Cloud collaboration enables users of Pro Tools 12.5 the ability of working on projects together with other Pro Tools users around the world offering a set of integrated tools for sharing all or some of your Pro Tools session so other people can add their own parts or mix tracks.
Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration In Use
All customers with a perpetual Pro Tools 12 license who have an active Annual Upgrade Plan and all customers on a current subscription plan can access the download to install Pro Tools 12.5, You will also need to choose a collaboration plan and you can read more on the cost of Pro Tools 12.5 cloud collaboration which includes a free plan.
If you have access then you will need to download the Pro Tools 12.5 installer from either your Avid Application Manager or your Avid Account at Avid.com
Secondly you will need to have an Avid Account so you can create and share your Pro Tools 12 Projects with other Pro Tools collaborators. Once you have this set-up then you can then start creating and sharing a Pro Tools Project with other users who will also need to have the Pro Tools software and account.
Avid recommend Internet connections that supports 10–20 Mbps up and down speeds, all of the team have these kind of internet speeds and found no issue with upload and download of the Project.
The Pro Tools Expert team have had access to Pro Tools 12.5 for some time now and have been putting it through its paces, watch our free video Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration - Tested to see it in action.
What is the difference between a Pro Tools Session and a Pro Tools Project?
A Session file is the standard format Pro Tools users are familiar with—the file and all associated assets are stored on a local hard drive. If you want to collaborate online, you will need to create a Project file, which is like a Session that’s stored online in your Avid cloud space and cached locally on your system.
Projects are a new format that provides a lot more workflow flexibility. For collaboration, it enables Pro Tools to run different services to handle all of the asset management for you once you store a Project in the cloud. Avid say they have designed and architected this new Project format to not only simplify collaboration, but to lay the groundwork for many new workflows we have planned for the future—both locally and in the cloud. Pro Tools Sessions aren't going away, but Avid say they see an opportunity to offer new and extensible workflows in the future with Projects.
Pro Tools 12.5 Review - Our Conclusions
Now after using the new collaboration feature in Pro Tools 12.5 I truly believe that it is a feature as important as 64 bit was to Pro Tools 11. I'm excited to see how Avid develops the platform in the future and I'm very keen to get collaborating with my Pro Tools user friends. Avid have created a workflow many of us used to undertake in a rather convoluted way by using third party cloud services. Keeping all the media, communications and history of a Pro Tools project all in Pro Tools make complete and utter sense in my opinion.
A great deal of my non Pro Tools Expert (real life) work is based around collaboration with composers, artists and engineers around the world, so potentially I have the most to gain of all of the PTE team with these new features in Pro Tools 12.5. However, it could be said that I have been more than a little vocal about being unconvinced by some of Avid's collaboration ideas in the past. This I believe is mainly due to the lack of information we have been given in the about what the grand plan is.
At this point I hold my hands up and if I had a hat I would be tucking into it right now. The collaboration process was simple and easy to use and if there is one thing I always say, simple is the way forward, well at least for me. Working on this Project felt just like I was working on any conventional session. It is worth noting that one preference that you might want to look at is the one for where you collaboration projects are stored locally. By default this is your system drive. You can however change this to any drive or folder on your system, your media drive for example.
I'm not going to say that Pro Tools 12.5 is perfect because it's not. There are still some little things that show up the fact that these features are new and need some refining. The Artist Chat page for one feels a little like a version of MSN from 2002, however it is a great start. The first thing Avid need to add here is the ability to send pictures. No not "selfies" but .pdf files of charts and chord progressions etc. The rest of the interface has been well worked out with Avid's experience of storage solution the back end systems are bound to be rock solid. I really do hope that the financial costs of the 12.5 ecosystem are as well considered at the software.
At the time of writing we have seen the costs for Avid's cloud storage options for Pro Tools 12.5 users but I hope that they are competitive enough to encourage all Pro Tools users to jump onboard. By the way, my hat tastes lovely.
Regular readers of the blog will know that I've not been convinced by the need for Cloud Collaboration features but I have to say I am impressed by Avid's implementation of collaboration into Pro Tools. The ability to be able to choose what you share and what you don't as well as what you want to download is helpful. However in reality most of the people I collaborate with now are happy with a stereo mix of a track to work with, in fact the simpler the better, so some people may simply send a stereo bounce of their Project to get the parts added from other users. There's a lot to like about Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration however there are a couple of things that are going to put a question mark in the minds of some. The first one is that it uses Pro Tools exclusively for the collaboration, this is not how the production industry is moving, many of us work in several DAWs or a different DAW entirely, for exclusive Pro Tools collaboration this is great, but for many it offers nothing. The second issue and the elephant in the room is the cost of the Pro Tools Cloud Collaboration packages which are not cheap, it's not a good idea comparing it with a regular cloud service like Dropbox, unless of course you are want to work with people outside of Pro Tools then you would simply use a service like Dropbox to share your assets. Right now the packages look firmly aimed at the hobbyist or occasional user working on average sized session at lower sample rates - larger studios would eat the plans for breakfast when working on large track sessions at high sample rates.
To build on this technology it would be good for Avid to consider a number of things; First how this could work for other groups such as large film and music studios who are unlikely to trust Avid (in fact anyone) with their movies and albums and need to keep their assets on their own server. Second how people not using Pro Tools can collaborate with Pro Tools users. Finally they will need to consider the cost of the packages, with large amounts of storage being given away or costing next to nothing many will forego these features and simply use other ways of collaborating with cheaper storage options.
So my conclusion is that technically it's an excellent addition to Pro Tools and the implementation of the cloud collaboration for Pro Tools users is cleverly thought through. It has been a long time coming and will prove useful to some Pro Tools users, with the tweaks suggested above then it could prove a hit for many more too.
Pro Tools 12.5 Review - Conclusion
It seems that Avid have managed to convince 3 skeptics of the benefits of Cloud Collaboration in Pro Tools and have presented a well thought out workflow to make it as transparent a process as possible. However they need to seriously consider the need for localised storage, third party collaboration, and most of all pricing in order to convince others of the benefits.
- Single solution for Pro Tools users to collaborate with
- Easy to understand and use
- Compatible with older Pro Tools sessions
- Fast transfer speeds
- No localised collaboration option which will prevent film, TV and large studios taking it seriously.
- Only offers workflows for Pro Tools users, needs third party support
- Pricing and package options need a rethink if it is to really take off