How do I make my TV Comercial appear louder?
Hi, Im a junior mixer at a company that mixes Trailers and TV Spots for Feature Films.
Im fairly confident with the quality of my stereo TV mixes. However, I sometimes find that my they are not quite as loud as the other comercials when watching them on tv.
Are there any tips on mastering or eq-ing certain frequencies to make the mix "appear louder" with out upsetting the broadcasters meters?
Or are there any tips in the actual mixing stage that can help this?
Or would It help If my studio bought the Dolby perceived Loudness meter?
Or ANY other helpfull ideas would be greatly appreciated!
I'm being a little "tongue through cheek" here. I have mixed a few commercials, and mixed them with actual dynamics! Most of the time the clients want them removed. Everything is slammed right up into the limiter. Thats how they want it. Fatiguing to the ear, and loud. Its not a matter of peak levels, its average levels. Some multi band compression to raise the low end will help make it feel big, but watch the muddiness.
If you are mixing trailers, you should have an LM100. It will not help to make your mixes louder. As a matter of fact the MPAA adopted the Leq(m) standard to make trailer levels lower and promote dynamic range.
yeah, there are no dynamics in commercials. But sometimes its more than that. One client that we have, their signature music is this light airy piece. no matter what I did, if a loud car commercial came on afterwards, it wouldn't be as loud. So sometimes it just matters on what you have to work with.
Try recording a commercial break that features some of the spots you are referring to (simple DVD recorder will do the trick) and bringing it into the studio. Put your mix up against the others and see where it sits.
From there it will be up to you to decide whether you want a dynamic mix or one that competes volume wise with the others. I hate to say it, but most clients are only going to hear that their commercial is not as loud as the others (same problem that's been going on in music production for years).
The Dolby kit is shite! The LM100 was designed for guys who QC audio mixes and cannot tell if a mix sounds good simply by using their ears. It was not designed for mixers and should be avoided unless a client forces you to use it (check my recent thread on the LM100 to see how others feel about it!).
When I worked in commercial post, our motto was "At (name here), we don't *do* dynamic range." So yeah, axe the dynamics and make it as loud as possible. Then squash it on the master bus.
I never slam the mix right up to -10
well, you should if you want it to sound louder. sometimes when i want the commercial to be as loud as the rest i mix up everything from -10 to -6 and then put the L2 to -10. but as said earlier its not just about the peaks...use a VU meter and see what your average loudness is.
also, i find the TC 6000 to be a great multiband compressor for commercials. when i had access to that i would use that over any plugin. the reverbs in it are awesome too.
that being said why not start a trend of more dynamic commercials and encourage or clients to do so. they would probably stand out more and not cause the viewer to change channels or mute the TV.
i have read by people with more experience than me
that slamming the 2mix ends up torturing the broadcast
limiters (maybe only in the case of radio?) and therefore
makes a highly limited spot sound quieter as
i did a test with a spot that i mixed, and then had
to revise due to new VO. when i re-mixed the
spot, i tried a bit less overall limiting and it did
actually seem to be a bit louder on-air. of course,
one never knows what happened to either version
of my mix after it left my hands...but i think i am
a believer of not over-crushing mixes.
i think there is something to compressing individual
elements to bring up the average level as opposed
to just cramming the L2 or whatever as a last step.
Georgia? please chime in on this...i'd love to
hear what you think.
the problem you have is not so simple to solve. There is not a mastering trick, this or other band, compressor or limiter, or whatever...
just imagine, that instead of a Tv show, which is mixed for a specific channel which give you some tech specs, commercials and trailers are mixed for many channels, which could have differents tech specs; what is more, levels and eqs are often "touched" by broadcast mixers, who prepare commercial reels... so this means, that your spot could sound totally different in every tv channel and there is also broadcast processor with its own settings next to this "human factor". Sometimes your mix migth be louder than others, sometimes other spots/trailers could be louder.
