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The Edit Window

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Exercise 2: Import Loops into Pro Tools

  1. Create one new track. Create one new mono audio track (you have memorized the shortcut 170fig_01.jpg+Shift+N/Ctrl+Shift+N by now, right?) Make sure you set it to Ticks, and name it “Kick.”

    Here’s a shortcut for this step and Step 3: Make sure the kick sample is the only one highlighted in the Region bin, and drag it to the Tracks list. This will create a track with the correct name and place the audio at bar 1, beat 1. If you do this, you’ll need to set the track to Ticks by clicking the track’s Time Base selector button.
  2. Make it jumbo size. Click on the Track Height selector beside the Kick track and choose jumbo.

  3. Drag the sample to the Edit window. In the Region bin on the right side of the Edit window, you’ll see the five drum samples. Click the kick sample and drag it to the beginning of your Kick track. Don’t worry about being exact, we’ll fix things later. After you drag the sample to the window, you’ll probably barely be able to see it because it’s very small. This is because we’re zoomed very far out and the sample is only one beat long.

  4. Select the Zoomer. We’re going to use the Zoomer tool (aka the magnifying glass) first. Click and hold on the magnifying glass icon, and you’ll see two menu options, Normal Zoom and Single Zoom. Normal Zoom means that when you activate the Zoomer, you’ll be using the Zoomer until you choose another tool. Single Zoom lets you use the Zoomer tool once, and then it automatically switches back to whatever tool you were using before. To practice with the Zoomer, you may want to leave it set to Normal Zoom; after you become more comfortable with the tool, you’ll begin to appreciate Single Zoom.

  5. Zoom in. Make sure the Zoomer tool is selected and that your cursor is now a magnifying glass. Clicking with the Zoomer will zoom in one level each time you click. That’s pretty imprecise, so I always tell new users to draw a box with the Zoomer around the area they want to Zoom into. Also, it’s a good idea to develop the habit of dragging from right to left rather than left to right. You’ll find it’s just much easier that way.

    Using the Zoomer, click and hold and drag from Bar 9 to Bar 1. You’ll see the faint lines of a box being created by the Zoomer tool. When you let go of the mouse button, Pro Tools zooms into that boxed area.
  6. Zoom out. Make sure the Zoomer is selected. To Zoom out, hold the Option (Mac) or Alt (Win) key and notice that the magnifying glass cursor now has a minus (–) sign (it’s normally a plus sign). Clicking while holding Option/Alt will zoom out one level each time you click.

  7. The Zoom settings. To the left of the Edit tools are the Zoom settings. The left arrow zooms out. The right arrow zooms in. The up arrow increases the size of the audio waveform, and the down arrow decreases it. Play with each setting to get familiar with it (but I still prefer to use the keyboard shortcuts 170fig_01.jpg+[ and Ctrl+[, and 170fig_01.jpg+] and Ctrl+]).

  8. The Zoom Presets. The five tiny buttons below the Zoom settings are the Zoom Presets. With these you can save the way a track is zoomed, so you can go back to specific zoom settings. To create a Zoom Preset, find a zoom setting that you like, hold down the 170fig_01.jpg or Ctrl key, and click on any preset number. To recall that zoom anytime, just click on the preset number.

  9. Zoom out to view entire song. To zoom out in order to see an entire song, double-click on the Zoomer.

    I use this command constantly throughout editing. You may notice that when you double-click on the Zoomer, you see our one Kick sample zoomed in close up. Since our song only consists only of that one beat right now, you’re seeing the entire song, which is a one-beat kick drum sample. This double-click Zoomer command will come in handy when we have a three-minute song and need to zoom out quickly.
  10. Zoom out again. Using 170fig_01.jpg+[ or Ctrl+[, zoom out to where you can see at least five or six bars.

    To the right of the Zoomer are five more tools: the Trimmer, the Selector, the Grabber, the Scrubber, and the Pencil. The tools you’ll use primarily while editing are the Selector, Grabber, Trimmer, and Zoomer.
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