Login / Register
 
Mixing For CALM Act
New Reply
Subscribe
Sbmusicandpost
Thread Starter
#1
14th November 2012
Old 14th November 2012
  #1
Gear Head
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Location: NY, NY
Posts: 51

Thread Starter
Sbmusicandpost is offline
Mixing For CALM Act

How are you guys mixing for the impending CALM act broadcasters are being obligated to abide by?

How and what are you guys metering your mixes with and how do they sound on air?

I understand its the broadcasters responsibility to adjust the mixes accordingly but I'm wondering if quality control starts at the media creation phase.

thoughts? tips? techniques?

(I have plenty of experience with the LM100 / Dolby Media Meter for dial norm for discovery / PBS specs)
#2
15th November 2012
Old 15th November 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2002
Location: LA, USA
Posts: 8,682
My Recordings/Credits

Henchman is offline
I have always tried to mix to spec. And I still do. I always am checking with the layback reason to make sure I am in spec, as I don't want to hear a drastically different mix on air vs studio.
#3
15th November 2012
Old 15th November 2012
  #3
Gear Head
 
Joined: Nov 2010

Nate Hoffman is offline
Our local NBC affiliate does a good job of keeping everything in spec. I'm pretty sure I can hear a limiter kick in at the very beginning of spots that were mixed too loud. The ads I mix at -24 to -23 LKFS and -10 DBFS peak (stereo) sound just like they did in studio and fit very well with everything around them. I used to mix with a fairly aggressive compressor on the mix bus, but now I just manage the dynamics of the dialogue with a chain of a few plugins that each add a little gain and compression. Most music is already dynamically compressed and doesn't need to be squashed more! Digital broadcasting is a big step forward in quality in my opinion. if I mix to spec, my mixes are literally left alone in the broadcast chain. I measure my mixes with Waves WLM.
#4
15th November 2012
Old 15th November 2012
  #4
Gear addict
 
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 401

soundfx is offline
Exactly what Nate said. I use WLM to check mixes to -24, -23 and peak at -10dB. Mixes sound great on air and its kind of refreshing (being in the promo/interstitial side), not to have to try and compete so much for loudness attention. And it certainly has made the viewing experience more enjoyable not to have to run for the volume button when a damn Tide commercial comes on. However, I occasionally have mixes from LA and NY sent to me to check levels before broadcast, and I'm wondering what planet these guys are on. Some mixes are almost 10dB over spec. They wouldn't have passed even in the past. I guess not everyone has gotten the memo. That said, it IS a little more of a pain to get things exactly in spec, but I'll take that hassle over the Wild West that TV mixing used to be.
#5
17th December 2012
Old 17th December 2012
  #5
Gear addict
 
glitchfactor's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2008
Location: St. Louis, MO

glitchfactor is offline
Is there an actual spec sheet anywhere? I've been doing a lot of research on this, and everyone is speculating on what it should be, but no definitive answers.

-Justin
__________________
____________________________________________
Audio Blog: Recording Studio Life
Studio: SmithLee Productions
#6
18th December 2012
Old 18th December 2012
  #6
Gear maniac
 
conleec's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Los Angeles

conleec is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Hoffman View Post
...The ads I mix at -24 to -23 LKFS and -10 DBFS peak (stereo) sound just like they did in studio and fit very well with everything around them...[snip] I measure my mixes with Waves WLM.
Can you please explain this to me in layman's terms. I get the -24 or -23 LKFS reading in Waves WLM, but the -10 DBFS peak is the specs that's got me scratching my head.

Are they wanting absolutely NOTHING to peak above -10 DBFS, as in a hard limiter? What's the point of that, you think? It's like somebody's made it their mission in life to squash all dynamic range from television programming now and forever.

