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Undipped at Full Level. What does this mean to you?
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Dodgedis
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24th June 2011
Old 24th June 2011
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Undipped at Full Level. What does this mean to you?

Just as the title says - Undipped at Full Level. What does this mean to you.

Every now and then when delivering this spec I come across an international house that tells me I am wrong in how I understood the spec. This could very well be true. The Undipped part seems to be a no-brainer but what about the "at full level" part? Please give your thoughts on the spec below.

Undipped Stereo m&e at full level.

Thanks guys
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24th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodgedis View Post
Just as the title says - Undipped at Full Level. What does this mean to you.

Every now and then when delivering this spec I come across an international house that tells me I am wrong in how I understood the spec. This could very well be true. The Undipped part seems to be a no-brainer but what about the "at full level" part? Please give your thoughts on the spec below.

Undipped Stereo m&e at full level.

Thanks guys
What the level would be if the M+E or whatever was the entire soundtrack without any other elements.

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24th June 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodgedis View Post
Just as the title says - Undipped at Full Level. What does this mean to you.

Every now and then when delivering this spec I come across an international house that tells me I am wrong in how I understood the spec. This could very well be true. The Undipped part seems to be a no-brainer but what about the "at full level" part? Please give your thoughts on the spec below.

Undipped Stereo m&e at full level.

Thanks guys

What's an international house? a cd pressing plant?

anyway, don't quote me but it could mean peak at full scale, or normalized to 0db (digitally).

The standard for audio deliver in TV varies from CD, so normally to be safe, I deliver mixes at -10 dbFS.

To sure sure, u could try emailing them for clarification?

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24th June 2011
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I agree with both of you. When they say full level they might actually be better off saying full scale. As far as emailing them, I already know what I need to do to please them. I'm just curious as to what you guys think. Keep the thought coming I'd like to see how many of us are on the same train of thought.
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I would read that full level is redundantly saying undipped, or at the same level as the rest.

What would please them??
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Originally Posted by cananball View Post
I would read that full level is redundantly saying undipped, or at the same level as the rest.

What would please them??
I'm going to remove the dips that are currently in the music and fx mix for the interviews. They also want the m&e stem to be full level so I'm going to raise it overall to a reasonable level where it'll be loud enough to give the international department the freedom it needs to make their re-mixing adjustments (which is what they want).
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"undipped and at full level"

Full MDE mix at 0db sent on a pre-fader send from the MDE aux with no dipping for VO?

Thats what I would assume , but I would ask the question to double check for the levels...
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I'd think the 'full level' remark comes from getting handed M&E tracks that are considerably less hot than the full mix version. This is probably due to a routing which assembles the M&E from stem sends, without going through the masterbus processing, which probably includes a brickwall limiter adding a few dB's to the mix level.

I'd say they want an M&E that's an exact copy of the full mix, except in the places where for example the narrative would get replaced. There they want an undipped background, so they won't have to counter-fade if the new narrative isn't exactly the same length.
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I'd say, they want the M&E delivered at exactly the same level as the full mix, minus any dips. Anything else would not make sense.
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I'd be supplying them what I put on ch 3 & 4 of the tape.

i.e pre fader send from my ME dipper aux, through to my ch3/4 master out which is loaded with the same comp settings as my 1/2 out
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24th June 2011
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The last three of you make total sense and your thinking is exactly what the spec written means IMO. Mix stems are no longer mix stems if they do not match my final mix. Unfortunately, in this case they want what they want and that's exactly what I'm going to give them. As I said earlier, in this instince they want an m&e that is more of a limited full scale mix. After all of this is said and done I'm considering speaking to them and getting them to change the spec so that it is clear and this debate couldn't exist. Any suggestions?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodgedis View Post
The last three of you make total sense and your thinking is exactly what the spec written means IMO. Mix stems are no longer mix stems if they do not match my final mix. Unfortunately, in this case they want what they want and that's exactly what I'm going to give them. As I said earlier, in this instince they want an m&e that is more of a limited full scale mix. After all of this is said and done I'm considering speaking to them and getting them to change the spec so that it is clear and this debate couldn't exist. Any suggestions?
Hang on, are you saying they want undipped, but no master limiting/compression?
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No. They still want it compressed and limited. They just want a louder version than what it was mixed at.
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Originally Posted by Dodgedis View Post
No. They still want it compressed and limited. They just want a louder version than what it was mixed at.
that's the weirdest request I've ever heard, I'm assuming you're talking mixed to 0! Have you asked them why they want it like that out of interest?
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Originally Posted by FullFrequency View Post
that's the weirdest request I've ever heard, I'm assuming you're talking mixed to 0! Have you asked them why they want it like that out of interest?
As I'm sure you and many others find out during their careers in audio, what clients say they want and the meaning behind what they say are sometimes two different things.

