Markers, or more correctly, memory locations in Pro Tools are very powerful. From marking points on the timeline through to saving selections, track show/hides and even linking to window configurations they really can achieve a lot but there are some shortcomings and I’m going to concentrate on the two which bother me most, and clearly from the feedback from the recent top 20 Ideascale post I’m not alone.
What's Lacking From Markers In Pro Tools?
Markers don’t follow edits. Unlike automation, which can either retain its position on the timeline or follow the clip with which it is associated, markers remain stubbornly fixed to their timeline position. Not helpful.
There is only one markers ruler. I’d like to be able to have separate marker rulers for marking out sections of a project and for notes, marking mistakes or for areas which need cleaning up or fixing. The potential uses for timeline markers are endless yet at present we have to squeeze all of this on to a single ruler.
If you are a heavy user of markers you will definitely be recalling the markers from the numeric keypad using the “period-marker number-period” shortcuts. Those marker numbers are important and many of us use our own standard sets of marker numbers for different uses. Renumbering those markers can be hard work, so powerful as they are, there is definitely room for improvement in the Pro Tools system of markers.
In the same way as in the recent post on folders in the clips list, I think there is an elegant solution already in place in Media Composer. Media composer offers multiple marker rulers for marking points on the timeline, with multiple marker groups identified by colour and the possibility of placing markers in clips instead of on the timeline ruler. While I’d love to see improvements like this to Pro Tools, in their absence there are some easy workarounds which can help, though if you want to access markers by number your’e stuck with a single markers ruler for the foreseeable future:
Using Sync points to mark a point in a clip rather than on the timeline is something I often do and as such they can be used as markers which can move with edits. Some people cut clips and use the clip boundary to mark a point but I find sync points clearer as all sessions contain clip boundaries but not all sessions contain sync points, however you can only have one sync point in any one clip.
Using Clip Groups
An extension of using clip boundaries on existing tracks is to use a dedicated track containing empty clip groups, an idea I posted about some time ago and Alan followed up with a variation on this technique which is common in post.