PRO TOOLS | FIRST USHERS IN A NEW "FREE" VERSION OF THE INDUSTRY STANDARD AUDIO EDITING PROGRAM.
In the landscape of audio editing programs, Pro Tools stands alone among the rest. Well, I guess that's up for debate. In this writer's opinion Pro Tools is the standard. However, getting into debates on what is the best audio recording and editing software is like the Mac vs. PC debate. It comes down to what's best for your application/usage, and comfort level. I've had engineers say they love Logic to compose, but still use Pro Tools to edit. Some creative agencies and production houses utilize Adobe Audition because of the integration to Adobe Creative Cloud. Whatever the reason you choose a certain audio program, you'll have a chance to "test-drive" Avid Pro Tools for free! But does it hold up to the full versions?
Pro Tools | First is a departure from the past versions of Pro Tools LE or Pro Tools M-Powered. This is a fully functioning version of Pro Tools that any industry pro would use. Now, I know what you're thinking...What's the catch? Of course any software company is not just going to give things away without some sort of revenue stream options. Which is what makes Pro Tools | First an interesting venture for Avid. In the purest sense, they made a freemium version of Pro Tools. There are limits, as you would expect, but they are creating a new pricing structure to "add-on" features as the user would need.
At first glance the biggest limitations of Pro Tools | First is the number of projects (3 stored in Avid's cloud), no bounce to MP3/iTunes, and no video support. But what this version gives to the user is more than just a stripped down Pro Tools. This is a chance to take Pro Tools out for a spin, without the high price tag ($899 for standard Pro Tools). It still includes AAX plug-in support, compose-record-edit features, and 32-bit 96kHz sample rate. So how will this impact the creative industry?
Creative Agencies and Production Houses:
If you're producing creative content, and have been thinking about using Pro Tools in your workflow; this is now a chance to test. And more importantly, test it without impacting your annual budget...yet.
When I was a creative director, we would test new software/platforms all the time. It was always in an effort to expand our offering to clients as well as speed up production times. The best way I found to do this was to test it in the real world. Don't just get the software and "play around" with it. Find a project, or client that would be suited to use Pro Tools | First and apply it in your regular workflow. If you have a cool client you love, it might even become a nice case study for your site. Either way, it will give you a realistic expectation of how Pro Tools can enhance your workflow, or add to your arsenal of tools.
Voice Talent/Voice Actors and Voice Over Production:
As a professional voice talent, I use Pro Tools and have for years. For me, I accepted it as the standard, even with all it's quirkiness over the years, but never wanted to leave the platform. I did give other audio programs their just due over the years (Logic, Garageband, Twisted Wave, Audacity, Sound Forge, and Audition). In the end being a Pro Tools voice talent gave me the best options to ensure I deliver great quality for my clients, but also gave me the most flexibility in my workflow. But again, that's me. I still do creative audio projects and having Pro Tools makes sense for me.
If you're a working voiceover talent, then Pro Tools is probably overkill for you. Most of the time you're working in a single track, mono, and sending out dry audio only. So why try it? 2 reasons. 1, because you might find having more options for plug-ins, and an expansive audio quality a huge asset. 2, because your clients are probably using Pro Tools and getting an insight into their world will only make you a better talent and creative partner.
With Avid pushing their marketplace toward the accepted subscription based plan, now is a great time to see if Pro Tools is the right audio editing software for you. Avid said they are releasing Pro Tools | First during the first quarter of this year, and full versions of Pro Tools 12 will be at $29.99/mo.
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