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Is ProTools a must for post prod. carreer?
Old 9th May 2020
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Is ProTools a must for post prod. carreer?

Hello,

I'm a young composer and audio engineer interested in pursuing a career in composition and audio post production for audiovisual media (TV/cinema/games etc). I by now have several years of experience working with music and audio for various projects and purposes and recently I have started working on some first small productions with indie movie makers and game developers, basically covering all audio roles, hoping that this will eventually lead to some freelance jobs in more professional settings.

I have followed some seminars and workshops and noticed that specially in the cinema post production (in games to a lesser degree) professionals seem to be expected to use Pro Tools. The workflow seems to not be exchanging stems between the various involved people, but rather projects where all edits and layers can be accessed by each other. It seems that in some cases people even limit themselves to the use of a bunch of industry standard plugins for the sake of compatibility.

So I am wondering, am I forced to buy Pro Tools and become well versed inside it if I am aspiring a post production career? I personally am proficient in Reaper, which I heavily customized and developed a very speedy workflow, and if I could I would keep using only that. But if it means that I can't take half of all opportunities if I don't master Pro Tools I guess I'll have to bite the bullet.

In that case, does anyone know of a good video tutorial series, walking through the functionalities of a recent version of Pro Tools? Possibly without any bias towards a certain type of needs/workflow (unless it is post production) so that I can learn it as quickly as possible (don't need an hour of explanation on how to record a drumset). Or is working through the manual still the quickest way to go about it?
Old 9th May 2020
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Hit the "similar threads" button below. This topic has been debated ad infinitum here for decades.
Old 10th May 2020
  #3
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NReichman's Avatar
 

Composition and post-production are two very different things. Lots of composers I work with use Logic or Digital Performer. On some projects they're expected to deliver stems, on others, they must deliver PT sessions. Sometimes they use PT as a recorder with Logic as the source. There are no rules, but there can be expectations. Most of the composers I know use PT in a very basic way, and that's fine. I'm not expecting fancy sessions from them.

In post, there are many different jobs with unique skill sets. Dialog editors, SFX editors and mixers all have their own workflows and job-specific expertise.

John Purcell's book "Dialogue Editing for Motion Pictures" is a great place to start learning. The audio education industry is heavily tilted toward music production training, so you can be choosy about what's actually useful in your post-education. The Pro Tools manual is not a good way to learn the app. It is a good resource to answer specific questions about features, but it has no overarching theme, or industry-specific guidance. I recently worked with a SFX editor who was doing some very cool stuff in Reaper. But to complete the film soundtrack that we were making, I had him spot his elements to a simple PT session so I could import his tracks quickly during the final mix.

All that said, the workflows that I'm talking about are what professionals right now are using to do their work. Your generation will discover new ways to do things and will make new standards.
Old 10th May 2020
  #4
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by NReichman View Post
[. . .good answer. . .]
@ NReichman -
Good answer. Good answer. Like the way you think! I'm gonna be watchin' you.
@ Synthbrass -

Usually on GS I think one too often gets a response that might have come from Professor Terguson when asking about the necessity of Pro Tools. Lots of flaming language and emotion!

For what it is worth, I adopted Pro Tools Ultimate. It has been very helpful with complex projects. No regrets about the investment.


A composer,

Ray H.
Old 10th May 2020
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Thanks for the answers!
@ NReichman this gave me a good insight. I think I am most interested in either composition or sounddesign but I am happy about jobs in any other role that allows me to work on sound for picture.
It sounds refreshing that it is often only needed to load your rendered audio into Pro Tools and not need to do all the processing and creative work there (even tough I don’t understand why I can’t just render stems and the other person imports them). Anyway I think when I have some spare time I will just subscribe to ProTools for a month and figure out how to do all the basic things with either the guide or tutorials so that I can apply for jobs requiring ProTools knowledge and if I am asked to do something more specific inside Pro Tools I will have a foundation to build on and quickly find out how to do it.
For the rest I will just keep using Reaper but probably learning some Pro Tools will come in handy some day for every audio professional, specially in Post Production.
Old 10th May 2020
  #6
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uptheoctave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synthbrass View Post
In that case, does anyone know of a good video tutorial series, walking through the functionalities of a recent version of Pro Tools? Possibly without any bias towards a certain type of needs/workflow (unless it is post production) so that I can learn it as quickly as possible (don't need an hour of explanation on how to record a drumset). Or is working through the manual still the quickest way to go about it?
It will help enormously.
I don't know many people working professionally in post who don't know Pro Tools to some degree.

I moved from Logic to Pro Tools about 10 years ago and it took time.
I'm writing an article at the moment about how to move from one DAW to another actually.
Once it is published I will link it here.

