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Video Slave

Dialog Recording Part 3: Recording with Pro Tools

Video Slave 3 - Dialog Recording Part 3: Recording with Pro Tools

This is the third article in our series of articles about dialog recording with Video Slave in Pro Tools. This article already gave you an in-depth look at how to setup Video Slave to work with Pro Tools while this article explained more details about how to get the dialog information into Video Slave.

After reading these last two articles, you should now know how to import or create ADR Cue events within Video Slave and you should have a list of events ready to start recording. As already stated in the import/create article, Video Slave currently offers two ways of working with ADR Cue events - namely the event list window and the DAW Settings Quick Control window. This time we'd like to start with the DAW Settings window as we think that the clear focus on the one event currently being recorded is a bit superior to the list window approach. However, this is may be a matter of personal preference. The event list window will do the same job just as well and you are free to use that if you prefer.

The DAW Settings window - Settings tab

Video Slave 3 - DAW Settings

In the previous article, we only had a look at parts of the Quick Controls tab of this window. This time, we'd like to also explain the Settings tab in detail. At the very top, we have a "DAW Selection" box. If Pro Tools is open and a session is loaded, Video Slave will show the Pro Tools application icon as well as its version number and the name of the currently loaded session.

When recording dialog in Pro Tools, Video Slave offers the possibility to name record tracks before starting to record. This will then also affect the name of the newly created audio region. In the "DAW Track Naming" box, you can select what ADR cue properties are supposed to be part of the track name. If none of the boxes is checked, Video Slave will leave the track names untouched when recording.

If "Locate DAW on Event Selection" in the "Misc Settings" box is checked, Video Slave will set a timeline selection in Pro Tools whenever you select an event in either the list or DAW Settings window. If "Assign Record Tracks automatically" is set, Video Slave will check if there are overlapping cues or cues in close proximity and assign them record tracks in an A/B manner in order to allow for proper recording without overwriting existing regions in Pro Tools.

At the bottom of the window, you find the "DAW Tracks" and "Track Types" section. This is where Video Slave allows you to control what you want to happen during, before and after the actual take for different record modes in a very fine-grained fashion.  


Video Slave 3 - DAW Settings Window - DAW Tracks

 DAW Tracks Tab

The DAW Tracks tab lists all the tracks currently available in your Pro Tools session in a table-style manner. Next to each track name, there are three columns labeled "Rehearse", "Record" and "Review". The labels of these columns refer to the three recording modes Video Slave offers. There's Rehearse which will allow you to pre-listen the cue with the actor. Pro Tools will only playback. Then there's Record which is used for the actual recording. When recording, Video Slave increases the take number for each cue (this can optionally be appended to the track name). Review is used to listen over the take again to see if it needs to be re-done. For each of the three modes, Video Slave allows you to define the "behavior" of the tracks meaning if they're playing, muted, input enabled or recording (recording is only available for the Record mode). You can simply select one of the predefined values "Input" ,"Play", "Mute" and "Record" from the drop down. Video Slave counts the number of tracks set to record and you will then be able to select a record track per event by its index.

Video Slave 3 - DAW Settings Window - Track Types

Track Types Tab

When you switch to the Track Types tab, you will see another table listing the values from the dropdown menus in the DAW Tracks tab in the left column. This table allows you to define how Video Slave controls Pro Tools track states in an even more fine-grained manner. In the three columns "Before", "During" and "After", Video Slave lets you control how you want the audio tracks in Pro Tools to behave during, before and after the take. We already added the most basic settings "Play", "Mute", "Input" and "Record" for you, but you can also add more states here to fit your needs or you can modify existing ones. You might for example like to listen to your voice talent before the actual take and of course during record but you want to check the transition into the original dialogue after the take by muting the talent's microphone. To do so, you could simply modify the value in the row "Record", column "After" to "Mute" instead of "Play". There are a variety of options that might make sense in your particular workflow so we strongly encourage you to try around and see what you can do with these settings.

Underneath the table to define the actual track types is a preference which lets you define when to actually apply the "During" state. This might sound a bit odd at first as you would assume that the "During" setting should of course be applied at the in point of the event. There are however scenarios where it might be useful to apply the "During" setting a bit earlier. One is when you're using a speaker instead of headphones in the recording room for example. In that case it will be helpful to mute the playback track a bit earlier so you don't get any feedback and to allow the sound to decay before starting the record pass. This setting lets you define how many frames in advance the "During" setting is applied.

The DAW Settings window - Quick Controls tab

Video Slave 3 - DAW Settings Window - QuickControls 1

At the top of the Quick Controls section of the window, you'll find the actual record controls. Starting from the left, there are buttons to rehearse the currently selected event, to stop Pro Tools playback, to record the currently selected event and to review the currently selected event. These buttons will only be active if there's an event currently selected. If multiple events are selected, these buttons always control the first event in the selection.

When clicking one of the three buttons Rehease, Record or Review, Video Slave will set a timeline selection in Pro Tools, set the record track name (if you chose this in the "Settings" tab of the window) and the track mute, input or record states to match your settings. In Rehearse and Review, Video Slave will only send a playback command to Pro Tools. If the Record button is clicked, Video Slave will send a record command. In all cases, Video Slave will respect the Pre-Roll and Post-Roll intervals set in Pro Tools. So if you set your pre-roll to 5 seconds for example, Pro Tools will start playback 5 seconds before the cue starts sending MTC info to Video Slave to playback in sync. 

Starting from Video Slave 3, only the selected event will be displayed. All other events are hidden automatically. Meaning that Video Slave will never display the previous cue if it overlaps with the pre-roll of the current cue.

Below the record controls, you see a set of buttons for event control. From left to right, there's a button to select the previous event, to create a new event from DAW selection, duplicate the currently selected event, split the current event at the current playhead, delete the currently selected event and to select the next event in line.

As already mentioned previously, the main intention when designing this window was to help you focus on the currently selected event when recording. Thus, we put an "Event Details" box right below the "Event Controls". In the big dropdown menu at the top, you can select the current event. Once clicked, it will show all events there are matching the currently set filters. To define the filters, click the filter icon on the right. If a filter is set, the icon will turn blue. 

Below the event selection dropdown, you see the current event's in and out timecode with draggable modifier buttons to the left and right of each timecode box. Underneath the timecode boxes, Video Slave displays the current selection set in Pro Tools. The button to the right of the "Out Point" box allows you to update the current event's boundaries with the current Pro Tools timeline selection. 

At the bottom of the window, you can set more properties of the currently selected event including the record track. The record track dropdown will let you select the index of the record track you want to record to. Index 1 means the first track where the mode is set to "Record" in the DAW Tracks "Record" column and so on.

Whenever modifying events, make sure to save the playlist right after.

Contour Shuttle Pro 2 support

To get the best user experience, we recommend using an external control device like the Contour Shuttle Pro 2. The Shuttle Pro 2 allows you to assign shortcuts on its numerous buttons. We did our best to offer shortcuts for all common functions. You can download a preset to get you started from here. You can of course modify the layout to match your personal preference. There's a complete list of all shortcuts available in Video Slave 3 you can view here.