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Chapter 4. Starting a New Session > Creating a New Session

Creating a New Session

Each time you create a new session, Pro Tools places a new Session folder (Figure 4.1) on your hard drive. This folder contains a Session file, an Audio Files folder, and a Fade Files folder (Figure 4.2).

Figure 4.1. A Pro Tools Session folder.


Figure 4.2. The contents of a Pro Tools Session folder: a Session file, an Audio Files folder, and a Fade Files folder.


All audio files recorded or imported during a Pro Tools session are stored in the Audio Files folder. All crossfades created during a session are stored in the Fade Files folder. Audio files and other basic session elements are discussed in Chapter 2: Software Basics.

When you create a new session, the New Session dialog box appears (Figure 4.3). Here, you can name the session and set session file parameters, such as audio file type, sample rate, bit depth, and I/O Settings.

Figure 4.3. The New Session dialog box.


To create a new session:

1.
Choose File > New Session (Figure 4.4).

Figure 4.4. Choose File > New Session.


2.
Choose the destination hard drive for your session. (Make sure you’re using a dedicated audio hard drive.)

3.
If you want to create cross-platform session and audio files, select Enforce Mac/PC Compatibility (Macintosh) or Enforce PC/Mac Compatibility (Windows).

4.
Select the session audio file format (Figure 4.5).

Figure 4.5. Select the session audio file format.


5.
Select a sample rate (44.1kHz or 48kHz) and a bit depth (16- or 24-bit). (For more information see the sidebar, What are Sample Rate and Bit Depth?)

6.
Select the I/O settings for the session.

7.
Name the session and click Save.

Tip

  • Windows doesn’t support Sound Designer II (SDII) sessions. For best cross-platform compatibility, set the file type to WAV.


Opening a session

Use the Open Session dialog box to open existing sessions. Pro Tools will automatically scan the session directory for the associated audio and fade files.

To open an existing session:
1.
Choose File > Open Session.

The Open Session dialog box appears (Figure 4.6).

Figure 4.6. Choose File > Open Session.


2.
Select a session and click Open.

What Are Sample Rate and Bit Depth?

Sample rate, measured in kilohertz (kHz), is the number of times per second that sound wave information is gathered, or sampled, during the digital audio recording process. In Pro Tools, you can record at sample rates of 48kHz or 44.1kHz.

The sample rate used to record a sound determines the recording’s frequency range and, thus, its accuracy. For this reason, higher sample rates generally produce more accurate audio recordings. A basic rule of digital audio, the Nyquest Theorem, states that the sample rate must be twice the value of a sound’s highest frequency for that sound to be accurately reproduced. For example, CD audio is sampled at 44.1kHz, while the human hearing range extends to only 20kHz. Having the sample rate at twice the highest frequency of human hearing ensures that all of a sound’s overtones (high-frequency components of a sound) within the range of human hearing will be recorded. Recording at a sample rate of 48kHz ensures even greater accuracy.

Bit depth (also known as bit resolution) is the number of bits used to describe each individual sample taken during recording. For example, if you’re recording at 24-bit resolution and a sample rate of 44.1kHz, there will be 44,100 individual 24-bit representations of the sound recorded each second. That’s a lot of data! Pro Tools let you record audio at both 16 and 24 bits.

Although higher sample rates and bit depths generally produce more accurate recordings, they also consume more disk space. In fact, 24-bit resolution requires 50 percent more hard disk space than 16-bit resolution.

If you’re low on disk space, recording at 16-bit/44.1kHz (CD audio) is a good option: It sounds good, it saves disk space, and it eliminates the need for any sample-rate or bit-depth conversion process, which can degrade digital audio. For more information on sample rate, bit depth, and file sizes, see Table 1.2 in Chapter 1: Setting Up Your Pro Tools LE System.


Saving a session

The Save Session command saves the changes you make to a session, writing over the previously saved version of the session file. The Save Session command cannot be undone.

To save a session:
  • Choose File > Save Session.

Tips

  • Save your session frequently. You don’t want to lose detailed mix, edit, or automation data because of a computer crash or inexplicable technical mishap.

  • Saving a session does not automatically back up an audio file. Be sure to back up your audio files separately.


Reverting to a previously saved session

If you don’t want to save the changes that you’ve made to a session since your last save, you can revert to its previously saved state.

To revert to the last saved version of a session:
  • Choose File > Revert to Saved (Figure 4.7).

    Figure 4.7. Choose File > Revert to Saved.


Tip

  • You can speed up session saves and disk bounces by reducing the disk cache size in the Memory Control panel to 512K (Macintosh only).


The Save Session As command

The Save Session As command lets you rename a copy of a session. It closes the current session and leaves the renamed copy open. This command is useful for developing sessions in successive stages: You can save a specific session configuration and quickly return to it, if needed.

To rename a session:
1.
Choose File > Save Session As.

2.
Enter a new name for your session and click Save.

The renamed session document is saved in the Session folder along with the original session. Any new audio files that you record in the renamed session are stored in the same Audio Files folder created with the original session.

Tip

  • The Save Session As command lets you save a new version of the session file only. It does not duplicate audio and fade files.


The Save Session Copy In command

The Save Session Copy In command lets you save a copy of the current session. Unlike the Save Session As command, the Save Session Copy In command (Figure 4.8) lets you designate a new session file format, audio file format, bit depth, and sample rate for the session copy. This command is useful for quickly converting audio file sample rate or bit depth. It’s also useful if you need to migrate a session to a different Pro Tools system or operating system platform.

Figure 4.8. Choose File > Save Session Copy In.


Tip

  • The Save Session Copy In command does not close the original session. The original session remains the active session.


To save a session copy in a new location:
1.
Choose File > Save Session Copy In.

The Save Session Copy In dialog box appears (Figure 4.9).

Figure 4.9. The Save Session Copy In dialog box.


2.
If you want to create session and audio files that can be used in both the Macintosh or Windows version of Pro Tools, select Enforce Mac/PC Compatibility (Macintosh) or Enforce PC/Mac compatibility (Windows).

3.
Choose a destination and type a name for the new session file.

4.
Select the session format for the session copy (Figure 4.10).

Figure 4.10. Select a session format.


5.
Select the session parameters (audio file format, bit depth, and sample rate) for the session copy (Figure 4.11).

Figure 4.11. Select session parameters, including audio file format, bit depth, and sample rate.


6.
Select the Items to Copy to the new session (Figure 4.12).

Figure 4.12. Select Items to Copy.


7.
Click Save to save the session in the new location.

Closing a session

You can work on only one session at a time in Pro Tools. The Close Session command closes the current session, leaving the Pro Tools application open so you can create or open another session.

To close a session:
  • Choose File > Close Session.

    The current session closes, leaving the Pro Tools application open.

Quitting Pro Tools

Pro Tools will prompt you to save changes you’ve made to a session before it quits.

To quit a session on Mac OS:
  • Choose File > Quit.

To quit a session on Windows:
  • Choose File > Exit.

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