Chris
__________________
------------------
Chris Conlee
Editor / Director
Demo Reel
#7
18th December 2012
Old 18th December 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 
hociman's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2005
Location: NJ
Posts: 507

Send a message via AIM to hociman Send a message via Yahoo to hociman Send a message via Skype™ to hociman
hociman is offline
Lightbulb A/85

Quote:
Originally Posted by glitchfactor View Post
Is there an actual spec sheet anywhere?
Go to atsc.org and download a copy of A/85. The essence of what they write is that in the absence of a spec sheet, mix to -24dB LKFS.
Quote:
Originally Posted by glitchfactor View Post
I've been doing a lot of research on this, and everyone is speculating on what it should be, but no definitive answers.
Unless you are mixing something that will only air on a single network or family of networks, having spec sheets won't do you much good. I don't know anyone who delivered different versions of a mix for ABC, CBS, and NBC back then. I don't expect anyone to do that now. That basically means A/85 is your spec sheet.
__________________
-Jonathan S. Abrams, CEA, CEV, CBNT
Apple Certified - Technical Coordinator (v10.5), Support Professional (v10.6 through v10.8)
Vice-Chair, NY Section, AES
#8
18th December 2012
Old 18th December 2012
  #8
Gear maniac
 
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 275

Jay Rose is offline
Quote:
Can you please explain this to me in layman's terms. I get the -24 or -23 LKFS reading in Waves WLM, but the -10 DBFS peak is the specs that's got me scratching my head.
It's a holdover from when facilities were migrating from analog to digital. Sony calibrated their Digibeta decks so that "zero level" on the analog XLR (+4 dBu) matched -20 dBFS on the tape and AES/EBU jacks. They then decided that 10 dB peak digital headroom would be enough, since it was roughly sort-of equal to the +6 VU 300 ms integrated peak on an analog meter, almost.

So the spec became "-20 dBFS average and tone; -10 dBFS peak". When I asked a station engineer in 1996 why that was better than using the full dynamic range, he said "If you set for anything else, our ops will have to adjust the manual volume control. This way they can click it in and use Sony's factory preset."

Of course today we're monitoring frequency-weighted long-term averages of anchor elements, and that's what the networks are looking for. But that 20-year old peak spec still creeps in as a top limit on some contracts.
#9
18th December 2012
Old 18th December 2012
  #9
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Oct 2007
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 622

smurfyou is offline
I hope the -10 peak disappears the next time spec sheets are re-written. What purpose does it serve with an all-digital pipeline? Of course a lot of sheets still specify average VU levels, so it seems like they always add specs and never subtract.
__________________
~Will
#10
19th December 2012
Old 19th December 2012
  #10
Gear maniac
 
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 275

Jay Rose is offline
In my experience, half the delivery spec sheets for the large cable-only US networks seem to have been copy-and-paste from previous sheets where the production coordinator worked last.

So yeah, not only do they add but never take away; sometimes two specs on the same doc will even be mutually exclusive.

I imagine it's just as bad for the pix editors..
#11
19th December 2012
Old 19th December 2012
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: London
Posts: 716

FullFrequency is offline
Yeah a really common thing i've noticed on US/Canadian broadcasters is -24LKFS with -3dbTP, but wanting a stereo LtRt that conforms to -12dbTP but still -24 LKFS, adding the line "we understand the dynamics structure of the surround may be closer to the -12dbTP peak in order to facilitate the easy creation of LtRt" - basically they're saying that they know it's going to sound crap?
__________________
FF

dubbing mixer / sound designer and all things post sound related!
My IMDB
My Full Credits
My 2011 Showreel
#12
19th December 2012
Old 19th December 2012
  #12
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2002
Location: LA, USA
Posts: 8,682
My Recordings/Credits

Henchman is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by FullFrequency View Post
Yeah a really common thing i've noticed on US/Canadian broadcasters is -24LKFS with -3dbTP, but wanting a stereo LtRt that conforms to -12dbTP but still -24 LKFS, adding the line "we understand the dynamics structure of the surround may be closer to the -12dbTP peak in order to facilitate the easy creation of LtRt" - basically they're saying that they know it's going to sound crap?
Yeah, we really don't care at all about the LtRt.
We deliver one limited like that. It's so they can deliver to countries still running off if analog decks. And I don't think they really care how crappy that sounds either. And I don't blame them.
Why sacrifice your 5.1 for a third world country broadcasting analog stereo.
#13
19th December 2012
Old 19th December 2012
  #13
Gear maniac
 
conleec's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2012
Location: Los Angeles

conleec is offline
Hello All You Audio Pros --

Sorry to flog a dead horse, particularly since this all amounts to basically an academic exercise for me (being a picture editor, and all), but what's the practical method of meeting the -10 dBFS requirement? Is it as simple as putting a hard limiter to protect, and then mixing as close to the spec as possible?

