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Pro Tools Tutorial DVD Level 1

Review by: Scott Kahn

    3 Stars        

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You’ve probably encountered this scenario before: You’re a recording pro, or a musician with recording and producing expertise, so you handle all recording tasks on behalf of your band. Slowly but surely, other members of the band realize that if they each had Pro Tools-based studios of their own, they could work on recordings and demo ideas on their own.

The only problem is… they really don’t know how to use Pro Tools for themselves, starting at the beginning of a session and working all the way through editing and mixing. Some basic training would be in order, and ASK Video’s series of tutorials, starting with the Level 1 video reviewed here, would make excellent starting points for the serious-musician-but-not-an-engineer crew you hang out with.

DVDs in the ASK Video series of tutorials each include two DVDs – one that plays in a standard DVD player, with NTSC and PAL formats on each side of the disc, and another that runs as a data DVD in Mac or Windows PCs. We preferred the computer-based version because you can copy the tutorial onto a laptop’s hard drive for viewing while traveling – which uses less battery power than running from the actual DVD. Also, the computer-based version keeps a live Index/Table of Contents running along the left-hand side of the display, making it simple to skip around and view the sections you care about (as opposed to the standard DVD that operates by returning to the Menu, etc.).

The Level 1 tutorial, taught by Brian Hogue, provided a good high-level overview of the features in Pro Tools and basic usability. It provided useful guidance for the uninitiated regarding setting up your Inputs/Outputs, creating tracks, recording audio and MIDI data, using buses, automation and more. Pro Tools session files for the tutorial topics were included on the data DVD, too.

We were impressed with the production values for this DVD. Content was very well organized and clearly explained, with outstanding visual presentation of the material. We were happy that Brian explained most of the options for different editing modes (Shuffle, Spot, etc.). The outtakes were enjoyable, too!

However, the one area that was lacking in this otherwise fine introduction has to do with setting and optimizing the levels of recording signals. There was no information provided regarding actually getting a good audio signal into Pro Tools once a track is enabled and the appropriate input selected, and there was no information regarding clipping the signal on recorded tracks. Although it might have been considered too advanced a topic for a novice, it’s really essential information for a newcomer to DAW-based recording.

Priced at $55 directly from ASK Video, we think this introductory DVD is slightly overpriced – $34.99 would ring much better in our ears for this particular content targeted at newcomers to the Pro Tools environment. At $55, casual Pro Tools users may think twice about purchasing the title, but they’re the people who will benefit the most from this very good tutorial.

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