The Pro Tools 2023.12 software update is now available and delivers significant enhancements for both music and audio post workflows, including a new integrated Dolby Atmos® renderer to streamline immersive mixing. The release also offers enhancements to Pro Tools Sketch, new marker and memory location functionality, I/O setup and routing color coding, Same as Source bounce support for H.264 video, and more.
For a detailed technical overview of the new features, be sure to check out the “What’s New in Pro Tools 2023.12” guide and release notes here. To get a summary of all recent releases and more, please visit the What's New in Pro Tools page.
Note that we are still in the process of qualifying Pro Tools for macOS 14.1 (Sonoma). Read this article for known issues when running on macOS 14.1.
INTEGRATED DOLBY ATMOS RENDERING (STUDIO AND ULTIMATE ONLY)
Mixing Dolby Atmos in Pro Tools is now easier than ever, with an integrated Atmos renderer in Pro Tools Studio and Ultimate that supports monitoring of binaural, 2.0, 5.1, 7.1, 5.1.2, 5.1.4, 7.1.4 and 9.1.6 (Ultimate only). Read the Pro Tools Dolby Atmos renderer blog to learn more.
The Dolby Atmos integration really got us thinking about signal flow and how important it is to see the relationship between paths in I/O Setup, as well as with tracks in the session. Color is a great mechanism to help with this. Pro Tools 2023.12 allows you to assign colors to paths in I/O Setup, which will flow between tabs to related paths. For example, if you color a path in the output tab, the related bus will automatically inherit the color, and the reverse is also true.
Dolby Atmos groups can also be colored, and when assigned to an object or bed, those paths will also inherit the color. If you’re using the external Dolby Atmos Renderer application with Pro Tools, the color will even flow from group, to bed/object, to output.
The colors assigned in I/O Setup will then show on the I/O plates in the Edit and Mix windows. This makes it really easy to quickly see the routing between tracks at a glance. We’ve included a saturation slider in the color palette if you want to adjust the color to taste or turn it off completely.
MARKER AND MEMORY LOCATION IMPROVEMENTS
Pro Tools 2023.6 brought track markers to Pro Tools, but we knew there was still a lot more to do—including an easier way to find and sort markers. Importing similar sessions could accumulate a lot of redundant markers, so we wanted an easier way to clean up unused ones. There has also been great demand for more marker rulers at the top of the Edit Window. And wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to navigate to the previous or next memory location? Pro Tools 2023.12 addresses all of these needs.
As Pro Tools allows up to 32,000 memory locations, there are now a total of four ways to filter, which will help you quickly find exactly what you need.
The first is by clicking on the icons at the top of the attribute columns. Although this method was available in previous versions of Pro Tools, we’ve modified the behavior. You can think of the previous behavior as behaving like mutes. Clicking the icon would hide any memory locations that contained that attribute. The new method behaves more like solos. Now when you click the first icon, it shows only memory locations that contain that attribute. When you click the second icon, it will expand the search to include memory locations which include either attribute. For example, you can click the “Selections” icon and the “Zoom Properties” icon to see just memory locations that have either of these properties.
Color filters behave the same way as the icons. Clicking any color will show you only markers that have that color. Adding another color to the filter will show you markers with either color.
The second way that you can filter is by typing text in the boxes above the number, name, track, or comment columns. If you’re receiving markers from Media Composer, one tip is to look for them by using the video editor's username.
The third way is subtractive. Clicking on the funnel icon in the upper left of the window opens a drop-down menu. Unchecking any of the boxes within it will hide memory locations that contain that attribute from the list. This gives you a lot of control over what you need to see.
The fourth method utilizes the same funnel icon. Note that there are three items at the bottom which are unchecked by default. Checking any of these will dynamically filter the list to only show memory locations on Selected Tracks, Edit Selections, or just your Targeted Track. These filters can be used in conjunction with each other, or with other filters.
Once you’ve done all the work to create the memory locations in your session, and then crafted filters to find them, you can save presets to easily recall them. These presets also store and recall the sort order and view states of any columns. You can use these presets to quickly see memory locations related to your song sections, director notes, or zoom settings.
Filtering not only helps you find the memory locations that you want to use, but it also helps you find the memory locations that you want to delete. By adding a mode that unlinks selected memory locations from recalled memory locations, it is now possible to select multiple memory locations (even discontinuous ones) and quickly remove them from your session. Now you can safely do a little cleanup without the risk of recalling something you didn’t mean to.
Previous and next
There’s a new column on the left of the window that shows you which memory location was last recalled. Even if the memory location selection has been unlinked from recall, you can still click in this column to recall the memory location.
New key commands have been added, which allow you move between the previous and next memory locations in the list. You can also recall the last recalled memory location in case you have strayed away from its state or position.
It’s possible to use the new filtering capabilities to craft specific marker ranges that can be switched between. One example is that you can put all of your song section markers on a single track. You can filter memory locations on just that track name, and then sort by time to quickly skip between sections of the song. There are also stock key commands that can be entered, or you can assign your own keyboard shortcuts.