I'm slowly coming to understand the -24 LKFS metering and how that works. It's the additional requirements which still have me scratching my head a little bit.

Thanks for your patience.
#14
19th December 2012
Old 19th December 2012
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: London
Posts: 716

FullFrequency is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
Yeah, we really don't care at all about the LtRt.
We deliver one limited like that. It's so they can deliver to countries still running off if analog decks. And I don't think they really care how crappy that sounds either. And I don't blame them.
Why sacrifice your 5.1 for a third world country broadcasting analog stereo.
Is that how it is??? Good to find that out! I have time for one mix on shows, not two full mixes. Maybe I should reconsider and mix the 5.1 like I want and then blow off the LtRt? At the moment it's a give and take between the two, but I HATE the way the dials sound. I allow a little extra headroom on my 5.1, up to -9 so an extra 3db but it still sounds strained. Mark do you get time to just focus on the LtRt as a seperate entity? I do only really have the time for one mix.... Hmmm

To clarify - this current spec, the LtRt is on track 1 and 2 so seems important, and a Dolby e is on 3 and 4. The fact that the channel aren't even demanding SR makes me dismiss them slightly. Their UK branch won't accept less.
#15
19th December 2012
Old 19th December 2012
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2002
Location: LA, USA
Posts: 8,682
My Recordings/Credits

Henchman is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by FullFrequency View Post
Is that how it is??? Good to find that out! I have time for one mix on shows, not two full mixes. Maybe I should reconsider and mix the 5.1 like I want and then blow off the LtRt? At the moment it's a give and take between the two, but I HATE the way the dials sound. I allow a little extra headroom on my 5.1, up to -9 so an extra 3db but it still sounds strained. Mark do you get time to just focus on the LtRt as a seperate entity? I do only really have the one for one mix.... Hmmm
Nope.
We do one mix. The 5.1
We print he LtRt at the same time with a limiter strapped across the folddown.
#16
19th December 2012
Old 19th December 2012
  #16
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: London
Posts: 716

FullFrequency is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
Nope.
We do one mix. The 5.1
We print he LtRt at the same time with a limiter strapped across the folddown.
Ok see that's what I do, but I try to make sure they're very similar in sound, so I imagine my 5.1 is a lot more limited than yours! I may experiment and try to ignore the LtRt a bit more
#17
19th December 2012
Old 19th December 2012
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2002
Location: LA, USA
Posts: 8,682
My Recordings/Credits

Henchman is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by FullFrequency View Post
Ok see that's what I do, but I try to make sure they're very similar in sound, so I imagine my 5.1 is a lot more limited than yours! I may experiment and try to ignore the LtRt a bit more
I refuse to compromise the 5.1 for the LtRt.
I make the 5.1 come in on spec.
#18
20th December 2012
Old 20th December 2012
  #18
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: London
Posts: 716

FullFrequency is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
I refuse to compromise the 5.1 for the LtRt.
I make the 5.1 come in on spec.
Yeah I see your point for sure. My 5.1 is still in spec though . The next one I do I'll have an experiment.
#19
20th December 2012
Old 20th December 2012
  #19
Gear Head
 
Joined: Jan 2008
Location: Studio City, CA

piratepost is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
I refuse to compromise the 5.1 for the LtRt.
I make the 5.1 come in on spec.
Some specs (CALM) require lower peak levels on the 5.1 so the LtRt that is derived on the fly from the 5.1 don't peak over -2dBFS TP. That means True Peak around -6dBFS on your 5.1 (compromise).
#20
20th December 2012
Old 20th December 2012
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Nov 2006
Location: Central Point, Oregon
Posts: 1,715

seanmccoy is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by smurfyou View Post
I hope the -10 peak disappears the next time spec sheets are re-written. What purpose does it serve with an all-digital pipeline? Of course a lot of sheets still specify average VU levels, so it seems like they always add specs and never subtract.
Are the networks really demanding -10 peaks, even on gun-and-explosion-heavy crime dramas and action/adventure shows and movies? I do a lot of commercials and don't mind lowering the average levels at all, but to lose 10 dB of the potential additional dynamic range in the process would be plain stupid.
__________________
www.oregonsound.com/
#21
20th December 2012
Old 20th December 2012
  #21
Gear maniac
 
