Warning, simple studio tip alert! As we always say here on Production Expert, the simplest of studio tips are typically the best ones as they can easily be forgotten or under appreciated. I’ve got two Pro Tools studios in my house. One situated in a purpose built cabin at the end of our garden and another more simple home studio setup in a spare bedroom. Often a production will start in one studio and end up in another. How then do we get sessions from one system to the computer?
Do we throw our sessions on an external hard drive? No
Do we drop our sessions and files on a USB Thumb drive?
Do we share session folders over WeTransfer? No, but we do use this service a lot for sending large files out to clients
Do we use DropBox? No, though on occasion we use this for client services
Do we use Avid Cloud Collaboration? No
How then do we share sessions between our two Apple studio computers? The solution is simple, by using a local shared drive on our network which doesn’t require any additional hardware. If you need to access data and media across multiple computers within your property then this trick is well worth investigating and testing for yourselves.
Step 1 - Create A New Folder
Create a new folder, name it and place it on one of your drives. We use one of our redundant Mac Pro hard drive bays for this but it can be a folder on any of your drives.
Step 2 - Setup Sharing Preferences
Click the Apple logo at the top left > System Preferences > Sharing
Select “File Sharing” on the left
Under “Shared Folders” select the “+” button
Locate the new folder you created in step one
Step 3 - Setup Users
Now it’s time to set who can access this folder. In the “Users” box set the read/write options to taste. We have this set to read/write for convenience.
Step 4 - Set File Sharing On
Select “Options” then select the “Share Files And Folders Using SMB” network option. Click “OK” and jot down the SMB IP address, eg: “smb://22.214.171.124” stated within the UI.'
Alternatively you can use the AFP option, which traditionally has been the way to share folders and drives on the Apple operating system. However, if you have a recent Mac or you have updated to a more recent macOS and the drives have been updated to the new Apple File System (APFS) you cannot use AFP as it is no longer supported on APFS formatted drives. So it’s probably best to get used to using SMB rather than AFP from now on.
Make a note of this computer’s login username and password. These are credentials you use to confirm installation of software on this computer.
Step 5 - Access
Move to your second Apple computer. From the desktop dropdown menu click Go > Connect To Server…
Enter in the full SMB IP address you jotted down from the other computer, eg: “smb://126.96.36.199”
Next you will be prompted to enter the login username and password from the other Apple computer. Once confirmed, you will now have a simple drag and drop local drive setup.
There You Have It
This negates the need for data delivery services, external hard drives using a ‘sneaker-net’ or USB Thumb drives to transport files from one computer to another in the same premises. I did warn you that this was a simple tip, but we find it very useful indeed.
Got A Mac And A Windows Computer?
You can also use the SMB protocol if you want to share folders from a Mac to a Windows computer.