Standard mixing levels for movie theater, DVD, broadcast TV, commercials etc
#91
23rd February 2012
Old 23rd February 2012
  #91
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Hi, thought this might be of interest... attended the sold-out joint SMPTE/AES/SBE/IEEE BTS meeting at 30 Rock on Tuesday 2/21/12 where the current state of ATSC A/85 and the CALM Act were discussed. This was a continuation of sorts of the joint meeting held around the same time last year.

Speakers were:

Tim Carroll, President, Linear Acoustic
Jackson Wiegman, Product Manager, Evertz Microsystems Ltd.
Ken Hunold, Broadcast Applications Engineer, Dolby Laboratories
Lon Neumann, Senior Technical Consultant, THX
Jim Starzynski, Director, Advanced Engineering & Principal Audio Engineer, NBC Universal

NBCU Commercial Guidelines(good detailed delivery specs)

ATSC A/85(updated to a_85-2011a with Annexes J and K)
#92
16th March 2012
Old 16th March 2012
  #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danijel View Post
Hi, here's the simplest, yet pretty accurate method to get you in the ball-park: get the ATSC speech sample, play it back on your system, adjust the listening level so that you feel comfortable while listening. Now, don't touch the volume pot until you finish mixing (and this is a very firm rule!). Adjust the overall volume of your mix according to this new listening level, and continue mixing, all the while NEVER touching the level pot (I'm repeating this because you come from the music side - you'll have to tape down your volume pot, so you don't move it accidentally).
Now, if you want to make a one-size-fits-all mix, put a -10dBFS limiter on the master and mix through it (don't limit AFTER the mix is done, there is no music-like mastering in sound-for-picture). If you're not satisfied with the headroom you have, and you don't need to deliver for TV (only for the DVD and small festivals), you can limit at -2dBFS or so.
Remember, this calibration will get you in the broadcast & multimedia one-size-fits-all +/- 3dB ball-park. For cinema mix preparing/editing, or more accurate TV-style calibration, look at other methods.
Most importantly, have fun

Quick question for you danijel...

If your calibrating your system to a -20dfs= 0vu= 85db set up wouldn't putting a limiter on the stereo bus set to an out ceiling of -10dbfs totally screw up your monitoring level calibration?? You would have to then recalibrate by turning up your monitors so that the pink noise was back at the standard 85db level.. am I right or am I totally missing something?? Sorry for the NuB question!! Thanks
danijel
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#93
17th March 2012
Old 17th March 2012
  #93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elliott Lopes View Post
Quick question for you danijel...

If your calibrating your system to a -20dfs= 0vu= 85db set up wouldn't putting a limiter on the stereo bus set to an out ceiling of -10dbfs totally screw up your monitoring level calibration?? You would have to then recalibrate by turning up your monitors so that the pink noise was back at the standard 85db level.. am I right or am I totally missing something?? Sorry for the NuB question!! Thanks
No, the question is totally sensible! I forgot to mention that one should set the limiter so it doesn't alter the levels of audio that is below -10dBFS. E.g. if you use a limiter with the Waves L2 style controls, set both the threshold and output level to -10dBFS. Or, some limiters have input and output level controls, in which case the output level would be -10dBFS, while the input level would be +10dB. Hope it makes sense!
#94
22nd March 2012
Old 22nd March 2012
  #94
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Thanks, danijel for the reply!! This is what I figured but just wanted to have some re-assurance. You rock!!
danijel
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#95
22nd March 2012
Old 22nd March 2012
  #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elliott Lopes View Post
Thanks, danijel for the reply!! This is what I figured but just wanted to have some re-assurance. You rock!!
Thanks - believe it or not, while I was reading your reply (where you say that I "rock"), I was listening to Simon & Garfunkel's "I Am a Rock" hahaha

#96
20th April 2012
Old 20th April 2012
  #96
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Sorry to re-ask the same question, but because of my enlish, I have to be sure to understand...
Quote:
Originally Posted by danijel View Post
No, the question is totally sensible! I forgot to mention that one should set the limiter so it doesn't alter the levels of audio that is below -10dBFS. E.g. if you use a limiter with the Waves L2 style controls, set both the threshold and output level to -10dBFS. Or, some limiters have input and output level controls, in which case the output level would be -10dBFS, while the input level would be +10dB. Hope it makes sense!
Does it means that we have to calibrate each speaker while the limiter is enclenched ?
danijel
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#97
20th April 2012
Old 20th April 2012
  #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YannL View Post
Sorry to re-ask the same question, but because of my enlish, I have to be sure to understand...

Does it means that we have to calibrate each speaker while the limiter is enclenched ?
No, the speakers should be calibrated without limiter, and then the limiter should be set so that it doesn't change the levels of samples that are below -10dBFS. It should only change the samples that go above that.
#98
20th April 2012
Old 20th April 2012
  #98
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You reassure me!
And indeed, you rock!
danijel
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#99
25th April 2012
Old 25th April 2012
  #99
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User pietro79, I can't reply to your PM - you've set your account so that you can't be reached. Do you want me to reply here (since the question is about loudness)?
#100
4th June 2012
Old 4th June 2012
  #100
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Wow Danijel ! Such a fantastically informing & educating thread ! Thanks ! Thanks ! Thanks !

Will ask you if I have any questions ! You Rock man !
#101
9th July 2012
Old 9th July 2012
  #101
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I'm trying to calibrate my small mix studio to translate as good as possible to a dub stage or a theater. I have some problems and thoughts that I have't found the solution to yet.
My equipment is a Bluesky system with the BMC.

