This is not the sexiest blog post you will read this month. In fact, it’s probably the least sexy topic we’ll write about all year here at Boom Box Post. That said, it’s such an important one for anyone considering themselves a professional sound editor. A cluttered file structure is the equivalent of a messy home. Sure you can make do sorting through a mess, finding what you need after some intense searching. but why put yourself through it? Go to the container store, buy a pack of labels and some bins and get your stuff off the floor (I’m still on the messy house metaphor). So with that in mind, let me be your personal Peter Walsh (he is a professional organizer - I had to google it) as I help you to get your digital life in order.
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The first piece of advice I give any new sound editor is to get Pro Tools and learn the keyboard shortcuts. Forget proficiency in typing, that's child's play. In order to compete in the real world of post production sound, you need to be FAST. Knowing your way around the keyboard doesn't just shorten your workday, it tells the clients - who expect requests to be carried out quickly - that you are on top of your game.
Basic keyboard shortcuts - switching the tools, changing the view - need to be second nature. But with literally hundreds to learn, there's bound to be a few that have slipped through the cracks. Here are some of the best 'lesser-known' Pro Tools keyboard shortcuts to help speed up your workflow.
Looking at the various jobs in the business of Post Production sound, re-recording mixing seems to carry an air of mystique. It’s an intimidating task, even for an experienced sound editor, to make the jump to the console. There seems to be so much that can go wrong. So many small factors that need to be accounted for simply to make the gear work. It’s true, there are hundreds of details to be aware of, but with some basic tips we can pull back the curtain on some of the more daunting technical aspects, allowing you to put aside trepidation and make the gear work for you.
We recently discovered the wonders of SLACK here at Boom Box Post. On the surface, Slack seems like a basic messaging platform, not much to dig into. However, once we did dig in, we realized the potential power of such a streamlined platform. Slack's tagline is "Be Less Busy." And that's the real draw here. Finding ways to communicate better and faster can be such a time saver. Here's how we at Boom Box Post utilize Slack to its fullest in our Post Production workflow.
Cut Notes, by Digital Rebellion is an iPad note taking app that works seamlessly with digital audio workstations like Pro Tools as well as many non linear editors. I've mentioned the app in previous blog posts; discussing its time-saving application in my day to day workflow as well as naming it one of Boom Box Post's Top 5 iPad apps for sound designers.
I utilize Cut Notes by syncing the app over WiFi with Pro Tools. As my timeline moves, so goes the timecode on the app, printing precise locations on each note in real time. I find this especially useful for client spotting sessions. Once complete, my workflow involves me copying the text from Cut Notes and pasting it into a google doc for the specific episode or project. These docs are shared with the appropriate editors on my team, giving them pristine location-based notes to follow as they work (it also saves them from having to interpret my chicken scratch hand writing).
Being such a fan, I decided to reach out to the app's developer, Jon Chapell with a few questions about the app, and plans for its future.
I often find myself creating custom effects as well as discovering hidden gems deep within my library. Sometimes I will go to look for a specific sound and stumble upon an awesome sound which is so randomly labeled, I know I will never be able to find it again. Now maybe you have a photographic memory or an astounding talent for remembering trivial file names. If so, this post probably isn’t for you. But if you’re like me, and memory just isn’t what it used to be, here’s a bit of advice on how I handle labeling my library.