In some ways it is harder to learn a new DAW than it is to learn the first one because you have a sort of inertia with your existing workflow, but If you work at it you can known it over pretty quickly.
My advice is to just use it- don't be tempted to open up Reaper, except to export audio that you import into Pro Tools.
It would be good if you had a completely project in Reaper that you can bounce the raw audio out of and then try to recreate your final project in PT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Synthbrass View Post
In that case, does anyone know of a good video tutorial series, walking through the functionalities of a recent version of Pro Tools? Possibly without any bias towards a certain type of needs/workflow (unless it is post production) so that I can learn it as quickly as possible (don't need an hour of explanation on how to record a drumset). Or is working through the manual still the quickest way to go about it?
Trawl Youtube for videos that show you the next thing you need to learn.
It will take time but you can learn the basics in a few days.

I'd suggest you start by understanding how Edit modes (Slip/Spot/Grid/Shuffle) work, and how to switch between them with Function keys).
Spot mode will be of particular use to you in post.

Then Tools (Zoom/Trim/Selector/Grabber/Scrubber/Pencil) and how to switch between them using Esc.

Learn what keyboard focus is, so you can learn a bunch of keyboard shortcuts and not have to mouse around so much.

Page 6-7 here will really help you if you can manage to memorise as many as possible.
http://resources.avid.com/SupportFil...uts_2020.3.pdf

From there learning how zoom works, how solo and groups work.
Tracks and Clips lists.
Bussing.

There is quite a lot to learn.
Old 10th May 2020
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

@ octatonic thank you, this is a very helpful response, also because you are listing some starting points into which I could look! If you could link your article here when finished it would be greatly appreciated.
What I dislike most of the idea of using multiple DAWs is that shortcuts work differently and it gets very annoying when your muscle memory makes mistakes all the time because of confusing what works which way in what DAW.
But here comes the big advantage of Reaper into play. Once I learn Pro Tools well and get used to it and its way of working, I can later just modify Reaper to respond to the same shortcuts as Pro Tools or implement some workflows which I might like from Pro Tools. That way, if after learning Pro Tools I want to use Reaper again for some things, I don't have to get used to it again and when switching back to Pro Tools muscle memory still works there as well and I can use the best of both worlds.
Old 10th May 2020
  #8
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uptheoctave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Synthbrass View Post
@ octatonic thank you, this is a very helpful response, also because you are listing some starting points into which I could look! If you could link your article here when finished it would be greatly appreciated.
What I dislike most of the idea of using multiple DAWs is that shortcuts work differently and it gets very annoying when your muscle memory makes mistakes all the time because of confusing what works which way in what DAW.
But here comes the big advantage of Reaper into play. Once I learn Pro Tools well and get used to it and its way of working, I can later just modify Reaper to respond to the same shortcuts as Pro Tools or implement some workflows which I might like from Pro Tools. That way, if after learning Pro Tools I want to use Reaper again for some things, I don't have to get used to it again and when switching back to Pro Tools muscle memory still works there as well and I can use the best of both worlds.
No problem- yes, once it is published I will link.

You can also change Logic's Key Commands to reflect Pro Tools but I don't bother with that.
I find once I've learned something in Pro Tools I've learned it, I don't need to reinforce it in another DAW.
Old 13th May 2020
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Most of the composers I know use Logic until it's time to bounce stems.

Then they'll make a basic Pro Tools session to house them for delivery.

The music editor is the one that needs to knows the ins and outs of Pro Tools to make quick on the fly edits and changes to your delivered session.

However, since you say you're just starting out - you'll very likely be expected to act as your own music editor on your first string of jobs. It would really be a benefit to learn Pro Tools.

There are good tutorials on Groove3 and Lynda.com
Old 24th May 2020
  #10
Hi SynthBrass,

In addition to the other reply’s I would add that if you would like to operate at the high end of post production you will need to own and learn ProTools. Knowing how to use Reaper, Logic, Source Connect, RX Connect, etc.... will help too.

In my experience the question is not “do you have ProTools”, the question is “what version are you on?”
Using Industry Standard software and hardware can = getting bigger gigs.

ProTools is a post production tool just like a Boom mic or field recorder is a tool on set.

Unfortunately I don’t have advice to give regarding ProTools tutorials. I like working with a ProTools keyboard if you buy one it might help you learn shortcuts.

I think you are on the right track, Good luck!
Old 24th May 2020
  #11
Lives for gear
 

In general? yes.
Always? No not necessarily.

It depends on the work you do, who you work with, who will mix it and where.

Technically? Of course not.
At our company we chose Nuendo 12 years ago (PT only facility before that). But we mostly do all post sound for all our projects. We rarely collaborate with others as we are a production company with full service post production in-house. So we are able to make that choice.
Being a lonely freelancer trying to get into the world of post production and only knowing Nuendo is probably not a great choice (unless you want to work with me, then it is à great choice).
Old 26th May 2020
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Airon's Avatar
It's likely a good idea to have it to be compatible, to check sessions, do reconforms if necessary or just deliver sessions.

Getting stuff out of Reaper is actually very easy.

I use these tools to do so, and always check the session before I send it out with Protools 11.3.1.