1. Is all dub stages and theatres calibrated so the surround channels outputs 3dB lower than the fronts at the same reference level? Why calibrate the surround channels lower at all?
2. I assume the surround channels mostly are not full range in frequency, but are they bass managed to the subwoofer? In other words, should I activate “sur use sub” on my BMC?
3. Is the X-curve something I would consider?
4. Is the LFE channel always calibrated 10dB louder than the other channels in theaters?
5. Does the different reference levels (Europe -18dBFS = 0dBu, USA -20dBFS=4dBu) also apply to mixing fort theatre or just for TV? In the first case, would a movie mixed with -18dB reference levels play back louder in theaters in USA
6. And finally, when mixing a movie for theatre you often also used to make a separate mix for DVD release that is less bright (because of the X-curve in theaters) and with less dynamic. And then you also have the DRC. But now with Blueray and DTS-HD becoming more usual than Dolby encoded sound, you get lossless quality and it’s ”identical to the studio master”. How does this translate to a home theater? Some movies are going to be very bright and extremely loud, with no DRC. Or am I wrong? For example, I listened to the movie “Knowing” through my Pro Tools system. When the plane crash the meters read 0dBFS for quite some time. Isn’t most home theater systems going to blow playing that load signal? Any thoughts in this subject?
#102
9th July 2012
Old 9th July 2012
  #102
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Music for Theatre Ads

Some great info here! Sorry if I missed something but I'm trying to figure out how loud my mix should be for US Theaters. Its straight music, no VO for a 30 second ad.

How loud can I push it and when bouncing in ProTools where should my meters be?

Thanks in advance
danijel
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#103
16th July 2012
Old 16th July 2012
  #103
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Hi guys. Sorry, I'm away from home, and will be so for the following month or so. Start new threads with your questions please.
#104
1st August 2012
Old 1st August 2012
  #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danijel View Post
Thanks guys! I'm thinking about adding a short intro about general relation between dialog level and headroom in different delivery formats. That would be best if accompanied by a graph.

Also, if anyone can give an intro on levels in radio broadcast, that would be cool to include, too.
I work at a weekly story telling radio program that incorporates music / fx and I send out my mix to near 200 stations.
I mix with vocal peaks at -3dB and music play at -4dB and it's allllll gooood with the stations. No complaints. Here's the PRSS Content Depot guidelines
Overall, radio standards are LOW. Before I got hired on the guys at the studio use to squash the SH** out of the vocals and overall mix, i guess they never got complaints... Less is more as there is usually a deal of processing done at the station to handle dynamics and peaks.
My mix also goes out as a podcast, I mix with that in mind and avoid creating 2 different mixes. I mix to sound purdy, maintain reasonably consistent dynamics, mild compression and limiting on the vocals.

Tips
Check your mono mix.
Make sure your L and R levels are reasonably proportionate to eachother.
Mind your sibilance or the ess' will turn to eff's at the station.
Watch your 200-300Hz levels as well as freq's under 100Hz.
Listen for any limiting distortion you may introduce, it'll be highlighted from the stations processing before they broadcast.

there's a bunch of guidelines out there. I wouldn't stress it too much, just make a mix that sounds nice, normal to -3dB and crack urself a brewski . Also i like this info
danijel
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#105
6th August 2012
Old 6th August 2012
  #105
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Good info, thanks, I'll add the links back to the OP when I sit to a regular computer....
#106
26th June 2013
Old 26th June 2013
  #106
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so I decided to recalibrate my room for tv and short film work. I only have a stereo pair, no 5.1.
Having a mid sized room, 7x5x2.7 m ,I decided to calibrate my top volume at 82 per speaker. Distance to speakers is 2m

I then find my 77db spot (monitor control at -5)

All sensible so far, but when I play back the ATSC speech sample it is definetely too loud to be mixing with. A "sensible" pot position is -10.

Thats quite a difference, so I am wondering what I am misunderstanding.
danijel
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#107
26th June 2013
Old 26th June 2013
  #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fasma View Post
I then find my 77db spot (monitor control at -5)

All sensible so far, but when I play back the ATSC speech sample it is definetely too loud to be mixing with. A "sensible" pot position is -10.

Thats quite a difference, so I am wondering what I am misunderstanding.
Hm, yes, that seems quite off. For me, the ATSC speech sample works at 78 (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...JsnZuDiNw/edit).
When I moved into a new studio two months ago, and I had bass traps but no other treatment, and the room was very reflective at mid and high frequencies and unpleasant to listen to, I had to drop the monitoring several dBs lower than usual...
If you re-check and re-do every step of the calibration, and you still get the same results, I'd say that you should use whatever feels right, even if it's 72dB SPL.
#108
27th June 2013
Old 27th June 2013
  #108
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ok, will do. thanks for the tip
#109
4th July 2013
Old 4th July 2013
  #109
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Question

Hi Guys,

Sorry for bringing up this old post.
I was playing back the speech sample to recalibrate my listening environment.

It sounds great. However, I noticed that the track peaks at -1.8dBFS.

If I want to find out how it sounds like in my mix room - for TV/Broadcast, 1kHz @ -20dBFS, max peak @ -10dBFS, should I bring it down to peak at -10dBFS before recalibrating my mix room?
danijel
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#110
4th July 2013
Old 4th July 2013
  #110
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No, don't bring it down to -10dBFS peak. This sample will help you calibrate your room to mix at -24dB LKFS only if you don't touch it. It doesn't matter if you have to work to -10dBFS peak or not.
#111
10th October 2013
Old 10th October 2013
  #111
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My dear friend, You said it all
danijel
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#112
13th October 2013
Old 13th October 2013
  #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vladimir Cuk View Post
My dear friend, You said it all
Hey Vlada
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