Pro Tools: Track Comping for Audio Post Production

The ability to quickly and efficiently compile a master version from multiple takes is vitally important for anyone working on ADR or VO recording. Pro Tools offers a number of ways to achieve this and we are always looking to make improvements to the workflow.

Before diving deeper into track comping workflows, a helpful tip to help organize your session: before recording immediately create a new playlist. Pro Tools automatically appends a take number to new playlists, e.g. “.01”. By starting with a new playlist, you’ll leave your original playlist free to be the one that you are going to compile on to.

The process of recording takes is simplified if you make use of keyboard shortcuts to create new playlists and use the option to automatically name the new playlist. Alternatively, you can use loop recording which can be set up to automatically create new playlists with every pass. You can also rate the take from 1 to 5 as they are recorded to help keep track of which ones you particularly like or not.

Next, we’ll take a look at the comping process itself.

Now that your ADR has been recorded, you will have all of your takes on playlists. The comp is created by taking the best parts from each take and compiling them on a single track.

You can do this using the Playlist track view. In this view, you will see all of your takes stacked on top of each other. Use the solo button next to each playlist to audition that playlist and use either the Promote button (the upward pointing arrow) next to the playlists or a keyboard shortcut to send the selected audio to the main playlist to create your comp.

Alternatively, you can work in Waveform view. First, designate which playlist you are going to compile your master takes onto by assigning a Target playlist. You can then audition each playlist to hear the different takes in turn by using a keyboard shortcut to cycle through the playlists. Again, you can make a selection in any part of the take that you like and use a keyboard shortcut to promote it to the Target playlist.

At any point you can switch to the Target Playlist with a keyboard shortcut to check on the progress of the comp and then toggle back to the playlist that you were working on.

Once you have assembled your takes, switch over to the Target playlist to fine-tune the comp. A really nice way of working is to use the new ability to audition in place. Say for example that you want to listen to alternate takes for just one word in your line of ADR. Select that word and then use a keyboard shortcut to cycle through the different takes of the word from the alternate playlists. When you do this, use Pre- and Post-Roll to hear the word in the context of the overall comp.


Keyboard shortcuts used in these videos

Ctrl + (Mac)
Start +   (Win)

Create New Playlist

Shift + Opt + Up Arrow (Mac)
Shift + Alt + Up Arrow (Win)

Copy Selection to the Target Playlist

Shift + Opt + T (Mac)
Shift + Alt + T (Win)

Move a Selection to the Target Playlist

Shift + Command + Up/Down Arrow (Mac)
Shift + Control + Up/Down Arrow (Win)

Cycle Audio Within Clip Selection

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