I have talked to them. At one point they said" our mixer wants to mix the music louder to match the int'l dialog". I then ask "why doesn't he just mix the int'l dialog lower?" keep in mind that their specs require a dialnorm of -23 so both of our dialogs should be at the same level.
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As I'm sure you and many others find out during their careers in audio, what clients say they want and the meaning behind what they say are sometimes two different things.

I have talked to them. At one point they said" our mixer wants to mix the music louder to match the int'l dialog". I then ask "why doesn't he just mix the int'l dialog lower?" keep in mind that their specs require a dialnorm of -23 so both of our dialogs should be at the same level.
Oh dear, sounds painful! Reminds me of the time I had a delivery spec that read... must peak at 6ppm and -10dbfs. I was like ok so you want me to hard limit this then? They said, no we want it to sound good, and then at that point I had to explain transients, integration times etc, re-write their spec for them so that it would not sound compressed to hell and mix the spot..... all in 2 hrs Fun times.....
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In my experience the request for "full level" does mean "the level it would be at without dips for narration or dialog," i.e. when played back at unity gain it will match the level of the full mix (in the sections that were not dipped to begin with).

The difficulty is that the FX and the music do not necessarily both get dipped to the same degree, or at precisely the same time, when weaving around DIA or VO. And FX in particular do not necessarily get dipped as a global group like music does; some elements may remain static while others ride up and down. So it's pretty hard to create a single "undipped full level M&E" that isn't compromised in some way. I think it would make much more sense for a delivery spec to request discrete undipped music and FX splits....I usually end up including extra splits just to cover my ass.
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Originally Posted by sailor View Post

The difficulty is that the FX and the music do not necessarily both get dipped to the same degree, or at precisely the same time, when weaving around DIA or VO. And FX in particular do not necessarily get dipped as a global group like music does; some elements may remain static while others ride up and down.
Exactly. This is the part that riles me about this spec, as if we're a bunch of robots moving one fader up and down......it's a MIX dammit!

Rant over

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Think of it in terms of the spirit in which it's intended, which is to make the next mixer's job easier. The exact level doesn't matter, as long as it's not extreme either way.
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Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Think of it in terms of the spirit in which it's intended, which is to make the next mixer's job easier. The exact level doesn't matter, as long as it's not extreme either way.
Isn't that the point of supplying undipped split stems though? I don't know about anyone else, but of the small amount of reversioning work I've done, I've never used an ME, only stems.

Maybe I'm spoilt!

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Originally Posted by FullFrequency View Post
Isn't that the point of supplying undipped split stems though? I don't know about anyone else, but of the small amount of reversioning work I've done, I've never used an ME, only stems.

Maybe I'm spoilt!

FF
Good point about M&E vs. stems. On the other hand, for the new mix you'll only need two fingers.
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Brent, The biggest issue with this m&e mix is that it (the music) was mixed very low. That's the way it was intended. The producers wanted it that way. We have tried to explain this to them. In the end I'm going to do what makes them happy I'm sure but the inconsistency of this spec drives me up the wall. There has to be a better way to write it so that there can be no disagreement between the production house and the layperson at the network or where ever its delivered to. Although we all In this forum have generally been of the same thought there has been the occasional "but check and make sure" and that shouldn't be. It should be clear to us, same as when someone says give me a dialog stem. As of right now if you say "at full level", there is that room for interpretation.

Sailor, yours is the thinking I went with this time around. It's the thinking that I and many others agree with but man, you tell this to these network people I'm working with and they'll have you thinking you're crazy.

