In part 11 of our Getting To Grips With Pro Tools series, we are going to take a look at how to use playlists, comping and labels. Using playlists gives you the facility to have different edits on the same track. You can also use multiple playlists to hold different takes and then combine the best bits into one master track. This is called comping. Pro Tools also has the option to be able to rate each clip to help you see which is the best take of each segment.
Use Playlists In Pro Tools
When recording make sure that you give each ‘take’ a playlist. That way Playlist 01 becomes ‘take 1’ etc so you won’t need to need to do the mental adjustments to convert playlist numbers to take numbers. Leave the original playlist empty, when you come to ‘comp up’ you will have an empty playlist to comp onto.
Vocal Comping In Pro Tools
Before the vocal comping feature was added back in Pro Tools 8, I would record a number of takes and then pull them out of the clip list onto separate tracks, then route all these tracks to an Aux track so I could audition them all through the same processing chain. Then I would cut and paste the best bits onto a 'master' track to create the finished vocal comp. The other main technique used by many people is to keep the separate takes as Playlists on a single track and copy the best bits to a new Playlist on that track to create a comp. This had some advantages, such as not forcing you to mute and unmute individual tracks manually, but has the big disadvantage that you could only see one Playlist at once.
The vocal comping feature in Pro Tools allows us to combine the best of both techniques, because you can now display each Playlist on a track in its own separate lane. You will find an option in the track display drop‑down menu called Playlist.
When you select this view, Pro Tools will display the most recent Playlist on the main track, and the previous takes on 'sub‑tracks' or 'comp lanes' as Avid call them. You can see which are comp lanes, as they are inset on the Edit window. As before, all Playlists on a track share the same voice, so you can only listen to one comp lane at a time. The Edit window's Show/Hide list displays the Playlists on a track inset below the track itself, so you can show or hide the complete set by selecting the track, but also show and hide individual comp lanes.
Once you have made a selection within a clip on a comp lane, you can use the 'Copy Selection to Main Playlist' button and corresponding shortcut 'promote' to bring the clip up to the master Playlist for that track. Clips comped to the master Playlist retain the colour of their source comp lane so you can see where they came from.
Track Comping Keyboard Shortcuts In Pro Tools
|Function||Mac Shortcut||Windows Shortcut|
|Create New Playlist||Control + /||Start + /|
|Copy Selection to the Target Playlist||Shift + Opt + Up Arrow||Shift + Alt + Up Arrow|
|Move a Selection to the Target Playlist||Shift + Opt + T||Shift + Alt + T|
|Cycle Audio Within Clip Selection||Shift + Command + Up/Down Arrow||Shift + Control + Up/Down Arrow|
For more on comping and playlists Russ has done a great video on how to do this including him singing live during the video, respect brother.
In this tutorial video from our premium video channel. Russ shows some of the tricks used by producers to create the sound heard on a lot of pop and R&B vocals commonly found in the charts. He shows how it takes several things to make one comped vocal including several autotune effects.
When Avid introduced Pro Tools 2018 at NAMM in Anaheim, it introduced major workflow improvements for comping tracks from playlists. But what if you don’t have the latest version, instead opting for Pro Tools 12 or earlier? The following tutorial will demonstrate best practices for the latest and earlier versions that allow you to quickly make a composite track from multiple playlists. Learn more in our article Free Tutorial – Make Quick Vocal Comps Using Playlists in Pro Tools 11, 12, & 2018.
Free Tutorial - How To Use Track Comping In Pro Tools In ADR Audio Post Production Workflows
Track comping or vocal comping in Pro Tools isn't just a feature for music production workflows. With the latest features it now can be a very useful workflow for audio post-production workflows, especially with ADR and in this article, Avid's Application Specialist Dave Tyler gives an introduction to using the powerful playlist capabilities in Pro Tools in the context of an audio post-production workflow.
The ability to quickly and efficiently compile a master version from multiple takes is crucial for anyone working on ADR or VO recording and Pro Tools now offers a number of ways to achieve this.
Learn more about this in our article How To Use Track Comping In Pro Tools In ADR Audio Post Production Workflows
Labeling & Ratings Clips In Pro Tools
When auditioning each segment of each take to determine the best ones, it's often handy to write down a rating scheme to try and put some sort of quantitive value on each segment. Since Pro Tools 8, you no longer need to use a pen and paper solution to sort your takes Avid have incorporated a rating system — which is, of course, saved with the Session. If you right‑click on a Clip and select Rating from the bottom of the contextual menu, you can give it a score of between one and five.
Alternatively, choose Ratings from the Clips menu or use the shortcut of all three modifier keys plus numbers one through five. Avid haven't decided for you, whether one or five is the best — you choose! You can even apply a Rating on the fly during loop recording using this shortcut, as long as you do it before the take has finished.
Once you've rated all your takes or Clips, you can choose not to see the duff ones. If you right‑click on the master Playlist track name and then select Filter Lanes, you can then choose 'Show Only Lanes With' and 'Clips Rated >= 1‑5', and select a threshold number such as three. Pro Tools will now only show comp lanes that contain at least one Region rated three or higher. If your rating scheme works the other way round, you can hide lanes rated higher than a threshold value instead!
The other filter options, 'Clips Within The Edit Selection' and 'Clips Outside The Edit Selection', are very useful if you work separately on different sections of a song. For instance, if you loop recorded around the first verse until you were happy, then did the same for the chorus, and so on, you might end up with lots of Playlists, most of which were empty at any given point. These options allow you to see only the comp lanes that have Clips within whichever section of the Session is defined by the Edit selection.
Next time in Getting To Grips With Pro Tools we will look at tips for using and selecting plug-ins and presets.