Rename Groups of Tracks and Clips in Pro Tools 12.8.2 with Batch Rename

By in AES 2017, Audio Post, Music Creation, Pro Mixing

In this blog post we are going to look the new Batch Track and Batch Clip Renaming features in Pro Tools 12.8.2.

Like many of the features in Pro Tools 12.8.2 the batch renaming comes directly from customer feedback and aims to answer real world workflow needs across many types of audio production, from Scoring stages to File naming in gaming and more.

To begin with let’s quickly look at the Batch Track Renaming Dialog.

You can instantiate the Batch Track Name Dialog by right clicking in the track title in the Mix or Edit Window or in the Tracks List, or, by the shortcut Shift Option R on Mac, Shift Alt R on Windows.

As you can see this is a fairly intricate dialog with several selectable tabs, but don’t worry, starting at the very top we have presets which we can recall commonly used presets by either clicking or Control 1-5 on a Mac or Win 1-5 on Windows.

Like other Pro Tools dialogs you will be able import and export settings so once you get your favourite and most used rename settings sorted you will be easily be able to share or use in other systems.

Batch renaming is applied to the currently selected tracks only.

The first section is “Replace”, here you can simply find a alpha numeric text match and replace it, as well as a check box to “Clear Existing Names” for the following rename functions and “Regular Expressions” to enable advanced matching and replacing.

“Regular Expressions” allows for powerful and advanced use of Regular Expressions, meaning you can search and replace using string search algorithms allows for multiple complex match and replace in one pass.

There are some handy guides to regular expressions at www.regex101.com.

 

Also in the What’s New Guide

• You can quickly enable or dis-enable this section of the Batch Track Name Dialog by using the shortcut Command R on Mac or CTRL R on PC.

• The next section is “Trim”, allowing this you to trim characters from the beginning, end of the name, a range of characters in the middle or a combination of both. The number is simply the position of the character in the track name.

• You can quickly enable or dis-enable this section of the Batch Track Name Dialog by using the shortcut Command T on Mac or CTRL T on PC.

• “Add”, allows you to add text at the beginning, at a specified point, at the end of a name, or a combination.

• You can quickly enable or dis-enable this section of the Batch Track Name Dialog by using the shortcut Command D on Mac or CTRL D on PC. Unfortunately Command A is already used by “Select all”

• Numbering allows you add numbers, or letters, at the beginning, end, at an index, in increasing increments, or, with or without a separating character.

• You can quickly enable or dis-enable this section of the Batch Track Name Dialog by using the shortcut Command N on Mac or CTRL N on PC.

• The process order follows the sections, from top to bottom.

 

Wow, that’s a lot of options, thanks for being patient through the explanation, let’s look through a few real world examples.

A simple one that I regularly have to deal with is receiving AAFs from editors. I personally like to keep a duplicated, inactive and hidden copy of my imported AAF for safety and comparison later.

So after importing the AAF I have had to manually add a date or version number to these tracks, with the new Rename Function I can do this all in one step. In this case I can use the Add Function add a version number and a date to the end.

Importantly the track renaming is able to be easily undone in-case you need to tweak your renaming options.

Another is managing takes in Scoring Sessions. In scoring sessions there are common track naming conventions for organising, Cue, Track, Material and Take.

 

The starting point might look something like this:

1m1 0000a Mix1
1m1 0001 Vln1 tk.00
1m1 0002 Vln2 tk.00
1m1 0003 Vla tk.00
1m1 0004 Vc tk.00
1m1 0005 Cb tk.00
1m1 0006 Fl tk.00
1m1 0007 Ob tk.00
1m1 0008 Hn tk.00
1m1 0009 Tpt tk.00
1m1 0010 Tbn tk.00

 

When needing to make another pass with a significant change or picture edit we would want to duplicate the tracks but remove the duplication information and increment the track information.

In this example I have used regular expressions to search for a range of text matches and replacements as well as the trimming function to suit my particular name length and the add function where I can easily adapt the number as required.

This allows me to easily and quickly duplicate and rename a range of tracks.

Example result Names:

BEFORE: AFTER:
1m1 0000a Mix1.dup1 > 1m1 0000a Mix1
1m1 0000 Mix2.dup1 > 1m1 0000 Mix2
1m1 0001 Vln1 tk.dup1 > 1m1 0101 Vln1 tk.00
1m1 0002 Vln2 tk.dup1 > 1m1 0102 Vln2 tk.00
1m1 0003 Vla tk.dup1 > 1m1 0103 Vla tk.00
1m1 0004 Vc tk.dup1 > 1m1 0104 Vc tk.00
1m1 0005 Cb tk.dup1 > 1m1 0105 Cb tk.00
1m1 0006 Fl tk.dup1 > 1m1 0106 Fl tk.00
1m1 0007 Ob tk.dup1 > 1m1 0107 Ob tk.00
1m1 0008 Hn tk.dup1 > 1m1 0108 Hn tk.00
1m1 0009 Tpt tk.dup1 > 1m1 0109 Tpt tk.00
1m1 0010 Tbn tk.dup1 > 1m1 0110 Tbn tk.00

 

The same batch renaming logic and functions also apply to a new a new Batch Clip Rename, with the addition of the option to rename clips either in timeline order or from the Clip list sort Order.

Being able to to use the Clip List Sort Order allows for advanced sorting by a number of different clip attributes such as Original Timestamp, length format and many others in ascending or descending order.

This allows you to rename based on the order that files were recorded rather than how they appear on the timeline for example, even in channel format or length giving many options to suit the different kinds of projects you are working on.

The Batch Clip Rename will apply to the currently selected clips on the timeline or in the clip list.

As the Clip Batch Renaming names the clips rather than the files themselves this allows for instances where Cues or files will have the same name but will be exported to distinct folders.

An example would be in gaming where you have multiple languages and each cue is named the same for each language but will need to be exported to the specific languages master folder.

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I’m a Kiwi living in Tokyo, Japan. From Audio Post and now an Audio Application Specialist at Avid, while staying in touch in the industry with the occasional spot of mixing and sound design for TV. Sound, music and technology have been my career for the last 17 years and my passion for a lifetime.