What it ultimately comes down to is money. They want us to do a full season of corrections for free on the premise that we are wrong.
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Brent, The biggest issue with this m&e mix is that it (the music) was mixed very low. That's the way it was intended. The producers wanted it that way. We have tried to explain this to them. In the end I'm going to do what makes them happy I'm sure but the inconsistency of this spec drives me up the wall. There has to be a better way to write it so that there can be no disagreement between the production house and the layperson at the network or where ever its delivered to. Although we all In this forum have generally been of the same thought there has been the occasional "but check and make sure" and that shouldn't be. It should be clear to us, same as when someone says give me a dialog stem. As of right now if you say "at full level", there is that room for interpretation.

Sailor, yours is the thinking I went with this time around. It's the thinking that I and many others agree with but man, you tell this to these network people I'm working with and they'll have you thinking you're crazy.

What it ultimately comes down to is money. They want us to do a full season of corrections for free on the premise that we are wrong.
In terms of level for music ME, it should remain flat or move slightly upwards after a previous piece of sync dialogue IMO. If it does either of the two, I would (and have done in the past) speak to the tech guy who QCs deliverables and tell him that's all he's getting. They will accept it if you say it in a nice way, and explain the reasons why it has to be like that. If they wont supply an actual -*dbfs level or clearer spec then they can't really say anything to the contrary. Preserving the producers mix internationally is what'll get you more work, not some international distribution house who have nothing to do with the creation of the show...

All very much my opinion only....

FF
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It's official. Undipped M&E at full level means mainly the music should be at or as close to the originally recorded peak when delivered as a stem. But it still needs to be delivered at -10 dbfs. Straight from the top.
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This spring I was on show 7 of a 10 part series when I got a note saying that they needed the music stem undipped for narration and dialogue, even though the spec sheet said it was to be delivered "undipped for narration", and nothing about undipped for dialogue. I grumbled a little and then re-output the seven shows and changed my workflow for the last three.

Several weeks after the series was done I got an email saying that the music stem I had delivered on the last episodes were dipped. I couldn't imagine how this could be the case, but the QC person sent along timecodes where music was dipped, so I went back into the sessions to check. As it turns out, where the QC person had written something like: "music dips at 1:06:30:00 and comes back full at 1:06:42:00" turned out to be the end of one piece of music and then a pause before the next music cue started!

So really, there is no way to do it right. The cards are stacked against us. Even if we follow the spec to the letter, it's likely to be misinterpreted somewhere down the line.

-Richard
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Just do the best you can to hit the spec with the tracks and time you have. If they don't like it you'll hear from them. Don't waste your time with QC psychology, just deal with whatever problems they actually hear or think they hear. The great hallucination of all this undipped stem crap is that somehow no one will have to remix shows that use them, that somehow it will all automatically work, sound as good as the original finessed mix and hit spec. Let them dream....and leave the project up on your system until either you hear it passed or a good length of time goes by.....

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26th June 2011
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Without a doubt, every time I see the undipped spec I cringe. First thing that pops into my head is "how are they going to interpret it this time"?
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It happened to me with Animal Planet International 10 years ago, never did get an adequate explanation. On top of it all of my communications were coming through the production video people who didn't have a clue either. It was very frustrating! Having done a ton of translation videos it's always been my experience to translate the line to fit the video which is usually a different length from language to language so you translate to fit the hole. Therefore when you replace the dialog it locks right up with the M&E mix moves and it's not necessary to have an undipped version. It's too bad they don't get that it would be easier for sure.
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It happened to me with Animal Planet International 10 years ago, never did get an adequate explanation. On top of it all of my communications were coming through the production video people who didn't have a clue either. It was very frustrating! Having done a ton of translation videos it's always been my experience to translate the line to fit the video which is usually a different length from language to language so you translate to fit the hole. Therefore when you replace the dialog it locks right up with the M&E mix moves and it's not necessary to have an undipped version. It's too bad they don't get that it would be easier for sure.

Oh geez, you should have heard the explanation I got. It was double-talk at it's finest. It seems like every five years this spec is re-interpreted.
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Quote:
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Oh geez, you should have heard the explanation I got. It was double-talk at it's finest. It seems like every five years this spec is re-interpreted.
I feel for you, it's not a great place to be!!!!! This is one where you bite your tougue and it hurts for a while! Good luck with it!
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