Jon Connolly is the most sought-after Pro Tools instructor in the world.
Having been with Avid since the company first started out as DigiDesign in the early ‘90s, he quickly became their Product Specialist in Los Angeles, offering Pro Tools installations, training, and support to major studios like Warner Bros., Universal, Capitol, The Village, Record One, Westlake, and more.
Today, Jon is a Pro Tools Master Instructor for Avid, travelling the world and training Pro Tools users of all levels. He also teaches at the world-renowned Berklee College of Music.
In this clip, Jon teaches you some basic automation skills in Pro Tools.
What is automation?
Automation is the ability to program parameter changes into the mix at specific points. Volume automation is one of the most basic types, giving engineers the freedom to, say, fade a track in or out. You can automate just about anything you can think of, including panning, reverbs and delays, EQ, compression…You name it!
To automate volume in Pro Tools, first change the Track View selector from the default “Waveform,” to “Volume.” The black line that now appears across the track represents the volume, or in actuality, where the fader sits at any given time.
The next thing you’ll want to do is change your Automation Mode selector from the default “Read,” to “Touch.” Touch automation will record your volume fader changes in real time after you start playback.
To touch up your automation, you can start playback again, moving the fader when you want to make a correction. Touch mode will automatically write over the existing automation and record the new moves.
Touch vs. Latch Automation Mode
Latch mode is similar to Touch with the only difference being the automation will continue to write at whatever level you let the fader go. Touch mode will stop writing automation at whatever point you let off the fader.
Playing Back Without Automation
It’s possible that you want to keep whatever automation you’ve written intact, but don’t necessarily want to hear it at that given moment. Or perhaps you’ve been given a session with someone else’s automation, and you want to get an idea of what everything sounds like naturally.
You can very simply change the Automation Mode selector to “Off” to keep the recorded automation but listen back without hearing it.
Other Automation Tricks
Once you’re happy with the automation you’ve recorded, set the Automation Mode selector back to “Read” to hear it play back. At this point, you can highlight, copy, and paste or duplicate the recorded automation, or even grab the Pencil tool and manually write new information.