SOT: Protools "Session"?

farss wrote on 3/21/2011, 5:25 PM
Is anyone able to explain what is a "session" in the Protools world?

I suspect others may benefit from understanding this as well.
My problem is those who use Protools keep referring to "my session" and "your session" and "Joe's session" as though this system can track who has done what where and when. In trying to have an intelligent conversation with a large audio post house who will be handling a final mix I'm left with the feeling there's possibly something very basic that I'm not understanding.

If I could get my head around this maybe going forward I could fathom a way to setup my Vegas projects so that they make more sense in the Protools world.
I'd also add these people seem to have some form of file naming convention in place e.g. adding a "+" and a "++" in front of file names.
I certainly don't want anyone to type out a potted guide to Protools, I'm certain there's enough text books around that cover Protools but at the same time I'd like to avoid wading through a weighty tome just to grasp some of the basic concepts.



rs170a wrote on 3/21/2011, 5:52 PM
From How To Start a Pro Tools Session:
When you first start Pro Tools, your first job will be to set up a session file. Session files are the way Pro Tools keeps track of each song you're recording, or what project you're working on.

I did get a chuckle out of page 2 of this article.
At this point, you'll be asked to select a file format. For widespread compatibility, I'd select .wav format. Wav format is easily transferred to Mac or PC, however, .aif is considered a more professional format. It's up to you what you use, though.

farss wrote on 3/21/2011, 6:25 PM
So a session file includes the assets and the "commands" to make a edit / mix from them. I've kind of gotten that far. Now what happens when that file is opened by someone else who is going to add new elements e.g. ADR in their session.
Clearly the previous session's mix needs to changed but in such a way that it is not destructive i.e. the previous session can quickly and easily be compared with the current session.
Instructions I had was to add new elements to new tracks, fair enough however things such as new music and ADR make no sense unless parts of the previous session are changed. No problem doing this in Vegas, volume envelopes to the rescue but that is destructive, the previous sessions / project's volume envelope's settings are lost.

Bob Greaves wrote on 3/21/2011, 6:55 PM
By way of analogy and comparison. In Microsoft Word all the letters, spaces and special characters are stored in a docx file. Included in the file are references to the Fonts used and the edited features of various elements of a document. The docx file can be called a document file. The document file contains all the text but merely references the fonts used and sometimes references other assets as well. One can use special preferences to allow the document file to include even the fonts.

In Sony Vegas you can save your Vegas Project as a VEG file. The VEG file, as you may know, does not contain all the assets of the project but rather contains a reference to all the assets in a project in the Vegas editing environment with data that describes how the assets, that are part of the project are to be handled. So a VEG file does not contain audio files or video files but does hold a placeholder in the project that will find the audio and video files where they are stored on your computer. The VEG file is your project file.

Pro Tools simply uses the terminology session for the file that references all the assets and their current edited state for a specific project. A project is saved in a SES file which contains a reference for all the audio clips that appear in the project and are stored elsewhere on the hard drive.
farss wrote on 3/21/2011, 8:01 PM
Thanks Bob.
So if I've not misunderstood you a Protools session file is conceptually the same as a Vegas project file. It does not contain the assets themselves.

Moving on from there does an OMF file contain the assets?

ChristoC wrote on 3/21/2011, 8:27 PM
> does an OMF file contain the assets?

There are 2 varieties of OMF:
= Embedded - one large OMF file contains all edit info and all assets
= Separate - OMF file contains edit info, and is usually associated with a folder containing assets. (very similar to Vegas TXT or an EDL file)

However OMF files do not contain any Mix information.

Swapping sessions between PT & other DAWs can be easy or a complete pain....

Bob, are you in Sydney - then call 0293182332 - easier to chat!
rraud wrote on 3/22/2011, 8:30 AM
"Swapping sessions between PT & other DAWs can be easy or a complete pain...."
For sure. Expensive too. In addition, the current OMFv2 file is limited to 2GB so it's often nessesary to break the file into segments or tracks if embedding the media. However, Vegas does not support OMF import/export directly, so a costly conversion utility is nessesary. The format does contain some audio mix info, such as volume, pan, x-fades ect. However though the conversion process, different applications do not always interpolate that data. No problem though, since it's usually changed in audio post anyway.. AAF is an alternative, though in my experiences, importing from Avid, FCP, Premere and other NLEs just plain does'nt work. I have not tried it , but allegedly it does work with PTs. Search the Vegas audio forum for more info