Pro Tools 2023.12 gives you a total of five marker rulers that can be independently shown, re-ordered, and renamed. This is helpful for organizing different kinds or categories of markers on different lanes, whether it be notes, picture cuts, or sections of the session. Having more lanes gives the marker text more space to breathe, preventing text from running into each other.
We put a lot of thought into importing these markers from one session to another. Marker rulers are all treated equally and may be named and ordered for specific reasons, so you may not want the top marker ruler from one session to import to the top marker ruler of another. To solve for this, we have added a tab in the Import Session Data window, allowing you to map marker rulers on import. For cases where you are unsure where to put the incoming markers (or none of your existing marker rulers seem appropriate) we’ve added an option to import them as new basic folders. As this behavior is quite a departure from previous marker import functionality, we’ve added a checkbox to auto-match the rulers on import. This offers a single button-click to import your markers without having to think too much about it. But if any of the rulers don’t match, you’ll be notified so you don’t miss anything. Non-marker memory locations now have their own independent checkbox, as importing these is common when you are managing Pro Tools mix templates.
As it’s a common practice to import session data between various revisions of a session, the memory location list can fill up quite quickly with redundant markers. Pro Tools now automatically scans the import for identical memory locations and filters out any redundancy, saving cleanup time and clutter.
PRO TOOLS SKETCH ENHANCEMENTS
The 2023.12 software release introduces new interoperability between Sketches and Pro Tools sessions, adds new MIDI workflow improvements, and more. When dragging MIDI clips from the Sketch window into the Pro Tools timeline you can now choose whether to keep them as MIDI for further manipulation or render them as audio. Conversely, when dragging audio clips from Pro Tools into the Sketch window, you now have the option to render the full signal chain (including plugin processing, Elastic Audio, clip effects, etc.) to maintain their processed sound. Finally, improvements to the desktop Media Browser make it easier to access your loops and samples and you can now embed Sketches directly into Pro Tools sessions for better portability of projects when sharing and collaborating with others. Read the blog for all the details.
In every release, we try to add a few “quality of life” improvements. Here is what else is included in 2023.12.
H.264 Same as Source support (Studio and Ultimate only)
Same as Source bounce is a great way to export video files from Pro Tools for a number of reasons. It’s generally quicker because time doesn’t need to be spent re-encoding the frames, but more importantly, it ensures that the video you were given is the same exact video that you send back (with your new and improved mix).
Although Pro Tools has allowed Same as Source bounces of Avid DNxHD, Avid DNxHR, and most Apple ProRes for quite a while, it lost the ability to do so with H.264 in macOS Catalina, and when QuickTime support was deprecated on Windows. Pro Tools 2023.12 brings this support back.
It’s important to note that there are many varieties of H.264 files, and not all files are created equal. Some attributes may prevent the file from bouncing Same as Source, but Pro Tools will do its best to warn you. For example, Variable Frame Rate (VFR) files and MXF H.264 files must be transcoded instead of using Same as Source.
Improved QuickTime Timecode Track support (Studio and Ultimate only)
The timecode track in an MOV file is used to display location information in QuickTime Player, and it can also be used as location information in other applications. Pro Tools 2023.12 now supports reading this timecode track and can treat the first frame of the timecode track as the “Original Timestamp” of the file. This means that MOV timestamp information can be displayed in the Workspace, in the Clip Info, and most importantly, it can be used in the Spot window.
The Bounce Mix window now has the option to pass through the timecode track from the original MOV file when doing a Same as Source bounce or replace it with the current timeline location.
Extended Komplete Kontrol support
Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol support has been updated with the following enhancements:
- Support for the MK III keyboard
- Pro Tools will scroll to tracks based on the keyboard selection.
- Komplete Kontrol and Kontakt can now be loaded into any insert slot (not only the first) to be available from the keyboard
AAX plugin cache improvements
For those of you that own a lot of plugins, this may be one of the most exciting features in the release. We’ve done a major overhaul of the plugin cache, making the launch process much smoother. Here’s a list of improvements you will see:
- Quicker launch when many plugins are first cached
- Fixed a crash that can happen during launch when many plugins are first cached
- If a crash occurs during launch, on the next launch the plugin cache creation/update will pick up where it left off
- The cache has been moved to a shared user location so that it does not need to be generated separately for each user account on the computer
Pro Tools 2023.12 is now available for all Pro Tools customers on an active subscription or perpetual license with current Upgrade Plan, as well as all Pro Tools Intro users. You can update through Avid Link or find it in your Avid Account. You can download the Pro Tools Sketch iPad app free here. If you need to upgrade your Pro Tools perpetual license to get the latest features, you can find options to do so here. And if you’re new to Pro Tools, you can try out the latest version with our free 30-day trial.
For more details about this release, please see the new documentation now available in your Avid Account.
Dolby Atmos is a registered trademark of Dolby Laboratories.