Remote Transport Sync (RTS) and Pro Tools
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Table of Contents
Source-Connect Pro and Standard both offer Remote Transport Sync which allows you to control a remote Pro Tools session while playing in perfect synchronization. Both Pro and Standard plug-ins provide a button panel which you can use to control the session.
Use the RTS Checklist when preparing your sessions.
Remote Transport Sync is available for all supported platforms that support ReWire*. While this guide is specific to Pro Tools the same principles apply to all compatible hosts.
* Windows 64-bit support is not currently available.
1. Basic use and installation
Two Important Rules
In all cases when using Remote Transport Sync, the following 2 rules hold true. If you understand these 2 concepts, reading further may not be necessary:
ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement): If you press Play on the RTS panel: Sender chases Receiver REVIEW: If you press Play on Pro Tools Transport: Receiver chases Sender (Pro ONLY) Consider who needs to be in sync and who is going to control the session. Whoever is in SEND mode (the 'sender') is controlling the session of the 'receiver', however there are two ways of sending RTS: ADR mode and Review/Mix mode.
NOTE: In Source-Connect Standard you only have access to ADR mode.
When using Remote Transport Sync (RTS), it is important to remember that only one person can be in sync at a time. One person will be the RTS-Sender and select the SEND button on the RTS window. One person will be the RTS-Receiver and select the RECEIVE button on the RTS window.
In SEND mode: this user is controlling the transport
In RECEIVE mode: the remote user is controlling the transport
Installing ReWire for Remote Transport Sync
Using Remote Transport Sync requires that ReWire and the Source-Connect Se ReWire files are properly installed. These files are installed when you run the Source-Connect installer by default.
If you do not see Se ReWire in your DAW, please see Troubleshooting ReWire.
2. Getting Pro Tools ready for RTS
Anyone using RTS must conform to the RTS Checklist:
- Session Start time must first be 0:00:00.
- If it is not set to all zeros Source-Connect's RTS time read out will not match the Pro Tools time read out. The session offsets can be different if they are matched on both sides of the connection, but the RTS time will not match in its display.
- Reset Song start to 0 (via Time Operations) at the beginning of the session.
- Session start time MUST be the same on both sides.
- Frame rates must match on both sides.
- Sample-rate is the same on both sides (or RTS will be disabled).
- Video locations are the same in the timeline.
- The ‘Se ReWire’ plug-in is instantiated on a mono Audio track in Pro Tools with any input or output (don’t have it say no input/output).
- H/W buffer size should be set to 512 or 1024 for accuracy.
- Pre/Post roll should be off.
- Delay Compensation must be off for RTS (and always off, when working with AAX plugins).
- External clock source is the same-sample rate as session (or audio will be distorted).
- On TDM systems the ‘TDM aux’ box must be checked on the RTS panel to allow for the TDM Aux delay to be calculated (AAX plugin only).
- No manual tempos or tempo mapping (see the Conductor icon in the expanded Transport window).
- Tempo must be set to quarter note = 120bpm on both sides. Make sure it is "tempo set to quarter note 120" and not half note or any other note.
- In Source-Connect Standalone adjust manual send/delay value when using external I/O.
- RTS processor in Setup->Playback Engine.
- The lowest possible setting for DSP voices.
- Use only the Pro Tools display for timecode reference when using drop frame rates.
- Sync will be out in the first minute of the timeline. Start sync at 00:01:00:000 or later.
- Must have cursor at 0 to change tempo, and make sure there are no tempo changes in session.
- Should say ‘Tempo Map’ in the Source-Connect RTS window if not 120bpm.
- The Conductor button be ON in the Transport window; a clear sign is that the Tempo ruler shows only “120” instead of “Manual tempo 120".
We also recommend the following for the best AAX performance:
- RTS processor in Setup->Playback Engine
- The lowest possible setting for DSP voices
Se ReWire instrument plug-in
Before using RTS with Source-Connect you will need to instantiate the 'Se ReWire' plug-in.
- Create a mono aux track (Pro Tools 7 and up) or audio track (Pro Tools 6).
- Insert the 'Se ReWire' AAX instrument plug-in found under the Instruments inserts menu
It is not necessary to select any output, as no audio is transferred between this plug-in and Source-Connect. Source-Connect uses the ReWire functionality to communicate transport information to and from Pro Tools.
3. Using RTS in ADR mode
ADR mode is the most commonly used mode and is supported by Source-Connect Pro and Standard for Pro Tools. This is how it works:
- The sender presses the play button on the RTS panel.
- The receiver will receive a message from the sender to start playing at the time specified in the sender's Pro Tools session.