Script set to legalize items so Protools has an easy time with them. It's 45 Euros.
https://www.extremraym.com/en/downlo...-attranslator/

Session conversion tool. Easily the best investment I've made aside from Reaper itself in the last few years. You can convert your Reaper sessions to Protools PTX sessions. $200. Gets you conversion options that work. Good support. Works on MacOS and the author guides you well if you have trouble there.
https://www.aatranslator.com.au/

It pays to know Protools if you're going to edit and deliver in it. It's a pretty simple DAW and the audio editing is straightfoward. It gets the jobs done just fine, and you don't even have to use it for anything but your deliveries.
Old 27th May 2020
  #13
Gear Addict
 

I am biased for ONLY Protools since 92, and have used various programs over the last 30 years. Dawn was the closed to PT back in the late 1990's. Almost any will work depending on your budget and needs. However, if you want to easily interchange, integrate with the big boys i.e. Warner Bros, Sony, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, CBS, NBC Universal, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime. Todd-AO, (and all of their sites companies) etc, etc, etc, then it's Protools.
Old 28th May 2020
  #14
Lives for gear
 
huub's Avatar
If you want to learn pro tools quickly, I think the best way is to edit and mix some real projects.
That way you'll run into skills and shortcuts you specifically need, you can google the shortcuts and techniques (for basically everything you need you can find tutorials, it's quite amazing).

That's for basic pro tools skills. If you want to do post production for a living you really need to learn from experienced professionals I think.

Huub
Old 11th June 2020
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Thank you all for taking the time to share your professional insights on this topic.

I think when I find some time I will just set apart a month or so to create a piece of music entirely in Pro Tools and whenever I run into something I don’t know how to do I will google it.
By creating a full piece of music I will have to learn how to record, do sounddesign techniques, arrange & edit and mix in Pro Tools and learn how the interface, tools, routing etc work. That way I will be ready for at least basic usage and be able to set up a basic delivery session.

And for more advanced post production use I think I will grow into it by getting more and more serious gigs and increasingly complex requests.
And still I think if they ask me to deliver or do something that I have never heard of I will just have to google that one thing and will be able to learn it quickly and if not familiar with all of the post-prod jargon, at least Pro Tools specific terminology will not add up on that.

It sounds soothing that it is mostly just required to set up basic delivery projects or do some editing and mixing in Pro Tools. In the end that works more or less the same in all DAWs.
As long as I can still use Reaper for sounddesigning and composing also down the line on more serious gigs I am a happy man. For those tasks I have set up some workflows and macros that really speed it up and make it more joyful and it would be frustrating to miss those, but for tasks like editing and mixing that don’t require quickly getting an idea down before it is forgotten, I have no problems learning a new DAW if that will help me score gigs.

Seems that with AAT and similar there would be ways to bypass Pro Tools for a little longer, but I think learning it once is a great investment of time that will greatly pay off and sooner or later be neccessary anyway if I really manage to have a carrerr in post production. Only Avid’s business model is a bit off-putting. I’d prefer to buy it once and have it whenever I need it, instead of paying 30$ a month and how knows if and how much I am going to need it that month. But 600$ for a version that will be obsolete in 1 year is a bit of a hefty price to pay as long as I don’t have some serious post-prod gigs (once gigs start coming it is of course peanuts but for now I’ll have to think about what the best solution is).
Old 12th June 2020
  #16
Lives for gear
 

If plan to do work that involves the processing/transfer of files of other artists/professionals, you are better off with it than without it.
Old 14th June 2020
  #17
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Henchman's Avatar
I'll keep it short.
Yes.
Old 14th June 2020
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
I'll keep it short.
Yes.
Even shorter: :-)
No
Old 14th June 2020
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikG View Post
Even shorter: :-)
No
Dammitt.
Old 22nd July 2020
  #20
If you're working with just yourself, then Reaper is absolutely perfect! That's great. Stick with it.

However if you're only one small cog in a larger sound post production department, then you 110% need to know Pro Tools.
Old 22nd July 2020
  #21
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IronFilm View Post
If you're working with just yourself, then Reaper is absolutely perfect! That's great. Stick with it.

However if you're only one small cog in a larger sound post production department, then you 110% need to know Pro Tools.
And if you ever intend to work as a freelancer in audio post as well.

Doing audio post production and not knowing PT inside out is just a bad career decision. Especially as a beginner.
That doesn't mean that you cannot make an informed decision to use something else once you have established your career and if your market allows for that.
Old 22nd July 2020
  #22
Lives for gear
 

We are a non-PT house for the most part. But we always have a fairly current PT on hand, it's just a necessity to have in your back pocket for various injest and out-jest tasks, checking OMF/AAFs and so on. The low- end PT isn't all that expensive, so even an inveterate PT-hater like me always has a copy tee'ed up in the BG on our main DAW.
Old 22nd July 2020
  #23
Nuendo is another one to look at, I am not a fan of anything by avid, don't cave into the peer pressure.
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