Repetition is a fundamental feature of all music. The ability of the DAW to repeat material by copying and pasting is one way to achieve this. Quickly creating successive copies of a clip however, with no gaps, makes this even easier. In Pro Tools this is referred to as ‘looping’. For clarification, the copies created using this method are really ‘aliases’ or references to the original clip. They are not distinct clips in their own right, and cannot be edited independently of the original (or source) clip from which they stem.
Pro Tools offers several ways to loop. Let's look at some of the methods…
In the clip looping dialog you are offered 3 choices:
If the clip is audio then you will also be able to decide whether cross fades should be applied, and adjust settings accordingly.
The Clip Looping dialog
To remove the loop(s) select the looped clip (or clip group) and choose ‘Unloop’ from the Clip menu.
Click and hold on the Trim tool in the toolbar, then choose the Loop Trim tool from the pop-up that appears. Alternatively use the keyboard shortcut Command–2 (press it four times to cycle through the Trim tools). Positioning this tool in the upper half of a clip will allow you to create iterations of the source clip by dragging with the mouse. And if you hold down the Control key while you are doing this, it will force Pro Tools to create only whole clip iterations.
Choosing the Loop Trim tool
Once a clip has been looped you can edit the loop settings in a number of ways:
Right-clicking to choose ‘Loop...’ from the pop-up menu
You can also edit looped clips with the standard Trim or Loop Trim tools as follows:
Trimming the entire looped clip
Trimming the length of the loop iteration