A-Z Of Pro Tools - G Is For Grabber

01-10-2015 11:00 AM

Its unlikely that anyone who has used Pro Tools at all hasn’t come across the Grabber tool. Used for moving clips on the timeline and creating and manipulating automation breakpoints and midi, the Grabber tool comes in three variants, accessed by clicking the disclosure triangle underneath the Grabber in the toolbar or by repeatedly pressing F8. They are the Time Grabber, the Separation Grabber and the Object Grabber.
Time Grabber

The “normal” one, actually the one which gets used 99% of the time. The Time Grabber selects entire clips and allows you to move them. Selecting a second clip deselects the first clip unless shift is held, in which case a contiguous selection is made, extending the edit selection to the end of the second clip.
Separation Grabber

The Separation Grabber behaves like the Time Grabber unless a clip is partially selected, in this case using the Time Grabber would change the edit selection to to length of the entire clip. The Selection Grabber separates a new clip at the edit selection in the same way as Command+E (Control+E on PC) would. This edit selection can cover multiple clips and multiple tracks though both must be contiguous, For non-contiguous grabbed selections you need the Object Grabber.
Object Grabber

Only available in Slip or Grid mode, the Object Grabber allows non-contiguous, whole-clip selections to be made. Clicking on a first clip selects the clip in the same way as the Time Grabber but holding shift allows multiple, non-contiguous clips to be made across multiple, non-contiguous tracks independently of any active edit groups. Object selections are indicated by a yellow outline around the selected clips and significantly the empty spaces on the timeline, between the clips in the object selection are not selected (i.e. dark grey, to indicate they are part of an edit selection). Possibly more useful than the Object Grabber tool itself is the possibility to create object selections from edit selections and vice-versa.

Edit selection

Object Selection (with one clip deselected using shift-click)
Edit and Object Selections

To change an edit selection to an object selection simply double-click the Grabber tool in the toolbar, any clips falling entirely within the edit selection will become selected as objects. Any partially selected clips will be deselected. In itself this isn’t particularly useful but because the selection is now object rather than time based, it is possible to deselect individual clips from the object selection, far quicker than selecting around the clips you wish to exclude from a large selection. It is straightforward to turn an object selection to an edit selection by double-clicking the selector tool in the toolbar.