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Playlist view, and automation lanes in PT8

I know we are a little late to the party… but here are two of the new features in Pro Tools 8, playlist view, and automation lanes which, are well worth checking out.

If you aren’t familiar with playlists, they function as a space for keeping an alternate version of the contents of your track (regions and automation), while maintaining all the other common elements of the track. You access them with the small arrow to the right of the track name in the edit window

.Click the arrow above the mute button to make a new playlist, or select one you've already made.

A common use for playlists is for keeping alternate takes of a section. Two things have been changed about playlists in version 8. For one, you can now view all of your playlists on a track at once. To do this, either just select “playlists” from your track view selector (below blocks), or command-ctrl click on the playlist button (the small arrow). You can, of course, still just toggle between playlists as you always could using the playlist arrow.

Expanded Playlist View This view allows us to easily manage and audition multiple playlists. The playlists are indented from the track so things don’t get confusing. Notice the arrow next to the solo button on the playlists, when you have a region selected on a playlist, click the arrow to copy that region to the main playlist of your track, or press Control+Option-V (Mac) or Alt+Start+V (PC).

In conjunction with this feature, the new region rating system also provides an easy way to keep track of which regions contain takes that you liked, or that your producer/director liked. You can rate regions 0-5 using the shortcut Command+Option+Control+[0-5] (Mac) and Alt+Start+Command+[0-5] (PC). To view these ratings, enable ‘rating’ in the view-regions menu, or create a shortcut for toggling rating view in your regions using this post.

picture-2You can also filter your playlists using the ratings you set, if you right-click or Control Click on the track name, and select filter playlists, you can only view playlists with a rating of 4 and above for example.

Another great new added functionality of playlists is the ability to have Pro Tools automatically generate new playlists when you are in loop record mode. To do this, make sure you have the preference “Automatically create new playlists while loop recording” checked.


The other new feature I want to talk about is the automation lanes. Other DAWs have had something similar to this for a long time, but it’s certainly a welcome addition to the new Pro Tools. On the bottom left of a track in the edit window, there is a new arrow. Click this arrow to open an automation lane. The first automation lane defaults to volume automation. This alone is a nice feature, not having to view the volume over the waveform view. If you click the view toggle you can switch this to any automation you’d like, as well as add as many different automation lanes as you want using the plus arrow on the bottom of the last automation lane visible on your track. Your automation lanes indent just like the playlist views.

Automation lanes in Pro Tools 8

Automation lanes in Pro Tools 8

4 Responses to “Playlist view, and automation lanes in PT8”

  1. Matt Verzola says:

    Late to the party or not, it’s great to see this info. I run 7.4 and I really want to upgrade to 8. I use playlists when using audiosuite plugins to keep old versions of the regions handy in case I need to go back a step, so it’s nice that they’ve made that feature more intuitive.

    And yes, volume automation and waveform view at the same time is a big step right there. But hitting the “-” key to switch between them wasn’t that big of a deal 😉

  2. Great tip. Makes me want to upgrade to PT 8 that much more!

  3. Jim Cuda says:

    Are the number keys when pressing control+option+command on the number pad? That's the only thing i was wondering.

  4. T Johnson says:

    Is it possible to have separate automation between the original track and the playlist?

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