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Pro Tools: Editing With The Smart Tool

Avid Pro Tools Tips & Techniques By Julian Rodgers
Published May 2022

The Grab tool comes in three variants: the Object Grabber, the Time Grabber and the Separation Grabber.The Grab tool comes in three variants: the Object Grabber, the Time Grabber and the Separation Grabber.

The Smart Tool might be smarter than you knew!

When I started using Pro Tools in the late ’90s there were a couple of features I was drawn to. For someone used to an analogue console, the Pro Tools mixer felt very familiar: a lot more so than the Cubase or Logic mixers of the time. Another was the fact that you could drive Pro Tools from just two windows — a big bonus at a time when typical monitors were CRT and maybe 800 x 600 pixels. Those points don’t count for much in 2022. Lots of DAW mixers are very analogue in feel, notably Reason’s SSL‑style console, and given the lack of proper 4K support for PC users using Pro Tools, the monitor issue today is that, for many users, screens are too big not too small! One area which it took me longer to appreciate, however, is the power of editing in Pro Tools.

Editing in Pro Tools is a massive subject, of course, too big to cover here in its entirety. However, once the initial confusion over questions such as “Where are the scissors?” (there aren’t any) and “Where is the sample editor?” (again, there isn’t one) has subsided, many users quickly settle into editing using the Smart Tool and stay there. The Smart Tool is a hugely powerful invention, and I certainly consider it one of Pro Tools’ crown jewels. The bar across the top of the ‘big three’ edit tools — Trim, Selector and Grab — rolls them all into one super‑useful tool which will meet your needs 90 percent of the time. It’s simplicity itself to use: position it over the top half of a clip and it acts as a Selector tool. Over the bottom half of the clip it becomes a Grab tool. At either end it’s a Trim tool, and in the top corners or where two clips meet, it handles fades or crossfades.

The Smart Tool is a hugely powerful invention, and I certainly consider it one of Pro Tools’ crown jewels.

Tool’s...

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