When tracking a band in the studio, the speed of your Pro Tools workflow will largely determine the amount of work you'll get done. Time is money! This tip (Mac only) significantly shortens the time between the end of tracking one song and the start of another. Not only will it make you faster when jumping to new songs, as a bonus, it also organizes your session folders in the best way possible.
Create Your Template
First create a tracking session template with all tracks named, and inputs/outputs set for the studio and rig where you'll be working. I always call this session “<band name> Template” and create it in advance on my laptop. There’s no audio in the template so it can be emailed or kept on a jump drive for quick upload to the studio computer's work drive. Once uploaded to the studio's computer, I nest it inside a folder titled "<band name> (day/month/year) then test the signal flow from my mics.
Make Your .ptx File a Stationery Pad
Once the template is solid you can designate it as a Stationery Pad.
- From the Template session folder, click once on the <band name> Template.ptx file and use the Command+I shortcut or right-click and choose "Get Info."
- In the Get Info pop-up, click on the box to the left of Stationery Pad to enable it.
- Drag the <band name> Template.ptx session file to the Dock and drop it right next to the Trash. This does not "move" your session file but creates an easily accessible Alias that can be removed later by right-clicking and choosing Remove From Dock from the Options menu.
Create Your Songs
Once you're ready to create the first session/song, click once on the file on the dock (Mac), or Windows shortcut in the location you chose for it.
If Pro Tools is already open, you'll quickly see the Template session open with a pop-up asking whether you'd like to Edit Stationery or make New Session (like the picture at the top of this post.)
Choose New Session, and from the browser, type in the song's name. Before you hit Save, be sure to navigate up one folder level to store the new session/song in the Band Folder (Heads up! Do not store the new song in the Template Folder.)
After each song is finished, repeat the step above for each new song. At the end of the day, you will have a beautifully organized band folder containing separate folders named for each song, each with its own Pro Tools session assets.
Question: Have any PC users been able to replicate this feature on their platforms? If so, please share your experience with us in the comments.
Final Tip: If you need to change your template to add tracks, change in/outs, or repair something that's not working, choose Edit Stationery instead of New Session from the pop-up. After making your changes, save and close your session. Check to see if the .ptx file is still a Stationery Pad by following the instructions above. Once everything is verified, you're good to go – your updated template will now reflect your changes when you open it to save new songs.