Avid has now released Pro Tools 12.8HD with Dolby Atmos integration that they announced at Avid Connect on the run up to NAB 2017
in Las Vegas.
Everything in this story is for Pro Tools 12HD users owners unless otherwise stated.
The highlights of the Pro Tools 12.8 release is support for 7.0.2 and 7.1.2 track and stem formats, one universal panner
module for both stem and Dolby metadata panning, automated routing between stem and objects, support for the ADM
BWAV file format making re-purposing of immersive content much easier and support for Pro Tools sessions on the Avid NEXIS
The big development with 12.8 HD is the new panner which now handles height. This means a brand new bus structure, new I/O management
and new send & return plug-ins to be able to route audio in-the-box between Pro Tools and the Dolby Atmos Production Suite.
In order to make this work with Pro Tools HD Standalone systems, Dolby and Avid worked together to find ways to internally route
128 channels of audio bi-directionally between Pro Tools and the Production Suite software.
There is also a new automated routing system that allows you to dynamically assign an audio path to either a bus
(known in Dolby terms as a "bed") or as an object, This is a very welcome new feature - a variant of the dynamically
automated routing available on DSP consoles such as the AMS-Neve DFC.
Based on the pre-release demonstrations it is our understanding that there is no backwards compatibility
for these new features When you open a 12.8 session in a 12.7, or earlier, system, the X-Y panning (up to 7.1)
will be readable, but the Z (height) information will not come across. It will be a bit like opening a session that uses
Clip FX on Pro Tools earlier than 12.6.
There is a new tab in the Peripherals Setup menu, exclusively for controlling the connection between the Dolby Renderer
(hardware or software) and Pro Tools and because of the complete integration, there is no longer any need for a third party
monitor application to manage the data and audio connections between the two systems.
Pro Tools can now import Dolby panner information into the native Pro Tools panners, so there is no need to copy and paste the automation from the Dolby panners to the native should you wish to work without them and no need for two panners, one for Pro Tools and one for Dolby Atmos metadata.
As we have seen in the pre-release demos, to further integrate the Dolby workflow into Pro Tools HD, Avid has added re-recorder dubbing for the Dolby Atmos metadata, whether that is for automation or object metadata into the Dolby RMU. Prior to this, you had to run a pass from top to bottom to get the audio and metadata out of Pro Tools into the RMU.
With the new Dolby Atmos integration feature set, you will be able to drop in and patch a section and the metadata will go with it. This will eliminate the need to have extra dubbers in the way as work rounds, everything will work in the box. You will no longer need to do an automation pass at the end of your mix because now the automation and metadata are being updated on the fly just like Pro Tools has done for ages with conventional automation with Touch etc, the Dolby Atmos metadata workflow is now built into the workflow within Pro Tools HD. For example, you could have a system with 3 playback Pro Tools systems feeding one record system and the RMU and all the Dolby automation and metadata can come from the playback systems across to the record system and the Dolby RMU.
A new panner and Dolby Atmos integration obviously mean new software for control surfaces with special integration for XYZ (front-rear-height) panning. With Pro Tools 12.8 and the latest Avid S6 software you can assign both joysticks to control X-Y and Z separately but simultaneously, or use a single joystick and control the height using a knob beside the panner. The individual controls also spill out onto the channel strips, and the touchscreen really comes into its own for this type of work.
Avid presenting all these workflows built into the S6 control surface as the “most affordable way to do a Dolby Atmos theatrical mix", as they have designed this to bypass the need for a dedicated console to handle everything. Avid's plan is to enable users to produce a full Dolby Atmos theatrical mix completely in the box, no console required.
Pro Tools 12.8HD provides support for the ADM BWAV file format. This is an archivable, repurposable file format that Pro Tools is able to read and open out to Dolby Atmos object tracks with all the object metadata.
To achieve this, in the Import Menu, there is now an option to import a BWAV ADM file. This allows you to import a Dolby Atmos master that's been saved as an ADM file, and bring in panning, track labelling and grouping. In this way, a Dolby Atmos Master file that's been created using a system other than Pro Tools can also be file imported into your Pro Tools session.
Along with Pro Tools First and Pro Tools users, Pro Tools HD users can now work with up to 10 collaborators in the cloud on a single project. You can also choose to save projects locally or in the cloud using Selective Project Sync, which Avid has designed to give you easy access to all of your cloud-based work from any Pro Tools-equipped computer—from anywhere you can log into your account. And if you need more storage, you can now expand your cloud space for as little as $4.99 a month for 10 GB.
Updated session and project creation settings in the Create tab in the Dashboard
Backup to Cloud option lets you pull projects offline or put them online
Track Cloud Synchronization indicator in Tracks List