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 275

Jay Rose is offline
Quote:
Are the networks really demanding -10 peaks, even on gun-and-explosion-heavy crime dramas and action/adventure shows and movies
They might be. Even though the broadcast affiliates are fully digital, there are plenty of people still watching on older, hybrid cable systems or OTA or cable through a channel 3 adapter. Those downstream devices might conceivably clip above -10 dBFS.
#22
25th December 2012
Old 25th December 2012
  #22
Gear maniac
 
paulo m's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Portugal
Posts: 219

paulo m is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
Why sacrifice your 5.1 for a third world country broadcasting analog stereo.
Well, that´s quite a remarkable sentence. I´m aware of a lot of factors that may determine that a given country may be considered as "third world". But that broadcasting in analogue stereo was one of those factors, it was not in my knowledge. It´s amazing the sort of thing one learns in this forums...

Some countries in Europe just recently completed the analogue switch off and the transition to DTV. I dont think that some of those countries may be considered third world.

Millions of viewers on those "third world countries" including the US, listen to TV sound in stereo (downmixed by setup boxes or playout systems when originated from 5.1) through crap TV speakers, even through DTV or cable.

Millions of people in those "third world countries" lack surround systems at home or are watching TV in second screens like tablets and mobile phones.

So, although I may understand that you favour 5.1, assuming that a stereo downmix intended for distribution in a "third world country" is something not to be deserving proper attention is a bit exagerated.

Not that I have too much of experience on it of course, I live in one of those "third world countries"
__________________
Best regards

Paulo M

www.playsonics.com
#23
25th December 2012
Old 25th December 2012
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2002
Location: LA, USA
Posts: 8,682
My Recordings/Credits

Henchman is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulo m View Post
Well, that´s quite a remarkable sentence. I´m aware of a lot of factors that may determine that a given country may be considered as "third world". But that broadcasting in analogue stereo was one of those factors, it was not in my knowledge. It´s amazing the sort of thing one learns in this forums...

Some countries in Europe just recently completed the analogue switch off and the transition to DTV. I dont think that some of those countries may be considered third world.

Millions of viewers on those "third world countries" including the US, listen to TV sound in stereo (downmixed by setup boxes or playout systems when originated from 5.1) through crap TV speakers, even through DTV or cable.

Millions of people in those "third world countries" lack surround systems at home or are watching TV in second screens like tablets and mobile phones.

So, although I may understand that you favour 5.1, assuming that a stereo downmix intended for distribution in a "third world country" is something not to be deserving proper attention is a bit exagerated.

Not that I have too much of experience on it of course, I live in one of those "third world countries"
I didn't say ALL countries who are broadcasting in analogue stereo are third world countries.

But I stand by my approach. I will not sacrifice my 5.1 for the stereo mix.
Wether it's a viewer at home who is watching in stereo, or a broadcaster. The fact that they don't care aboti sound quality is not my problem. I care about knowing that 20-30 years down, the work I do will still stand up. Limiting and compressing my mix for an already dead, on its way out the door delivery, is not even a consideration for me.
#24
26th December 2012
Old 26th December 2012
  #24
Gear Head
 
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 73

GregorioM is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulo m View Post
Millions of viewers on those "third world countries" including the US, listen to TV sound in stereo (downmixed by setup boxes or playout systems when originated from 5.1) through crap TV speakers, even through DTV or cable.
But that's the point, they are still listening to the 5.1 mix, they are just listening to it in stereo, rather than listening to the separate LtRt mix. Because of this, if there's time to spare (!), it makes more sense to spend it checking the stereo down mix of the 5.1 mix than to spend it on the LtRt.

