There are so many iconic sounds in film, whether it be Ben Burtt's lightsaber, the Wilhelm Scream, the warp drive on Star Trek, or Godzilla's roar; amazingly enough, the T-rex's roar in Jurassic Park was a blend of lion, elephant, and human. Sound can impact audiences in a way visuals cannot because of its subliminal nature. Recent films like Baby Driver and A Quiet Place feature sound as a storytelling device and they do so with great success.

No matter where you land on the filmmaking food chain—producer, director, camera, editor, costumes, hair and makeup—take a weekend and rent a small production sound kit (shotgun mic, boom pole/handheld grip, mixer, and headphones) and go out and listen. Listen to your surroundings. Change the mic angle and notice to how that subtlety affects what you hear. Understanding just a little about how sound works will make you a better filmmaker.  

Striving for quality production audio on set helps those working in post, but the results aren't always fruitful. Thankfully, programs like iZotope RX, Audacity, Adobe Audition, Reaper, Logic Pro and Pro Tools are there to help. Pro Tools announced Pro Tools 2018 earlier this year and has been rolling out updates since. Below, we'll dive into what's new.

Searching plugins and busses 

"Forget scrolling through lengthy menus to find the plugin or bus you need. With tag-like search capabilities integrated into the Inserts, Sends, Inputs, and Outputs menus, you can simply start typing and Pro Tools will instantly display all matching items, enabling you to assign VIs, effects, and busses much faster than before."

Multi-item menu selections enabled

"Pro Tools now makes it easier to select multiple items in a menu in one fell swoop to boost your workflow speed. Control-click (Mac) or Start-click (Windows) on a track Insert, Send, or I/O mapping slot and select as many items as desired from the context menu. Quickly select multiple view, toolbar, window, and other preferences using checkboxes in pop-over menus."

Groove editing

"Don’t want everything to perfectly align to the beat when rearranging a session? You can now have Pro Tools maintain the relative grid position when copying, cutting, and pasting audio and MIDI clips and note selections. Not only does this expedite the editing process, it preserves the perfectly imperfect feel of unquantized music by retaining all correct offsets established in your timeline."

If you've never used Pro Tools before, they offer a free version dubbed Pro Tools First which can get you up to speed with the DAW. It's a light version of the program without all the features similar to its visual counterpart, Media Composer First (both products are from Avid). You can download a free 30-day trial for Pro Tools here.  

Update Highlights: 

  • Save Track Presets of your favorite effects chains and settings—spend more time being creative, and finishing projects
  • Capture MIDI performances when inspiration strikes—even when you're not recording
  • Search within menus to quickly find plugins and assign busses without derailing your creative flow
  • Maintain relative grid position when copying, cutting, and pasting audio and MIDI clips and note selections
  • Build a Target Playlist of the best performances—from multiple playlists—right in Waveform view