The only solution is a hard work and listening for results when they are being aired. And, as previously written, record stuff from air and comparing it in the studio; understanding how the mix could sound when leaving the studio, and how it actually sounds after being aired on different channels.
I would strongly recommend to do some assistance job with an experienced mixer - this way you understand what kind of sound is expected and how to solve the problems. Generally speaking it is a compatibility problem and EVERY MIXER, no matter what he/she does, meets it every day...
Thanks alot for all your responses.....
Thats really interesting about slamming the limiter as this is what I started doing!
However my mixes still sounded slightly lower than most others.
I then came to the conclusion that perhaps.....
a) this was creating a solid flat waveform and making my mix sound flat
b) although the levels were legally ok on my ppms, perhaps the mix was upsetting some other type of broadcast meter further down the line. Thus bieng pulled down by the broadcaster.
I notice when I do slam the limiter that although its legal on my ppms it sometimes shoots wayover -10 on the Digibetas levels. I know theyre not the most reliable but it still concerned me slightly.
If it does go over -10 on the Digibetas levels does that mean that the broadcaster will pull it down?
Also Does anyone know what meters are mainly used as standard for uk broadcasters thses days? Some mentioned "chromotex" or "chromatech" does that mean anything to anyone?
Thanks again for all your help!
Something's off in either your rig's calibration or your limiter settings if you're getting different readings on the meters.
[/quote] If it does go over -10 on the Digibetas levels does that mean that the broadcaster will pull it down?[/quote]
if the network sets its limit to -10, then yes your mix will be "pulled down", or more like limited at -10.
are you layng back digitally into the digibeta? you should if you can. that way you know what precise levels you are putting on the tape.
Thanks for everyones help....
Yeah I always lay back via the AES outputs.
Thanks for the other info too!
I don't think anyone else has mentioned this - I generally roll off the extreme low end (everything below 45 Hz or so) with a sharp filter. Leaves a lot more room to make the audible stuff loud; rumbles can eat up your headroom in a hurry.
Ok guys, here is my 2 cents....I have been mixing spots for 32 years and one trend that I see is what is the correct level to put on tape?? The fact is that the broadcast chain has some very specific audio restrictions and one of those is overall level not peak level. I have noticed a trend these days that mixers are using ppm meters and not vu meters for mixing levels to the tape. The problem is, is that -18 =0vu and if your average level is @ -10 you are way over 0! When that level hits the broadcast chain the audio will be slammed down by the broadcast compressors and your spot will sound quieter and less than the others in the pod.
If I was you I would get a set of vu meters (old school analogue style) and slap them across your 2 buss. Then mix your spots to 0 average on those. Add some super fast peak compression to individual elements, some mild slow compression to others and then an overall stereo compression on the whole mix. I like the amek 9098 analoge compressor or the ssl stereo compressor works nicely as well. Set it up with tones to that you have the correct amount of compression for every db over threshold, add a +10 db peak limit and a slow release---2 to 3 seconds. And pay attention to your levels.
Learn what works, listen and train your ears. And remember that compression wont solve a bad mix.
Samsonite, It looks like your on your way to figuring this out. Trial and error. Trying different things. Unfortunately there is no magic signal chain. Basically it comes down to learning to use the tools you have and ear training. I'm with Kuba on this.
For me I try to use mild compression on Individual tracks to get things "happening". The compressor and or limiter on the 2 bus is more about catching odd peaks and tone shaping.
As audiobob10 said, VU meters can help. I also like to use the Mytek DDD-603, showing peak and VU...to be honest I cant mix without it.
To add one more thing: if you haven't already established your way on mixing (I assume that indeed you have not), I would try to learn from other mixers: on almost every DVD you can find trailers and tv spots: listen the way they are mixed and try to get close to it; you can also download high quality trailers from the internet - play them in the studio and try to analyze those mixes. But again: if you are not the only mixer in the company, why not to sit with more experienced mixer for a couple of days...
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