What's the secret for bringing more €€€ - £££ - $$$ into your pocket? Saving time in your work while maintaining quality, because time = money. To help you along the way in that regard we've assembled ten tips that span workflows both inside and outside of Pro Tools. You may already know and use some of these tips, but maybe not all so watch the free video tutorial to see them in action.
1. Make Rough Mixes As You Go
Ever get that sinking feeling at the end of a ten song tracking day when the client asks for rough mixes to take home? ME TOO! To turn that frown into a smile always record roughs as you record the band. It's easy to set up in a template, so all you need to do is to be sure your Rough Mix track's record button is solid red whenever you're tracking and overdubbing.
2. Pre-Master Your Mixes
Never turn in a rough mix that hasn't been pre-mastered. Clients and artists will always compare your work to their past efforts or the best tracks in their genre they can find online. If your mix is not up to the comparison, you lose. Watch this free video tutorial to learn how to quickly dress up your mixes, so they stack up well against the competition.
3. Back Up Your Work
The hardest part about backing up your work is remembering to do it as you go. There are some great tools to help you in your quest for professional peace of mind. Synchronize Pro X ($49.95) is a simple free-standing piece of software that saves you time by backing up only the difference between your master and clone. Do pros use it? It is on the rigs at Blackbird Studio in Nashville where it's used every day. Carbon Copy Cloner ($39.99.) is another helper app that keeps your sessions and complete system backed up. Backblaze ($5 per month Unlimited) is an online service that works while you do, or not. It backs up in the background as you're online or you can schedule it to work when you're sleeping.
4. Always Check Your Copies
So you've been a good engineer and backed up your work to at least two places (one being off-site), but did you check them? If a bad copy has ever burned you, you know what I mean. Never think that a copy will work until you check it yourself – it's simple. Just close the master session and open the copy from the new drive. Before you close it be sure to look at Setup > Disk Allocation to be sure all the files are pointing to the new drive.
5. Know How To Recover From a Crash
This couldn't be simpler, but it's easy to forget. If you crash during a session and re-open it, your work may not be there. However, if you go to your song folder and open the lastest .ptx file from the Session File Backups folder your story may have a happier ending. It all depends on how you set your backup preferences, watch the video in this story to find out how.
6. Clean Up Edits As You Go
Overdub sessions can involve a lot of punching in and out of tracks. Never ever believe that your punches will always work. Use the Tab key and zoom toggle to zero in on your edits and quickly crossfade them to perfection.
7. Leave Your Sessions Playback Ready
There's nothing worse than opening a session that's not tidy and ready for playback. It's a simple matter to leave your sessions in tip-top shape for the next user (that maybe you!)
8. Pick Your Color Pallet
Unless you're colour blind, Pro Tools' ability to tag your groups by colour is a quick way to zero in on your tracks. Pick your favourite instrument/vocal group colours to quicken your ability to jump from one group to another.
9. Make Stems When You Mix
Stems are the best way to organize your mix files. It gives you the ability to quickly tweak recalls and deliver stems to clients for live stage performances and other future uses. Watch this free video tutorial for tips on setting up your system's IO setup to make stemming tracks quick and straightforward.
10. Organise Your Mixes Using I/O Setup
What's your procedure for jumping from recording to mixing? If you don't have one, start here with this handy tutorial on how to group your tracks for processing and level control.