I’m a product designer on the Pro Tools team and I’m very excited to bring some insight and workflow discussion to Avid Blogs for one of the rendering features we’ve delivered since launching Pro Tools 12: Commit.
I can’t say I remember bouncing down tracks on tape.
I grew up with trackers and DAWs and only had some classroom time and a few tape-only sessions as an assistant to get the picture, taste the evolution, hear legend of ops who could cut in single track edits on 2-inch.
I caught enough to be compelled by the principle that limitations inspire creativity and ingenuity.
“We’ve only got 4 tracks” didn’t mean “we’d better stop there” for the Beatles and their contemporaries, it meant “let’s make some decisions and move on.” Practical, effective, and decisive production, or maybe just that good old necessity, maternal as she is.
Getting a bit dramatic here, but I think it’s important to convey that we consider the backdrop when deciding what a feature should do, and what it means for workflow.
Freeze, which we’ll talk some more about in a future post, and Commit are very complimentary workflows but we wanted to start by delivering what we believe brings the most power and flexibility to the table.Where Freeze primarily solves the “free up resources” problem and reduces system delay, Commit bridges the gap from writing to mixing and arranging, and from final mix to delivery or archival, and has already been saving Pro Tools users hours of time.As a reminder, here’s the feature set at a high level from the 12.3 Release Notes : First things first: It all has to sound right.Since Pro Tools 10 we’ve had a 32-bit floating point mix engine, which translates to practically endless internal headroom and heralded simplicity in gain staging workflow and sound quality.Yet, we mostly work in 24-bit when it comes to the recorded file and we’re primarily printing down audio at “the end” of the signal flow, where we’re more careful about returning to fewer-bit domains.Now with Commit you may be rendering a track pre-fader right from the source where a 24-bit file would clip.To avoid this, Commit defaults to print 32-bit audio files, preserving a what-you-hear-is-what-you-get experience.If you have to enforce a particular format there is a new Pro Tools preference in the Processing tab where you’ll see the 32-bit default and an option to follow the session format.Then, you should be able to flip your committed tracks against the source and expect cancellation.It won’t be news to those who have done their on- or offline bounce homework, but the only time we can’t totally cancel is if there are non-deterministic modulations in signal processing like oscillating filters or shifting delays that are “run” by plug-in algorithms from a starting point whenever you start the transport.Virtual Instrument features like round-robin sample allocation, or other intentional randomization or humanization in an instrument plug-in create the same effect.