Enter Pro Tools, Volume Levels
by Barrett Golding
Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001
Subject: new stuff
From: Scott Carrier
After a rather long intermission in order for me to actually write the
script for this story, I am now ready to start mixing the piece. I have
my narration, the actualities, the sound effects, and the music all cut
and sitting in a bunch of different sessions. So, first I’m going to
import or bounce all these files to a new session and then arrange them on
My big question now is how do you do fades and control the levels?
This is an easy one. The Track Window can display regions in several formats: waveform, pan, volume, etc. You want the Volume view.” To get pop-up menu for the Display Format Selector is at the bottom of the track controls, click it open, then scroll to select “volume.” Now you can see the volume info (it defaults to a straight line at 0db).
From the Editing Tools at the top, chose the Grabber (hand icon).
Now click anywhere in a Region to set “breakpoints” where you want to vary the volume. Dragging these breakpoints up or down changes the relative volume level at that point. (Don’t forget to hit Save every once and a while, or your volume info will be lost.) If two tracks are grouped for Mix, then changing the volume in one makes the same change in the other.
PT has its one custom fade creator that will fade-in the beginning of a region, fade-out the end, or cross-fade two overlapping regions. With the Selector edit tool (the waveform icon next to the Grabber), mouse-click&drag to select the region you want to fade.
Chose the PT menu command Edit>Fade>CreateFades. The Fades dialog box will appear. You can view the fade with or without the sound waveform. You can shade the fade by click-dragging with the mouse. There’s a Speaker icon at the top-right that will play the fade (not shown here). Once you have what you want, click Ok and the fade will appear on the region.
To which Transom jefe Jay Allison adds:
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001
From: Jay Allison
Subject: Re: volume in protools
Fades are fixed adjustments and can’t move from where they are: the
boundaries of regions. You can change their shape or expand/contract
them, but you can’t move them. They are especially handy for fixing bad
edits and rolling in/out ambient sound.
Volume is automation and can move independently of the region. It can be
slipped foward or backward on a track. It is infinitely flexible, and
therefore riskier, especially as you build up tracks and relationships
between tracks. For instance, be careful to note the differences in
moving/editing regions or automation in Slip vs. Shuttle modes or in
Volume View vs. Waveform View. Experiment and learn.
The other nice way to handle volume is in real time by clicking your mouse
on the volume button, and dragging it up or down as the piece plays. You
can only mix one track at a time this way and it must be in “touch” or
“latch” mode to record the automation. When you’re done, you put it back
in “read” mode. It’s a good way to rough out a track and then go back in
with the little finger icon and get anal, as it were.
Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? It actually is, a bit, until you go in and
mess around a whole lot. That’s the important thing. Create a test
session and go in and try EVERYTHING. Push every button. Try all the
Then, after you’ve pushed every button, go back and re-read the manual
until you fall asleep. Tomorrow’s another day.