, go into the File menu and select Save Session Copy In… which is a feature that has been in Pro Tools for a long time, but now has a new option added. If you go into the Format drop down menu at the top of the Save Session Copy In window as well as the Latest Version and options for other versions of Pro Tools you will now see Project as an option in Pro tools 12.5.
You can learn more about converting sessions into projects in our article Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration - Covering A Session To A Project And Setting Up Collaboration Tools
You can also choose to create a new project (see our article Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration - Getting Started And The Dashboard) and then use Import Session Data to import an existing Session into a new Project as Dan has done in our video Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration - Tested.
How Many People Can I Collaborate With?
The Project owner can only invite two simultaneous collaborators to a project. If you need to work with other people on a Project then Avd recommend that you remove a collaborator from your Project once he or she has finished contributing to it, and then you will be able to add another collaborator. You can always bring someone back in if you need them again, but the limit at the moment is two collaborators working with one Project owner.
How Do I Find And Communicate With Other Collaborators?
The Artist Chat Window is really key in the collaboration workflow in Pro Tools 12.5. This is where you find people to collaborate with and also where you chat with them. You can bring up the Artist Chat window from the Window menu or from the button in the Global Collaboration tool model in the toolbar in the Edit window in Pro Tools 12.5.
You can read more about the Artist Chat window and how to use it in our article Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration - The Artist Chat Window And Collaboration Workflows and see the Artist Chat window in use in our video Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration - Tested
Where Do I set Up And Control Collaboration in Pro Tools 12.5?
In Pro Tools 12.5 there is a new Collaboration Tools block that you can add to the Toolbar section of the Pro Tools Edit window. This is where you set the Global collaboration options.
There are also track based collaboration tools which you can make visible in the Tracks from the View menu in the Edit Window views. Avid have added a Track Collaboration option and this is where you set the track by track collaboration options.
You can read more about how to configure and use this new tool palette and the Track Collaboration tools in our article Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration - Covering A Session To A Project And Setting Up Collaboration Tools and see the collaboration tools in use in our video Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration - Tested
How Much Storage Space Do I Get With Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration?
Avid offer 3 different plans. You start off with the free plan which allows you to have up to 3 Projects in the cloud using up to 500MB of storage space. Avid are using the WavPack lossless compression system which means that your Projects will take up between 30-70% less space in the cloud, so a 1 GB Project could take as little as 300 MB cloud storage.
If you need more space or want to create more Projects, Avid are offering a couple of options that you can purchase through your Avid Account. Create up to five Project files stored in up to 20 GB of cloud space for $9.99/month which they suggest is enough to collaborate with a band on an EP. For $24.99/month, you can create up to 10 Projects stored in up to 60 GB of cloud space which Avid suggest is enough to collaborate on a full album or large soundtrack.
You can read much more about this is our article Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration - How Much Does It Cost?
When I Collaborate, Does This Count Towards My Storage Allocation?
No, only the Projects you create and share count towards your limit.
Can I Use Pro Tools First To Collaborate With Other Pro Tools users?
Pro Tools First users will not able to collaborate with other Pro Tools users for the time being. However Avid tell us that it is planned for a future release.
How Secure Are My Projects In The Cloud?
Avid Cloud Collaboration services are being hosted on Avid's MediaCentral Platform, which resides on Amazon Web Services. MediaCentral is already being used in the video editing workflows and Avid tell us that it is the same service that hosts medical, financial, and other highly protected, sensitive information and that their systems undergo recurring security scans, as well as internal and external security audits, to ensure their infrastructure is secure and up to date according to the latest MPAA best security practices. Avid also say that the Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration including your projects and data are not bound by the same license agreement as used in the Artist Community.
What Happens To My Cloud Collaboration Projects If My Annual Upgrade Plan Expires?
As before if you allow your upgrade plan to expire, you retain a perpetual license and so you can still continue to use the latest version of Pro Tools you had at the point your upgrade plan expires. Avid assure us that as long as you have a license for Pro Tools or Pro Tools HD 12.5 or later, you will have access to the cloud collaboration workflows. However as you will no longer be able to update your Pro Tools software to the latest version, it may eventually become incompatible with the server technology running in the cloud and so become unsupported.
