– Editing Audio
Overview One of the best things about Pro Tools is its incredibly flexible and accurate audio editing capabilities. Digital audio editing has allowed audio editors to develop their techniques significantly since the days of magnetic tape editing. The fact that edits can be made without affecting the original audio permanently (so-called ‘non-destructive’ editing) allows editors to be fearless when it comes to trying out creative ideas. The speed with which edits can be made and the accuracy – down to sample level in the case of Pro Tools – has also raised the stakes creatively. ‘Destructive’ editing changes the original audio – which is fine if this is what you really want to do. But it makes lots more sense to use non-destructive editing to make your edits with no fear of losing original audio – and you can always create a new audio file containing the edited audio if you want to gather it all together in one file for any reason (maybe to export it later). Destructive editing only really makes sense on a hard disk system if you are running short of space on your hard disks to record to. And given the relatively cheap price per gigabyte of hard disks these days, most people should be able to afford to buy enough hard disk space for their needs – without having to resort to destructive recording. Non-destructive editing simply rearranges the order in which parts of the original audio are played back, skipping some parts completely and repeating others as required. These parts or bits of the original audio are referred to as ‘regions’ within the audio file. The default situation is for a region to encompass the whole of the audio file. You then define smaller regions within that file so you can repeat these, use them elsewhere in your session, or whatever. These regions are always shown in the Regions List that can be revealed or hidden at the right-hand side of the Pro Tools Edit window and can be used as many times as you like in your session without them using up any more hard disk space. Pro Tools tracks can be regarded as ‘playlists’ or ‘edit decision lists’, because they typically contain one or more regions placed along the timeline. In other
words, the track lists the regions in the order that you wish them to play back. Or you could say that the track lists the edits that you have made to your recordings so that they play back the way you want them to. When the audio is presented as a waveform that scrolls from left to right along a ‘timeline’ as it plays back, it is often referred to as a playlist. In Pro Tools, MIDI data can also be presented alphanumerically in a vertically scrolling list called the MIDI Event List. Audio is presented this way in many other digital editors, in which case the list is typically referred to as the Edit Decision List or EDL. Pro Tools does not have an alphanumeric audio event list or EDL – an unfortunate omission in my opinion as it can be far easier and quicker to make certain types of edits by typing alphanumerically into an EDL.