ProTools 8 – post features

As probably most ProTools users now know, ProTools version 8 was announced at AES today & wowed many a long term user & abuser with changes that reflect the thankful fact that the company have been concentrating on new & and/or updated features rather than maintaining endless changes to OS versions…. As for resolving ongoing bugs (region groups?) only time will tell…

So far the three biggest changes that have become apparent to me for post are:
1. LE now supports 128 tracks AND surround up to 7.1
2. the GUI has been redesigned & is now user-configurable
3. MIDI/Scoring has been overhauled..

No doubt many more subtle & far reaching features & tweaks have been made but until the new version ships I will have to wait to hear from those in attendance at AES.

So whats the impact?

Well, despite having cut FX & Ambience on more than a dozen films in the previous decade using PT LE, I can now say that if you are an FX Editor there is no longer a need to work on (or own) an HD system. THAT is no small observation! I’m not really interested in debating the other options (ie Nuendo) simply because the dub stage I mix at does not have Nuendo, end of story. As a sound designer/supervising sound editor I have to say I ‘could’ cope using only PT LE, but it would be a compromise. But as the current project has illustrated, PT HD is a compromise for what I actually need too, so its a matter of contemplating the scale of the compromise. Quite simply 192 voices is not enough, but even worse is the 256 track limit! When conforming I am potentially manipulating a session with 400+ tracks – I dont need to listen to many of them, but please PROTOOLS 8, please; dont just drop the extra tracks when I exceed the limit! That truly sucks!

So for ProTools LE users who are prepared to fork out the extra dosh (remains to be seen how much for the ‘Complete Production Toolkit’ or more importantly for a lot of applicable users, the upgrade from DV Toolkit) in the end the cost is ‘almost’ irreleveant – as long as it DOES support it, and it now does, then we can argue over the cost… so WAHOOO for what is now possible! So with the new Complete bizo, you will now be able to mix/monitor up to 128 simultaneous audio tracks ie @ 48k up to 128 mono or 64 stereo tracks, or @ 96k 96 mono or 48 stereo. And mix/monitor them in formats up to 7.1. So presumably that includes the pan automation and bus-ing that currently exists in PT HD. In the fine print its interesting that it states supported hardware is: 003®, 003® Rack, 003® Rack+, Digi 002, Digi 002 Rack, or Mbox® 2 Pro required to monitor surround outputs’ – but the ability to manipulate surround material does not intrisincally require monitoring; please DIGI free us from your hardware requirements just a little bit eg I own an MBox that doesnt have enough outputs to monitor 5.1, but eg if I am on the dub stage with my laptop & need to do a conform of 5.1 stems without haulting progress I shuld fairly obviosuly eb able to do it – and I dont need to ‘monitor’ the surround while I do it….

Next, well the GUI at last looks like its from this century! A friend who works for the local Digi distributor & who attended the company previews said it was almost his favourite new feature & as someone who spends 90% of my working day staring at the ProTools interface I well know what he means. Bear in mind its customisable so the waveforms dont HAVE to be pastal, but feast your eyes on these:





God bless Digi for one of their best acquisitions ie Sibelius. And we knew it would have an impact sooner or later! Go watch the demo vids on the digidesign site, but at last people like me who cant read tadpoles on a page, can now generate them:




And what else for post?
It seems Locking regions has had a depth charge – this is a feature I use a lot as a means of identifying whether regions have been edited & are, for now, locked in content & sync or are still work in progress. Seems regions can now be locked to two levels; as they are currently or solely to the timeline.
And the automation view in ProTools can now display (& allow instant access for editing) to multiple ‘lanes’ of automation – this is an excellent development & will hopefully render half a dozen of my Quickeys redundant, and make any erroneous automation instantly apparent.

And the take manager, which appears to have been created primarily for dealing with music overdubs, also looks very useful as a means of managing the inevitable multiple ADR or foley takes…

bring it on!

Anyone know how long we have to wait?

6 Responses to ProTools 8 – post features

  1. Brent says:

    Tim,
    You didnt mention satellite link or LE satellite either – both big post workflow “enablers”.
    There’s no public release date on PT8 at this stage, but stay tuned. I’ll let you know as soon as I can.
    Brent@Digi

  2. tim says:

    yes! Am intrigued to learn more about the satellite feature

    “ProTools HD 8 extends the extensive capabilities of Digidesign’s Pro Tools|HD audio hardware with the new Satellite Link option, which allows you to control up to five Pro Tools|HD systems as one.”

    “For the ultimate in post-production efficiency, the new Video Satellite and Video Satellite LE options bring Avid® and QuickTime HD/SD video playback to Pro Tools in high definition, without sacrificing your audio track counts or processing power. Pro Tools 8 also delivers major enhancements to ICON users, bringing new functionality to the Soft Keys, adding a local assign mode, introducing I/O view, and letting D-Command® and D-Command® ES users expand their console to 40 faders.”

    FWIW just found out the LE Complete bizo will cost US$1995 to buy outright
    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/CompleteTK/
    So considering DV Toolkit costs US1295 I guess the upgrade from DV Toolkit -> Complete is going to be US$500-US$700 max?

  3. tim says:

    & quoting a Digi employee on the DUC:

    “Yes, there will be upgrade paths from DV and Music Production Toolkits. Not sure on pricing yet. SoundCode Stereo is a down-mixer which allows you to monitor surround sessions in stereo. This is especially useful for users with 2-channel peripherals who want to edit a surround session, but don’t have enough outputs to monitor in surround.”

  4. leyton says:

    im liking that GUI.. and the new midi editor window is waaayyyy to my liking…( it was so finiky in that lane editor.. but thats because im used to YKW).. did i say im liking that GUI.. plus decent template management… nice.. that GUI will probably make it sound better.. 😉

  5. rene says:

    The biggest thing to me is that we now get TEN inserts per channel. That’s huge in my opinion.

    Also a big fan of the advanced region locking, and there are now keystrokes for mute and solo, which is sweet. I’m excited.

    http://www.protoolsblog.com/blog/pro-tools-8-new-user-interface-and-brief-overview.html

  6. Chris says:

    I was in the process of buying a PT set up when I found out about PT 8. Does anyone know what the upgrade cost will be from the current version?

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