Importing Video into Pro Tools
Importing a video file into Pro Tools is simple. Select Import Movie… from the Movie menu in Pro Tools, navigate your way to the location of the movie file. Click on the Open button and Pro Tools will create a video track and open the Movie window. You will be able to re-size the video window in Pro Tools by getting hold of the bottom right hand corner and dragging with the mouse.
It is not possible to have ‘full screen’ video from within Pro Tools unless you dedicate one computer monitor to it and set that monitor’s resolution to a size in pixels similar to that of the movie. For instance, for a standard 4:3 TV movie, the movie file is 720×576 pixels, so by setting the screen resolution of your second monitor to 800×600, the movie will almost fill the screen. You can route the video out of the computer to a video monitor and so view the movie on a screen designed for the job see our video overview post for more options.
You can set the video track to show either blocks or frames, which displays thumbnails along the track in the Edit window. Although this can help navigate around the movie it does put extra demand on the computer, so I tend to leave it in blocks mode. You can also hide the video track using the Show/Hide menu, to free up both computer resources and screen real estate.
When you import a video file into Pro Tools it will place the start of the video file at the start of the Session, but the timecode in the video file might not start at zero. You can compensate for this by changing the Session Start time in the Session Setup Window to match the start time of the video file. Some people like to have some space before the video file starts for line-up tone and so on. No problem: just set the Session Start time back, say, 1 minute. You can then use the Spot tool to position the start of the video file at the correct timecode point.
Now you may well be asking: so how does all this stuff actually help me do something useful with my Pro Tools system and working to picture? Well, we’ve covered what you need to get to a position to start work. In the rest of this series we will look at how you can use Pro Tools to handle the nuts and bolts of audio post-production for TV documentaries, drama and films as well as composing music to picture.