Pro Tools 12.5 Cloud Collaboration
It’s been some time since our first tech preview of Avid Everywhere for Pro Tools demonstrating connecting people together in the same Pro Tools session and it’s been just over a year since Pro Tools 12 first shipped. Much of the work done in the previous versions of Pro Tools 12 has paved the way to make Cloud Collaboration possible and streamlined – things like the new I/O setups and simplified Monitoring and auto-down mixing (for sharing sessions without having to worry about changing the monitoring), Track Commit/Track Freeze (allowing users to not need exactly the same plug-ins to collaborate) and more…
Here’s a quick recap of last year’s release highlights:
Pro Tools 12.0 – Late March:
HD and Standard: Improved I/O Setups and Monitoring/Auto Down-mixing, unlimited busses, in-app plug-in purchases and rentals, stability improvements.
Pro Tools 12.1 – late June:
Standard: Increased track count – 128 Audio, 512 Instrument, Track Input Monitoring, AFL/PFL Solo Modes, Copy to Send.
HD and Standard: Pro Tools | Control support, support for Pro Tools | S3 VCA Spill, and stability improvements.
Pro Tools 12.2 – early September:
Standard: VCA Masters, Disk Cache, Advanced Metering, Gain Reduction Metering.
HD and Standard: Avid Access Plan options including new plug-in bundles.
Pro Tools 12.3 – early November:
HD and Standard: Track Commit and Track Bounce workflows, Clip Transparency while editing or moving clips or fades, Batch Fade enhancements and shortcuts, AudioSuite Pitch Legacy, Support for Avid DNxIO video interface
Pro Tools 12.4 – late December:
HD and Standard: Track Freeze
What do I need?
All customers with a perpetual license who have an active Annual Upgrade and Support Plan and all customers on a current subscription plan can access the download to install Pro Tools 12.5. Then it’s simply a matter of choosing which cloud storage plan best suits you and if you are unsure where to start, there’s a free plan to let you get an idea of how it will work for you. It let’s you have 3 projects, (that you are the owner of), and 500MB of total storage on the Avid Cloud servers and each project can have 2 collaborators. A Project is basically a Pro Tools Session that is in the Cloud (and a local cache on your system) enabling collaboration. Storage refers to any files you and your collaborators upload. If you are not the owner and just a Collaborator on a friend’s Project, that Project doesn’t count against your total storage (it counts against theirs).
Now 500MB may not seem like a lot to start with, but Pro Tools 12.5 uses a lossless compression scheme for the audio to upload to the cloud, (lossless means that it is bit for bit accurate on reconstruction), and gives you a data compression ratio of up to 3X (depending on your audio content). Normally 24 tracks of 48kHz/24Bit times 4 minutes of solid audio is roughly 785MB – which could be compressed to as small as 262MB. This really helps reduce the upload/download transfer times too.
For $ 9.99 a month you can get up to 5 Projects and 20GB of space, (which is 40 times more storage in the cloud than the free plan). For those doing big sessions/projects, you can get up to 60GB of storage and up to 10 Projects for only $ 29.99 per month.
How do I get started?
As part of the webinar series a couple of weeks ago – we’ve taken the overview video and broken it up into 6 chapters – which you can watch sequentially to take you through the entire process of setting up your account, logging-in etc… Or so you can just quickly find the section you need to review to get your answer. The total running time of all 6 videos is only 36 minutes.
Part 1: Getting Started
This is a quick overview of Avid Cloud Collaboration and setting up and logging in to your account.
Part 2: The Dashboard
This is quick overview of the Dashboard as a starting point (introduced in Pro Tools 12) and an overview of Projects (for the cloud).
Part 3: Converting a Session to a Project
This takes you through the simple process of turning an existing Pro Tools (local) session to a Project (in the cloud).
Part 4: Setup and Tour
This video covers how to best set up the Collaboration Tools in Pro Tools, the key Preferences and a Tour what’s new in the interface.
Part 5: The Artist Chat Window
This video helps you understand and use the central hub of collaboration – the Artist Chat window.
Part 6: Collaboration Workflows
This video puts it all together and shows you cloud collaboration in action between the project owner and two remote collaborators.
In early 2015 for fun, I started back into music production on 3 old songs I had written many moons ago, (instead of going the route of ‘baking’ the original multi-track analog tapes and doing transfers into Pro Tools to recut some parts and remix). I invited some colleagues and friends to play on these new ‘redux’ songs. All of them had Pro Tools, but most of them were out of state. It was basically the four corners of the USA: a bass player in Florida, a lead guitarist in Chicago, a drummer in Boston and a singer who lives across town from me in LA – (which can sometimes take as long to get to as to Chicago). I built the basic rhythm guitar part, scratch bass and scratch drums and posted the zipped Pro Tools session on Dropbox. I then sent out the emails and waited for the parts to come back in.
On their end – they had to download, unzip, setup the I/O, possibly import in their Mic setup, record and then consolidate, zip and post to Dropbox for me. Some might send me a quick MP3 version to approve first… They then emailed me the link and I downloaded, unzipped, imported session data into my master session, mostly fighting a mix of their busses and I/O in my studio setup. It can get very confusing with multiple people especially if they send you multiple versions and likely there is a ton of duplicate media floating around and being uploaded/downloaded.
What’s the bottom line? It can be done in previous versions or Pro Tools manually, but it’s a pain and it’s tedious. It’s not fun… It gets in the way and it takes a bunch of time and brain cycles (away from being creative)! It’s not easy to communicate with them in a near real-time way. It’s also not easy for your collaborators to take their time to play on your track, which can be a complete deterrent at most and slow the process at the very least.
Avid Cloud Collaboration (with all the new enhancements of Freeze, Commit and more) built into Pro Tools is fast, easy, intuitive and really fun when you get to using it. Check it out – I think you’ll really dig it! We would love to hear from you – share your thoughts below…
My track link is below for you to check out as well… Recorded, edited and mixed of course, in Pro Tools | HD Native!