Moving Audio and Markers in Pro Tools

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of analog to digital transfers from 2� tape to Pro Tools. Sometime I’ll have a problem where my Pro Tools session timecode and the SMPTE striped on my 2� don’t line up. When the math is simple, like compensating between 1:00 on one format and 3:00 on the other, adding an offset in Pro Tools is a simple solution. However, other times where the time gap is greater or an odd amount, I like to move the audio so it will line up with the tape.

Moving Right
In this first example, my session, SMPTE start time and audio pic1-zerostart.pngall start at zero. For simplicity sake, let’s say the audio needs to be moved to a 1:00 SMPTE start time (to the right). It could however be any SMPTE number later in the timeline.

Because a session can consist of a lot of regions, the safest way to proceed is to select all tracks and regions and make a region group before you move them. To start, Option + click on any track name to select all channels. Then in order, click your cursor anywhere on a region, hit Return then Command + A to select all regions. Then, to make a region group, press Command + Option + G. It’s now simple to move it to any timecode location by putting Pro Tools into Spot mode then selecting the group with the grabber tool (hand). pic2-spotting-region-group.pngThe Spot Dialog window will pop up where you can type the SMPTE start time in the Start window.

The audio is now moved to the new location but any song markers are still at the original location. You can move the markers by clicking and dragging across them in the marker area and copying them with Command + C. You can place them at the beginning of the new audio location with a Command + V. To finish the job, ungroup the regions by selecting the group and pushing Command + Option + U.

Moving Left

The second example is moving audio from later on the timeline to an earlier location pic-a-regions-and-markers-at-10.png while maintaining the original SMPTE start time. In this case, the audio’s timecode start time is 10:00, but the session start time is at zero leaving a huge gap before the song starts. The intention in this case is to move the audio closer to zero min/sec (left) while maintaining my original SMPTE start time of 10:00.

Start by making a region group as described above. Next, set the session start time to pic-b-new-session-start.png9:00, a minute before our target SMPTE number of 10:00. This will offer a minute grace period for synching or punching in before the first track plays.

Once you select ok, the audio will move to the left side of the timeline. The markers will be out of place but can be moved as in the first example. The audio and markers are now near the left border of the timeline with the a 10:00 SMPTE start time.pic-f-finito.png

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