To be honest I'm not quite sure why an LtRt mix is still a required broadcast deliverable, does it ever get used for anything anymore?

G
#25
26th December 2012
Old 26th December 2012
  #25
Matt R. Sherman
 
Smallbudgetguru's Avatar
 
Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Montreal, Canada
Posts: 601

Smallbudgetguru is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregorioM View Post
But that's the point, they are still listening to the 5.1 mix, they are just listening to it in stereo, rather than listening to the separate LtRt mix. Because of this, if there's time to spare (!), it makes more sense to spend it checking the stereo down mix of the 5.1 mix than to spend it on the LtRt.

To be honest I'm not quite sure why an LtRt mix is still a required broadcast deliverable, does it ever get used for anything anymore?

G
A+ I agree with this!

I do the same. Sometimes ill run the LtRt through some in house QC to check for TP but not more. And that's only because I work for some productions that are too budget restricted for anything but HDcam ! Sad I know
__________________
Matt R. Sherman - Gift Of Sound
http://www.giftofsound.ca
http://www.imdb.me/mattrsherman
#26
27th December 2012
Old 27th December 2012
  #26
Gear maniac
 
paulo m's Avatar
 
Joined: Dec 2008
Location: Portugal
Posts: 219

paulo m is offline
When I refered to the stereo mix, I wanted to mean the downmix from the 5.1, not the Lt Rt. I was not clear enough.
#27
27th December 2012
Old 27th December 2012
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2002
Location: LA, USA
Posts: 8,682
My Recordings/Credits

Henchman is offline
Here, the broadcasters create their own down mix using the provided 5.1.
#28
27th December 2012
Old 27th December 2012
  #28
Lives for gear
 
Joined: Dec 2005
Location: San Francisco area
Posts: 3,342

philper is offline
I thought that in the USA the broadcasters were sending out 5.1 and the user's TV etc did the down mix to stereo? Most of what we're delivering (to PBS mostly) is still stereo/LtRt, which they upmix via a Linear Acoustic etc box (if they bother). They don't want our 5.1, at least on the shows I've been doing this year.

philp
#29
27th December 2012
Old 27th December 2012
  #29
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2002
Location: LA, USA
Posts: 8,682
My Recordings/Credits

Henchman is offline
Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
I thought that in the USA the broadcasters were sending out 5.1 and the user's TV etc did the down mix to stereo? Most of what we're delivering (to PBS mostly) is still stereo/LtRt, which they upmix via a Linear Acoustic etc box (if they bother). They don't want our 5.1, at least on the shows I've been doing this year.

philp
AFAIK its the broadcasters doing the down mix.
It's caused problems with some of them, because that had settings incorrect. Resulting in way too much surround information going into the folddown.
#30
2nd January 2013
Old 2nd January 2013
  #30
Gear interested
 
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 3

Peter Baird is offline
If you deliver an AC3 5.1 to the home receiver, and said RX is not physically equipped to reproduce surround, the RX will do the appropriate downmix according to the metadata parameters supplied in the stream. In nearly all cases any 2 mix you make and deliver alongside the 5.1 will never find its way anywhere other than maybe a network eval disk.

Again I stand on my soapbox and yell to no one in particular: if the 2 mix is important to you, MONITOR THE DOWNMIX while you are mixing the 5.1. In truth you are making only one product (the 5.1) but it is still your responsibility to make certain any possible downmixes the system may generate hold together.

And while we're on the subject, can we please stop saying LtRt when we mean LoRo? I have another entire rant prepared for the stupidity of the Surround Phase Parameter default setting, but I see it's time for my medication.

Peter
New Reply Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook  Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter  Submit Thread to LinkedIn LinkedIn  Submit Thread to Google+ Google+ 
 
Topic:
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
weatherbox / So much gear, so little time!
4
NorthEnlight / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music & Location Recording
9
hw2nw / Mastering forum
4
Studiocat / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music & Location Recording
34
Curve Dominant / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music & Location Recording
25

Forum Jump

SEO by vBSEO ©2011, Crawlability, Inc.