Let’s say you’re done working on a Pro Tools session and you want to archive it. That is, you want to put all of (and ONLY) the necessary files for the session all in one tightly-packed folder. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Delete Unused Playlists. Go to any audio track in your session and choose “Delete Unused…” from the playlist menu on the track. The Delete Unused Playlist dialog will open. Highlight all of the playlists in that list (as in Figure 1) and click Delete. This will eliminate any playlists that are not visible in the Edit window… any playlist that is shown on screen and is playing back will not be deleted.
Figure 1. Delete Unused Playlists. Select “Delete Unused” from the playlist menu, and a window with all of the unused playlists will open. Select them all and click “Delete.”
2. Remove Unused Regions. From the Regions list pop-up menu, choose Select > Unused. Any regions that are not referenced by any track or playlist in your session will become highlighted.
3. Clear Regions. From the Regions list pop-up, choose Clear. The Clear Regions window will open, as in Figure 2. Choose “Remove” to remove the unused regions from the session, or “Delete” to permanently erase the files from your hard drive. Whether you choose “”Remove” or “Delete” will not affect the size of your archived session, BUT choosing “Delete” will erase the unused audio files from your hard drive PERMANENTLY. Only choose “Delete” if you’re trying to clean up your hard drive.
Figure 2. Clear Regions. Removing unused regions from a session can make archiving a much faster process while also using up less hard drive space.
4. Compacting (this is an optional step). Compacting deletes unused portions of audio files to conserve disk space. Although it can save hard drive space, be warned. Compacting is a destructive command. It permanently changes the original audio file and cannot be undone. Thus, I would only use this step if you need the archived file to be as small as possible. Otherwise, skip this step.
5. Save Copy In. Choose File > Save Copy In and the dialog in Figure 3 will open. Check off all the items that you want to include in the archive (most importantly, All Audio Files). Be sure to check “Enforce Mac/PC Compatibility” if you’re archiving to a version of Pro Tools before version 7.X. The Save Copy In command is great because it creates a duplicate copy of everything that’s included in the session, including audio files, fade files, plug-in settings, and movie/video files. All of the copied files are put together in one folder. Thus, if you have files spread out all over different drives, this is the best option for bringing all of those files together for archiving. You can also save your session to be compatible with an earlier version of Pro Tools, if so desired. Since this command will copy everything involved with your session, it may take some time to process.
Figure 3. The Save Copy In Window. Always check the Enforce Mac/PC compatibility box if archiving the session to anything earlier than Pro Tools version 7.X.
You can now store this tightly-packed folder on a hard drive, DVD or other storage medium. I recommend making a couple of copies of that folder and saving the copies on different storage mediums (e.g., one copy on a hard drive, one copy on a DVD).