A good proportion of my work comes in from online collaborators. Most of the sessions I’m hired to work on are delivered to me as single bulk audio stem downloads because many of my regular clients use DAWs different to my weapon of choice, Pro Tools of course. There are times when I’m offered Pro Tools sessions and folders… happy days… but not always. Of course, I’m going to favour a Pro Tools folder over a wedge of audio files for mixing but there have been some questionable Pro Tools sessions that I’ve received in the past that on occasion make me wonder if it would had been easier to work with stems.
In this article I list 5 common Pro Tools session fails that crop up from time to time when receiving Pro Tools sessions to work on from online collaborators.
1. Unnecessarily Large Download Sizes
I typically receive client Pro Tools session via WeTransfer. Like many other cloud-based file sharing systems, I get to see how large the package is before triggering the download. I’ve had to ask several of my clients to slim down their sessions because 15GB+ is a tad excessive for a 16 track, 4-minute pop/rock track. Often their Pro Tools clip list is full of countless takes that are useless to both parties moving forward through the project.
The simple fix:
Open the Pro Tools session
File > Save Copy In and make sure you check the ‘Include Audio File’ option
Zip the Pro Tools folder down & resend
That old bugbear, unnamed tracks and clips. It’s fairly easy to spot someone who doesn’t name their tracks when they start recording because their clips will be typically named Audio “insert number here” and their track will be named. Name everything!
3. Missing Files
When Pro Tools complains to me that it can’t find audio files I answer immediately with “I know exactly where those files are, they’re on my client’s computer”.
4. Too Many Session Files
It’s nice to have choice in life… choice though isn’t something I want when it comes to session files. It’s fairly common to receive a Pro Tools session folder with at least two .ptx files in. For all I know each .ptx file could be a completely different cut of the same song, and yes I have started working on the most recently opened session once before only to find that the client wanted me to work on version 2. Using the Save Session Copy In option that I refer to above will fix this as you will only be sending the actual session that you want worked on as well as only the audio files that are used in that version of the project.
5. Virtual Instruments Not Committed
This fail has caught me out more times than I care to remember, i’ll be totally honest though, I have also sent Pro Tools sessions with VI’s left on instrument tracks only to find out that the person receiving the project doesn’t have the libraries or instruments for it. Never assume your collaborator has the same set of plug-ins and instruments as you, always track commit all your virtual instrument tracks before delivering.
What About You?
What types of problems that are not highlighted in this article do you face when receiving Pro Tools sessions from collaborators online?