- The receiver sends a message back to the sender that play has started.
- The sender receives this message and Pro Tools starts playing with the exact delay calculated so that the receiver's audio is in sync with the local audio and video.
The following section offers two scenarios: ADR and Music Overdub.
Scenario #1 - ADR
You are a studio engineer recording a voice talent from a remote studio location. Your voice talent is performing their lines while viewing a picture in their timeline and it is essential for you to record them in sync with the same picture in your timeline. You and your talent can achieve this with either Pro or Standard in the following way. Here are step by step instructions.
- Both users must have the same video file in their Pro Tools session located at the same position in the timeline. Additionally, both Pro Tools sessions must follow the guidelines specified on the page Getting Pro Tools ready for RTS.
- The talent sends the microphone signal both to Source-Connect and to a 'record audio track' in their Pro Tools session which is Record-Armed.
- Create a new 'record audio track' which will receive audio from Source-Connect. Record-Arm this track. For additional information on routing see the Source-Connect Example session on our website and your Pro Tools manual.
- You will activate Send from the RTS Panel by pressing the Send button. The remote user will hit the Receive button. You, the sender, are now in control of both Pro Tools sessions. At this point you should position the cursor in your timeline where you would like to begin recording. Before recording any takes, both the Sender and Receiver need to Record- Arm their Pro Tools Transport.
- Pressing the Play button on the your RTS panel initiates playback on the receiver's Pro Tools system first. You can think of this play button as the RTS-Receiver's play button. Now that the receiver is in playback/record, you will 'chase' the receiver, thus you will record the receiver's performance in sync with the picture in your timeline.
- Because you and the receiver went into record at the same point in your timelines the recorded files have the same time stamps. This will allow you to recover any takes for the final production.
Scenario #2 - Music Overdub:
You are a studio engineer recording a music talent from a remote studio location. Your music talent is performing while monitoring cue audio in their timeline and it is essential for you to record them in sync with the same cue audio in your timeline. You and your talent can achieve this with either Pro or Standard in the following way. Here are step by step instructions.
- Both users must have the same cue audio files in their Pro Tools session located at the same position in the timeline. It is often more efficient to only give the performer a stereo mix of the cue audio. Even better, it is possible to give separate stereo mixes of each element (voice, drums, guitar, etc) so the performer can modify their headphone mix as desired with out resending the cue audio. It is also imperative that both users do not send their cue audio to the other user they are connected with. All cue audio must be directly monitored from the local Pro Tools systems.
- The talent sends the microphone signal both to Source-Connect and to a 'record audio track' in their Pro Tools session which is Record-Armed.
- Create a new 'record audio track' which will receive audio from Source-Connect. Record-Arm this track. For additional information on routing see the Source-Connect Example session on our website and the Pro Tools manual.
- You will activate Send from the RTS Panel by pressing the Send button. The remote user will hit the Receive button. You, the sender, are now in control of both Pro Tools sessions. At this point you should position the cursor in your timeline where you would like to begin recording. Before recording any takes, both the sender and receiver need to Record-Arm their Pro Tools Transport.
- Pressing the Play button on your RTS panel initiates playback on the remote Pro Tools system first. You can think of this play button as the receiver's play button. Now that the receiver is in playback/record, you will 'chase' the RTS-Receiver, thus you will record the receiver's performance in sync with the picture in your timeline.
- Because you and the receiver went into record at the same point in your timelines the recorded files have the same time stamps. This will allow you to recover any takes for the final mix.
4. Using RTS in review/mix sync mode with Source-Connect Pro
This is for a situation where you are in a session with picture where a decision maker, such as a producer, is not physically present. This can be referred to Remote Mix Review or Remotely Supervised ADR. For the purposes of this manual, this is called RTS Review mode. Review mode works exactly the same as normal SMPTE dubbing sessions. This is how it works:
- The sender presses the play button in the Pro Tools transport (or uses any control surface available) and Pro Tools will go into play immediately at the time specified in the Pro Tools timeline.
- The receiver will receive a message from the sender to start playing at the time specified in the sender's Pro Tools session and being playing with the exact delay calcuated so that their session is in sync with the sender's audio.
Scenario #3 - Session Review (Source-Connect Pro only)
- Both users must have the same video file in their Pro Tools session located at the same position in the timeline.
- Tell the remote party that they need one Stereo Aux and one Mono Aux track in their session. The Mono Aux will have the Talkback Mic as the Input, and it will Output to Bus1 and Bus2. Make sure all faders are up. The remote party should now Instantiate Source-Connect Pro or Standard on the Stereo Aux. The Input to the Stereo Aux will be Bus1 and Bus2. The Output will be Main Out.
