Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

Shrinking your Pro Tools projects

By Nick LucasJanuary 3, 2013

DAW WORKSHOP

nick_lucas_bio2Nick Lucas
Hi, I’m Nick and I’m a Pro Tools columnist at Audio Times.  I started out producing music when I was 15, and now work under the pseudonym ‘Veranova’.  Having released various records, produced for up and coming artists such as Lewis Mokler, and composed for companies such as Morphsuits; I took an interest in teaching.  So I started Production Bytes, a source of video tutorials and products for music production; now my main business.  Thanks to the success of this I also took an interest in writing and have settled into a columnist role with Audio Times.  Which brings us to now.  Enjoy!

So you’ve just finished recording a song in Pro Tools and want to send the project to your collaborator over the web for them to add their 2 cents.  But somehow the project is 1.3 Giga-Bytes large and too big to upload to your favourite file sharing service!

Luckily Pro Tools has functions built in to help reduce the project size and share just what audio is needed.  As a testament to how easy this is, this article is going to be a short one!

So here’s my example project, for the sake of example I’ve just duplicated the same large .wav file 10 times and imported all of them into the project.  If I save this project now the size is quite big.

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Now I’m going to delete all but the first audio track, let’s say i’ve decided that was the best ‘take’.  Currently all the other clips have remained in the clips list though, so if I use ‘File>Save Copy as’ (making sure to tick the ‘Audio Files’ box, so that the projects audio is included) for me to upload, the size will remain the same.  Not very useful.

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The Easy Way Out

However there are two very easy directions you can go from here. Firstly if you’re just looking to send a copy of the project somewhere, without including unused audio.  You can simply add a tick to the ‘Main Playlist only’ box under ‘Save Copy as’.  The drawback of this being, if you have any audio/secondary takes in audio track lanes this audio will not be included.

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The Better Practice – but still easy – Way Out

This is where the second direction comes in. If you head over to the Clips List, you’ll see all the

Clips and Audio that have ever been in the project.  To delete everything which isn’t used in the Edit window, all you have to do is hit Ctrl+U [CMD+U on Mac], which selects all ‘Unused Audio Clips’.  Then finally press Ctrl+B [CMD+B on Mac], which removes all the selected clips from the project.

Ctrl+B will present you with a dialogue box offering you two options:

  • Delete, will remove the audio from your hard drive, permanently gone. This is useful to save space on your hard drive when you’re archiving projects. But be careful not to delete audio that you actually want to use elsewhere!
  • Clear, will remove the audio from this project, but leave the source audio where it is on your hard disk. This is useful if you just want to clean up a project to make it faster to load, or smaller for sending to someone.

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In this case I’m going to hit ‘Clear’ as I want to keep the audio inside my original project, and just remove it from the one I’ll be sending over the web.

So finally because this project is currently sharing the same audio folder as the main project, I’m going to ‘Save Copy as’, and make sure to tick the box to include my audio files!

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Now the project size is about 139mb, and all of the audio clips used in the Edit window are still included; much better!

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Nick Lucas
January 2013

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