Editing In ProTools – By Catherine Marshall

Punching In (overdubbing)

Before we get into more editing moves, I would like to preface this section by saying that you will want to be very careful with your editing. I often find that rather than re-recording individual words, it is often more effective to re-record an entire spot or an entire sentence. You want your voice-over work to sound very natural. Until you become very comfortable working with Pro Tools, it can be difficult to make lots of edits sound like one smooth, natural take.

That said, when you are ready to do an overdub, there are a few different ways to do it.

Linear Method:

If you decide that the first part of your recording is good but the rest needs to be re-recorded, your job is easy!

Place your selector tool where you want your recording to begin, which is after the first part but before any following speech.

Set yourself up to record just like it was described before, and hit the spacebar in order to start your recording. This will work exactly the same as if you are recording a fresh take.

I would recommend using a pre-roll before doing any overdub work. Hearing exactly what you said and how you said it before doing an overdub will allow you to continue your speech in a more natural sounding manner. As a reminder, if you’re using pre-roll, it’s best that you use headphones as opposed to speakers. If you’re using speakers, you’ll need to turn down the speaker volume when your overdub begins, so the speaker sound does not bleed into your recording.

Spot Method:

If you recorded a complete take and most of it is good, but one section in the middle of the take is not, there are a couple of ways to re-record that section. The spot method requires that you actually select the entire area that you are going to re-record. To do this, click and drag from the point where your overdub will need to begin until the point where it will need to end.

Then, just record like normal. Your recording will be shut off when it reaches the end of the highlighted area.

The limitation with this method is that you must finish your recording within the time allotted (the amount of time that you highlighted).

The way around this would be to create a second mono audio track to use for overdubs. Set up the second track to record as you normally would. Record your overdub. When you’re finished, place the audio region where it belongs in the original track by clicking and dragging it there with your grabber tool. You may need to push the audio regions that either precede or follow the space where you’re overdubbing over so that everything lines up correctly.

Moving Multiple Regions:

If you do push over more than one audio region at a time, you’ll need to use the grabber tool to select the first region, hold down the shift key and click on the last region you’re looking to move over. Then use the grabber tool to move all of the regions over in one move. This will preserve the spacing among the rest of your audio regions.

Importing Music

For most of your work, importing music will not be a necessary step. However, you may want to offer your clients the option that you can provide a fully-produced spot. If so, you’ll need to research music libraries. There are many different ways to obtain music, but unless it is public domain music, you will need to pay for the rights to use it.

In order to import music, click on File> Import> Audio, and you’ll see the Import Audio Menu pop up.

You will need to select the audio wherever it is located on your computer. If you would like to preview different pieces of audio, highlight a music track and then click the playback head that can be found in the lower left hand side of your screen. When you find an audio file that you would like to import, click the convert button (because Pro Tools must convert the audio file to your session’s audio file type), and then click done.

The next screen will ask you where you would like to save the file. Click choose. Pro Tools saves the audio file to the audio files folder of your current session as a default, and that is exactly where you want it.

Then, wait for your audio file to be converted for you. A screen will then pop up asking you where in your session you would like to place your new audio file.

When you import audio to a new track, Pro Tools automatically creates a stereo track for you and will import the audio directly to the beginning of the new track. When you choose to import the audio to a region list, your music is not automatically imported to a track. Instead, it appears in the region list to the right side of your edit window. You would then click and drag the audio file from the region list onto your stereo track at the point on the track of your choosing.

Next, use the grabber tool to place your audio file at just the right place in comparison to your voice recording. Usually, I like the music to start just before the voice and end just after the voice. Once you have placed the music file at the proper place in relation to the beginning of your voice recording, you’ll need to chop off the end of the audio recording just after your voice recording ends.

To accomplish this, choose your trim tool,and place it over the music track where you would like it to end. I have a funny way of remembering what the trim tool keeps and discards. I like to think that it hugs what it keeps and turns its back to what it doesn’t want. If the trim tool is not hugging the part of the music that you want it to keep, hold down the option or alt key and then click. You may need to do this when chopping off parts of music regions because the trim tool is used to chop off the end sections of regions. It changes directions at the halfway mark of a given region. In order to reverse this, you would use the Option or Alt key as described above.

When you import audio to track, Pro Tools automatically creates a stereo track for you and will import the audio directly to the beginning of the new track. When you choose import audio to region list, your music is not automatically imported to a track. Instead, it appears in the region list to the right side of your edit window. Then, you would click and drag the audio file from the region list onto your stereo track at the point on the track of your choosing.

In either case, upon choosing to import audio, a file menu for your computer will come up. You will need to select the audio wherever it is located on your computer. If you would like to preview different pieces of audio, highlight a music track, and then click the playback head that can be found in the lower-left-hand side of your screen. When you find an audio file that you would like to import, click the convert button so that Pro Tools converts the audio file to your session’s audio file type, and click done.

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