- You will instantiate Source-Connect Pro on a Stereo Aux Track. The Input to this Aux Track should be a Stereo Bus that is fed by your mix. The Output of this track should be your Main Outs. NOTE - Do not send what you are receiving from Source-Connect back into its input, which would cause feedback.
- You push the Send button in the RTS panel, the remote party pushes the Receive button.
- Now you may proceed with your session as you would any other session. When you press Play on the Pro Tools Transport, the remote party will receive your audio in sync with the picture in their timeline.
5. Troubleshooting RTS
This page the most common reasons why RTS may not be working for you. The advice below is the same advice that would be provided to you by support. We encourage you to follow this guide before contacting support as most issues are easily resolved.
- Follow the RTS checklist.
- Please ensure both sides of the connection have followed the RTS checklist completely.
- RTS Messages.
- Source-Connect provides feedback about its RTS status below the Receive Meter:
a. Receiver messages
- Waiting for Play There is no RTS activity
- In Remote Sync The Receiver is placed into Play via the Play button in the Sender's RTS panel
- In Local Sync The Receiver is placed into Play via the Play button in the Sender Pro Tools Transport
b. Sender messages
- Idle There is no RTS activity
- Waiting for Sync Play The Sender has pressed Play in the RTS panel but their local system has not yet chased the Receiver's system. Note this message is often only shown rapidly. If this message remains on the Source-Connect window see comment #1 below.
- In Local Sync The Sender presses Play in the RTS panel and is now chasing the Receiver's system
- In Remote Sync The Sender presses Play in the Pro Tools Transport and the Receiver is assumed to be chasing the Sender's system. See Receiver's messages for feedback.
- It is important to note that these messages clearly identify, from each user's perspective, who is in sync (remote or local).
Nothing happens when pressing play with RTS enabled
It is quite common that a Pro Tools session will 'lose' any ability to send or receive ReWire commands. The reason for this is not known. The symptom of this is when you are on Send or Receive, and the Pro Tools transport does not go into play. The only known solution is to create a completely new session from scratch, and create one new aux track for Source-Connect and one for the Se ReWire plug-in. Once you have done this try reconnecting and testing RTS again. Usually this resolves the problem, and you can import your tracks from the previous session.
We are out of sync by 10 hours or 60 minutes etc
To avoid or alleviate unavoidable offsets, make sure that both users start with a new Pro Tools session with a zero Session Start Time in the session startup window. In addition, no options (wait for note, MIDI countdown, etc) should be selected in the Pro Tools Transport.
The most common reasons for session being out of sync are:
- Session start time is not the same on both sides
- Framerate is not the same on both sides
- Time code offset is not the same on both sides
- Pre- or post-roll is enabled
- Pull up/down is not the same on both sides
- A less common problem which is harder to find but easily fixed is to open the 'Time Operations' window, go to the 'Move song start' menu, and make sure you set the 'Move start to' box to zero ('0'). You can open the Time Operations menu by pressing the Option key and the number 1 key on the number pad.
When I select send or receive I do not see the same timecode value in the RTS panel as in Pro Tools
This is a symptom of a corrupt Pro Tools session. Follow the advice for comment #1 above.
To close Pro Tools either disconnect first or turn off both Send and Receive. If not, Pro Tools will not allow you to close or quit the session. Note for users with TDM: If Source-Connect is on an Aux Track, ensure that the TDM Checkbox in the RTS panel is checked. If Source-Connect is on an Audio Track, uncheck this option.
Source-Connect RTS is currently not compatible with Multi-Connect. Only one plug-in can be in sync with another user.
None of the above advice has helped me
We have seen the following issues and offer solutions:
- External SMPTE controller interferes with Pro Tools and ReWire transport. Contact Digidesign for support or disconnect your SMPTE controller.
- Insufficient CPU resources cause RTS problems. Make sure you are on 1 AAX processor under Setup->Playback engine and drop the number of DSP voices as low as possible.
- A high DSP voices value can disrupt the behaviour of AAX plug-ins in TDM systems.
- Insufficient RAM leads to CPU errors. Upgrade your RAM or remove all other AAX plug-ins from your session.
- On Windows, you can get a lot of CPU errors: clean up your Windows installation, disable anti-virus.
- Follow the Digidesign support guide for improving Pro Tools performance.
If issue persists, also check HD/Library/Application Support/Digidesign/Plug-Ins and delete any old digi-rewire components. These may conflict with Source Elements's ReWire for RTS.