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tom
Pro Tools question
by
on Sep 27, 2006 at 11:41:49 am

Hi folks, can you set me stright on Pro Tools ? Is this software only ? Everything I look sees to say I need hardware also. If you have a moment could any of you please explain what I would need to get started in Pro Tools. Mainly want it for sound for video , not recording any bands or anything like that

Thank all in advance
Tom


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Stephen Muir
Re: Pro Tools question
on Sep 27, 2006 at 3:52:44 pm

Hi, Tom.

Protools comes in four flavours: Protools Free, Protools M-Powered, Protools LE, and Protools TDM.

Protools Free, which is no longer supported with upgrades and isn't rated for OS-X or WinXP, is a free-to-try software-only version of PT. It was limited to 8 tracks and uses the computer's on-board sound card. Only the Mac version would allow you to import a quicktime movie. To be honest, I'm not sure if this is still available from the Digidesign website.

Protools M-powered is a basic entry-level Protools platform. This includes both a hardware interface and a version of the Protools LE software. I haven't used this particular platform, so I'm unaware of it's video playback capabilities. I do know that it will not support the extremely useful DV Toolkit software option.

Protools LE is a primarily software-based platform, and each version includes both the I/O hardware and the software. The popular Digi-002 and Mbox product lines are both Protools LE systems. LE allows you to import a video clip into your session, which can be displayed in a number of ways: as a video window on the monitor, as a full-screen video on a second monitor, or on a video screen using either an analogue video I/O card (eg. the old Pinnacle DC30) or via the firewire port through a DV transcoder (eg. a DV camera). If you can work within the 32-track limitation, this is the platform I would go for. I've owned an Mbox for some time now, and I've been very happy with its flexibility (not to mention the price). If you are going to be working with audio for film and video, you should look into the DV Toolkit 2 software option. Though expensive, the Toolkit adds a number of useful features (eg. OMF import/export, timecode and feet/frames functions).

The third platform, TDM, is probably going to be outside of your price range. TDM systems are primarily hardware-based, and provide a tremendous amount of horsepower at a steep price. Among the myriad hardware options available is the SyncIO, which allows a TDM system to chase a video machine (eg. Beta SP or V1M) via LTC or even RS422 machine control. Unfortunately, the TDM systems are the only ones that support surround mixing and TDM plugins.

The good news is that mono and stereo sessions are compatible across all three platforms, meaning that you can prepare your sound edit at home using an Mbox, and just hand it off to a TDM-equipped mix theatre for the final 5.1 mix. Also, foley and ADR recorded on a TDM system can be cut on an LE system, making that little Mbox pretty powerful in the cooperative world of audio post.

So, here's what I'd reccomend as a minimum setup for sound editing:
- a fairly powerful PC or Mac desktop computer
- an Mbox
- the DV Toolkit 2 software option
- an iLok hardware key (needed for software registration)
- a Canopus ADVC110 (firewire in, composite and S-video out, just be sure to feed it compatible video files with the DV CODEC)
- a small television for your video monitoring
- a pair of Sony MDR-7506 headphones
- 2 additional 7200 rpm harddrives (one for audio and one for video, both rated for A/V work)

A small Mackie mixer and a pair of studio monitors would be very useful as well, but you can get those after the other gear has payed for itself.



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Ty Ford
Re: Pro Tools question
on Sep 29, 2006 at 1:43:40 am

excellent advice.

Add a set of Mackie 824 powered monitors and head for the checkout line.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Ty Ford's "Audio Bootcamp Field Guide" was written for video people who want better audio. Find out more at http://www.tyford.com


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