If you have learnt one thing about the way I like to work from reading my articles on this website, it is probably that I like to be able to navigate around my sessions as quickly as possible to ensure I make as much of the production time as possible.
In this article we will be looking at the ‘Universe View’ which was made available from Pro Tools version 8, this simple but very useful window provides a view of your entire session regardless of where you are currently looking within the edit window.
I like to think of it as a third window alongside my edit and mix windows and it is certainly an essential tool when I’m working on large sessions, particularly when my production time is slim.
Without further ado, let’s take a close look at it’s capabilities and how you can use it yourself within your sessions.
A Window Of Opportunities
The universe window, located below the transport bar on the edit window, shows block representations of audio, MIDI, and video clips. Clips are displayed of active tracks and inactive tracks but not on tracks that are hidden.
The colours of the bars of the universe window will match those of the tracks in the edit window, and will also mirror the track order as well, another incentive to always make sure your tracks are organised before you start work.
As for ‘clip free’ tracks such as auxiliary inputs, master faders, and VCA’s, these will simply consist of a blank space within the universe view.
So now we know what it is and how it can be beneficial to our productions, let’s take a look into how we can manipulate it.
First things first, you can show or hide the universe window by either:
Using the menu View > Other Displays > Universe.
Double Clicking the divider above the main timebase ruler.
Clicking the universe show/hide icon within the edit window.
Or by selecting it from the pop-up menu within the edit window.
The square located within the universe window is simply mirroring which section of the overall session you are looking at within the edit window.
As you scroll around and change your zoom settings you will notice that this box will adjust to match, the best thing is that this also works the other way around which means that should you quickly want to jump to the other side of your session you can click on the area within the universe window and the edit window view will change, much easier then wasting time scrolling around trying to find the specific point you need.
When you click within the universe window to change your edit view, your zoom settings will remain as they were, in other words, only the scrolling position is changed until you adjust the zoom settings yourself.
To resize the universe window simply click at the bottom of the universe window, just above the timebase rulers, you should then notice the cursor changes allowing you to resize, dragging the cursor up will decrease the height of the universe view and dragging down will increase the height of the universe view.
You may occasionally find that not all of the tracks within your session can fit within the universe view, needless to say that this has been kept in thought during the design and you can very simply scroll to the other tracks within your session by using the arrows to the right of the universe window as shown below.
We hope that you have found this tutorial useful and that we may perhaps have opened your eyes to more ways of navigating around your session with ease.
If you have a particular way in which you use the universe window then please do let us know below or say hi on Twitter.