Pro Tools Tip Of The Day: How To Clean Up A Session

Save Session.jpgIn celebration of Musformations Data Loss Prevention Week, I have a tutorial on how to get your files down to the bare minimum when you need to transfer/back them up! You have finished mixing a song and the record is done but now you are left with a Pro Tools file of massive size! If you have not been consolidating and deleting files as you have been recording they can end up being 10 times or more the size they should be, wasting valuable Hard Disk space and money backing them up. I can often get a track with 15 GB down to 1.5-2.5 GB after performing these steps. These steps also enable you to easily recall a session or give it to another studio for further use NO MATTER WHAT AUDIO SOFTWARE THEY USE! This alleviates the headache of worrying about whether the next person working on the record can open your file. If they need to open it they can simply import all of your Audio Files and they will open. Click over the jump to read how to get your Pro Tools File to a more manageable size.


Step 1: Delete Any Unused Tracks!
I often make my Pro Tools files from Templates. In my Templates I have tons of different tracks for Backing Vocals, Gang Vocals, Keyboards etc. While recording a song I may never use the tracks. The first thing I do is go in and delete all of those tracks. These may be tracks with no Audio on them, parts we recorded but decided not to use, or just inactive tracks. To delete the tracks hold the Apple key on each one and then go under the Track menu and select Delete.
Unused track.jpgStep 2: Select And Consolidate ALL Tracks!

The next step is to select the All group under the Groups menu. Next, highlight all of the audio in the track or go under the Edit menu and Select All. If you are the type of person who records ideas after a songs end go and erase that stuff before we Select All. If this does not make your highlighted audio go back to Bar One(zero seconds), please extend it there. Now go under the Edit menu and select Consolidate. This will take a few minutes to process.
allgroups.jpgStep 3: Delete Unused Playlists!
After all tracks are consolidated, you need to get rid of any playlists you may not be using. If you wish to keep some playlists such as untuned vocal tracks, simply do not delete them!
delete playlist.jpgStep 5: Select Unused Audio
Our next two step involve using the Regions menu. Go under this menu and navigate to the Select sub-menu and click on Unused.
Select Unused.jpg
Step 6: Remove Unused!
Now we are going to remove the Unused Audio. Return to the Regions menu and select Clear.
clear.jpgNext you will be asked if you want to Delete or Remove your files. We will select Remove.
remove.pngStep 8: Select Save A Session Copy
In our last step we will select Save Copy In under the File menu. We will then click the selection of All Audio Files. By doing this we will not have any excessive Audio Files, Session File Backups, or previous versions of the song. For those of you worried your Audio Files may be accidentally recorded on to another drive and often have missing file problems, this will fix that problem as well.
Save Session.jpgStep 9: Take A Look At Your New Tiny File Size
Highlight your new file and go under the File menu and then click Get Info. This will show you your awesome new file size. Now back up your session! TWICE!
get info.jpg

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.

  • eric

    isn’t easier just to consolidate… (alt, shift, 3)… then go to window-> Project or ( alt + O ) and delete anything that’s not modified on the same date?

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