Topics covered in this article:
- Using groups with bed and object tracks
- Using VCAs to meet loudness targets
Using Groups with Bed and Object Tracks
When working with sets of related tracks, such as FX bed tracks and object tracks, creating mix groups provides a way to link relevant parameters. Within the Modify Groups window in Pro Tools, Object Controls can be enabled, if required, under the Attributes and Globals tabs. This will group the Object control mode settings and Bus/Object toggles for all tracks in the group.
Whether this is useful or not depends on the mix in question; the Bus/Object toggle may be found to be of more use when adjusted on individual tracks rather than on a group. Parameter grouping may be useful, however, if multiple objects are used to layer sounds to create a single overall FX, where grouping identical track attributes such as panning may be desirable. Enabling groups for mutes while using stems may be useful if a single bed is being used and multiple mastering passes are required.
Groups can also be used to gang plug-in parameters in a specific insert slot. This can be very helpful in applying consistent control of compressors, limiters, filters, and EQs on multiple Objects.
Using VCAs to Meet Loudness Targets
Controlling levels of an Dolby Atmos mix to meet loudness target levels (as measured by the Renderer or third-party plug-in via a 5.1 Loudness Re-Render) can be difficult. An effective method to control outputs is to assign stem groups to VCAs for level control of individual stems, and to create a master group comprised of the stem VCAs assigned to its own VCA for overall output level control.
Be aware that VCA’s used in this way can affect existing dynamics processing. It is important to be cognizant of the session’s bussing structure in determining the proper assignment of tracks to VCAs pre- or post- dynamics processing and to be aware of how this could alter the balance between Beds and Objects. When used judiciously, VCAs provide an effective method to “trim” an entire session to help achieve loudness targets.