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 all 4 silver iLoks but Brian Daly, who is behind my beloved Hotkey Matrix has sent in a great tip on how to layout markers for a song. Over to you Brian...
I lay out my markers following an exact convention. Marker 1 is always the full length of a song, including any lead in sound and the very tip of the tail. Sometimes this shifts, maybe the reverb tail gets longer and I need to update marker 1. At a certain point it's fixed. So when I need to bounce a mix, I just hit my location 1 (.1. on number pad) and I know that I will include everything (won't cut off tail for example). If the mix is being used in another project (video let's say) the old mix file can just be replaced by the new mix file. Same for stems.
Then I make selection markers all the way through the song in sequence: 2 intro, 3 vrs, 4 prechorus. The length of these sections is determined by the general mix found in that section of the song. So anywhere there is a significant change in the instruments, or vibe, I make the selection marker. I usually wind up with about 15-18 markers. The beginnings and ends of the marker are on the grid for a smooth loop. As an example of how this helps, I might have a bridge that really needs a different treatment. This allows me to focus on putting that vibe together on just that section, letting go of the other sections a bit. (If a song was not cut to a click I make a tempo map. So navigation is simple in general, based on bars and beats.)
Now, since I have limited short term memory left, I like have labels on the timeline for my selection markers. But Pro Tools won't show the name of a selection marker on the ruler, so I put regular markers at the beginning of each selection marker and name them with the number of the selection marker. As soon as the arrangement is fixed I set this up. From then on I just have to glance at my ruler, and immediately I can jump to the exact section of the song, and have it looping nicely. Even though it is some work to set it up, from then on I save time and look cool because as soon as someone says "can I hear my solo" or "let me hear the hook", boom I'm right there:)
The change for me in doing this is that I stick to my convention. Previously I would do something like this, but there would be weird little markers in their out of sequence, or the naming convention was inconsistent, or selection markers made on the fly to work on a section. Since it wasn't systematic, I didn't have the confidence to call the right marker. I would fish around a bit for the number, or have to pull up the marker window to find what I wanted.
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