What Happens To My Projects If My Collaboration Project Subscription Lapses?
If you purchased additional cloud storage space/Projects for $9.99/month or $24.99/month (you can read more about this in our article Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration - How Much Does It Cost?) and then allowed your subscription to lapse, your cloud space will be downgraded to the free 500 MB/3-project plan. Any Projects and files stored in your cloud space beyond these limits will then not be available to access or download. However Avid have built a safety net into their system so that if you renew your plan within 30 days of it expiring, you’ll be able to access all of your original projects and files again. But If you don’t renew your plan, they reserve the right to remove all of your user-inaccessible media 30 days after your plan has expired.
What Happens If I Run Out Of Cloud Storage Space?
You have two options...
Purchase more space. You can purchase a Project subscription through your Avid Account. If you already have a Project subscription you can extend it to the top tier.
Convert some Projects back To Sessions and Delete the Projects. In Pro Tools, choose “Save Copy In” and Save a copy of your project as a Session. You can then delete your cloud-based Project to free up the space.
How Much Internet Bandwidth Do I Need For Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration?
Avid's advice is that the faster your connection, the more seamless your experience will be. In general, if your Internet connection supports 10–20 Mbps up and down speeds, you should be fine.
Does Pro Tools 12.5 Force Me To Store Everything In The Cloud?
Absolutely not. You choose what is stored locally as Sessions or what is stored in the cloud as Projects. Only Project files created for collaboration are stored in the cloud (with a local cache for playback/recording). For everything else, you can create a standard Pro Tools Session, which stores everything locally as before.
When I Close A Session Do I Loose The Artist Chat Threads?
The simple answer is no. All chat data is stored on your cloud space in context of a Project so you can always see the history. The log shows the message history, as well as info about which tracks have been updated.
As A Mac User Can I Collaborate With A Windows User?
Absolutely, just as a Pro Tools Mac user can open a session created on a Windows system and vice versa so as long as both users have Pro Tools 12.5 or above. Avid Cloud Collaboration for Pro Tools is completely cross-platform.
What Happens If Everyone Collaborating Doesn't have The Same plug-ins?
The user with the plug-ins needs to consider using Track Commit (introduced in Pro Tools 12.3) or Track Freeze (introduced in Pro Tools 12.4) to render the plug-ins or virtual instruments. Alternatively, the other collaborators could choose to buy or rent the plug-in from the Avid Marketplace within Pro Tools.
In our video Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration - Tested James chose to ignore the fact he didn't have a Waves plug-in that Dan had as James was only tracking and not mixing. However when Russ came to output some of his virtual instructions, he knew that Dan didn't have those plug-ins or sound libraries, and so Russ used Track Commit to render out audio files before sharing the tracks with Dan.
How Can I Review The Changes Made By A Collaborator?
Avid recommend you revert the appropriate track to the latest version from the cloud by using the Abandon Changes command, which is undoable. This enables you to quickly go back and forth between your version and the version saved on the cloud.
Alternatively you can A/B changes by duplicating the track before sharing it with your collaborators, and make sure to keep the duplicate as a private, or un-shared track.
Does Cloud Collaboration Support Multiple Playlists On A Track?
Yes, all track playlists are shared in collaboration.
Is There Anything In Pro Tools That Cannot Be Shared?
Avid tell us that for the initial release everything in Pro Tools is sharable except for Groups, VCA Groups, Video Tracks and HEAT settings.
Where is The Local Cache Where My Projects Are Stored?
- On a Mac go to <user>/Documents/Pro Tools/
- On a Windows system go to <user>\My Documents\Pro Tools\
Avid make it very clear that you must not move these files manually. If you would prefer to have the local cache on your media storage drives rather than on your boot drive then you can change the default Project location at anytime in Pro Tools Preferences. All of your existing Projects will be moved to your new location, and new Projects will be created in this location.