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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Apr 2019 > AUTOMATING WITH PREVIEW IN PRO TOOLS


One of the great things about working in Pro Tools is that there is always more than one way to achieve what you want. Mike Hillier discovers a new method of automating mixes at Metropolis Studios and brings you that alternative

It doesn’t seem to matter how long you’ve been using Pro Tools professionally, there are always new ways of doing things waiting to be discovered. It may also be old features that you’ve forgotten about, or sometimes simply a new way of using an old feature that suddenly changes everything for you.

That’s why, no matter how long you’ve been using the software, it’s still important to keep your eyes and ears open to new ideas. Sometimes these new techniques will come from a book or magazine article, or an online video, but more often than not, the ones I’ve found the most useful have come from other engineers. These are people like us, who are striving to always work in the best, most efficient way possible, to achieve great mixes every time. Recently, I was chatting with Metropolis Studios engineer Liam Nolan, and he was eager to show me a new technique he’d been using on mixes, using the Automation Preview and Capture function to quickly go from a static mix to a fully mixed and automated track.


This method is commonly used among film and TV dubbing mixers, who use the technique to automate different scenes while editing to picture. It’s a method that enables the mixer to set up a basic mix for the show as a whole, while then creating completely different soundscapes for each scene, without being held up by the static mix. When used alongside Copy/Paste Special, to copy and paste existing automation from one section to another, the Preview and Capture tools become even more powerful, one of many reasons why Pro Tools remains the go-to DAW for many of the engineers working in TV and film. These features aren’t just useful in dubbing, they are also great for music mixing and mastering, podcast editing or sound design.

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About MusicTech

Aside from the art of writing a melody, crafting the perfect lyric and finding the most suitable chords for your music, beatmaking (or sculpting the rhythmic elements of your track) is perhaps the most important stage to get right, particularly if you work in the EDM arena. It’s often, however, something that can start to feel quite ‘samey’ and characterless for some, as those musical elements tend to take priority. In our cover feature this month, Martin Delaney explores a variety of routes to making your own distinctive beats in unique ways. Follow his do-it-yourself guide and before long, your tracks will have extra oomph and rise above the din to sound unlike anybody else. Also this issue, we speak to the fascinating Cleaning Women, a Finnish band who adopt a similar DIY approach to beat and music-making. They have built their own instruments out of former household appliances and have performed with them for over 20 years. Elsewhere, we catch up with Alexander Archer, a young producer who is currently working with some of the industry's hottest names as he engineers recordings for Vevo UK. On the review front this month, we dive deep into Native Instruments’ veritable ocean of delights, Komplete 12, as well as Ableton's latest hefty point update to Live.