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Poll about Cinema mixing levels Dynamics Plugins
Old 4th January 2017
  #1
Poll about Cinema mixing levels

Hi all,
in an effort to get as much data as possible about cinema mixing levels around the world, I have created a short poll.
It would be great if as many people could answer the questions.

Thanks

https://goo.gl/forms/8bK5mvxxWFEezdhx1
Old 5th January 2017
  #2
Great poll, Steven!
Old 5th January 2017
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Andrew Mottl's Avatar
 

Hi Steven,

would it be OK / your wish to post/email this via alternative groups? Reaching out to as many colleagues as possible?
Or rather keep it GS only?
Old 5th January 2017
  #4
Thanks Branko!
Andrew, the wider the better. I already posted it on the DUC.
Old 5th January 2017
  #5
Here for the gear
 
Concept Chelia's Avatar
Fantastic poll!
Old 6th January 2017
  #6
Great poll Steven, do you intend to do something with the data?

Greetings,

Thierry
Old 6th January 2017
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by thierryd View Post
Great poll Steven, do you intend to do something with the data?

Greetings,

Thierry
Hi Thierry,
yes I'll try and do an interpretation of the data and post my findings. It's a global issue, so posting the results is important in helping us all find a solution to proper playback levels in cinemas. Or at least it's a start.
Old 6th January 2017
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven1145 View Post
Hi Thierry,
yes I'll try and do an interpretation of the data and post my findings. It's a global issue, so posting the results is important in helping us all find a solution to proper playback levels in cinemas. Or at least it's a start.
It is indeed a global issue with some countries being worse than others.

Eelco Grimm (who was also involved in the R128 standard together with Florian Camerer) was working on a formula a few years ago for setting Fader levels depending on film content.
Not that it was THE solution, but it was another way of trying to raise the Fader level again in cinema's.
The formula was:
MFS = -28 - PLcin + (PLcin - VL) / 2. With MFS = Main fader setting, PLcin = Program Loudness, Cinema (different surround weighting than BS1770), VL = Voice Level.
I did some measurements at the time with a film I was working on and ended up quite close to Dolby Fader 7 (in fact -1.4 dB for one film, when I just looked it up in my mail correspondence at the time).
There will be lots of discussion whether this is the right way to tackle the problem, but the least one could say: they were trying to find a solution to the problem.

I'll send him a mail about this thread.

Greetings,

Thierry
Old 6th January 2017
  #9
Yeah I think there need to be some discussions about the most practical solution that will respect the artistic intentions of our mixes, and that's why we cant let a R128 solution be imposed on us. I'm rather for a dialog loudness measurement, IF in MOST situations it means closer playback levels to what was done in the mix (barring just setting the fader at 7 if the film was mixed at 7). But I'm not for any form of overall loudness targets.
Old 6th January 2017
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thierryd View Post
It is indeed a global issue with some countries being worse than others.

Eelco Grimm (who was also involved in the R128 standard together with Florian Camerer) was working on a formula a few years ago for setting Fader levels depending on film content.
Not that it was THE solution, but it was another way of trying to raise the Fader level again in cinema's.
The formula was:
MFS = -28 - PLcin + (PLcin - VL) / 2. With MFS = Main fader setting, PLcin = Program Loudness, Cinema (different surround weighting than BS1770), VL = Voice Level.
I did some measurements at the time with a film I was working on and ended up quite close to Dolby Fader 7 (in fact -1.4 dB for one film, when I just looked it up in my mail correspondence at the time).
There will be lots of discussion whether this is the right way to tackle the problem, but the least one could say: they were trying to find a solution to the problem.

I'll send him a mail about this thread.

Greetings,

Thierry
Guys, R128 (-23LUFS) refers to a listening level of 73dB SPL (EBU recommendation for listening level) which is 12dB lower than Cinema. It's really apples and oranges.

Big problem is that the standard for trailers and commercials is WAY too loud which makes projectionists turn everything down.

I heard that in France it's common to mix features with Dolby fader turned down to 5.5 (!!!). No wonder that projectionists turn down their volume. They said the logic behind that is "5.5 is the average Volume setting in most cinemas so we mix at 5.5" it's really how the vicious circle is fed.

Last edited by apple-q; 6th January 2017 at 12:48 PM..
Old 6th January 2017
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by apple-q View Post
Guys, R128 (-23LUFS) refers to a listening level of 73dB SPL (EBU recommendation for listening level) which is 12dB lower than Cinema. It's really apples and oranges.
Yes you are right, but I think in this discussion we are broadly referring to R128 as a "type" of measurement and application (ie. Integrated Value and dial within +7 -7 LU) rather than exact values it represents.



Quote:
I heard that in France it's common to mix features with Dolby fader turned down to 5.5 (!!!). No wonder that projectionists turn down their volume. They said the logic behind that is "5.5 is the average Volume setting in most cinemas so we mix at 5.5" it's really how the vicious circle is fed.
It is certainly NOT common here, and it's a great example of the necessity of gathering objective data about all this.
Old 6th January 2017
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by apple-q View Post
Guys, R128 (-23LUFS) refers to a listening level of 73dB SPL (EBU recommendation for listening level) which is 12dB lower than Cinema. It's really apples and oranges.

Big problem is that the standard for trailers and commercials is WAY too loud which makes projectionists turn everything down.

I heard that in France it's common to mix features with Dolby fader turned down to 5.5 (!!!). No wonder that projectionists turn down their volume. They said the logic behind that is "5.5 is the average Volume setting in most cinemas so we mix at 5.5" it's really how the vicious circle is fed.
Apple-q, please read my post again, I'm (or Eelco for that matter) in no way suggesting to use R128 as such in the cinema environment.

And about your France remark; I sometimes get the impression people/engineers prefer to bury their head into the sand about how films are played "out there" in theaters. When I mix a film I go to see it in at least 5 different cinemas across the country and talk to projectionists about their usual settings and working practices. When I go to the cinema to see other films I'll ask them to raise the level, mostly from their 4-4.5 level to 5.5 (if they are allowed to do it by management, I never got it to 6 as they are afraid :-). In fact I sometimes drive to other countries in Europe to go see a film and check what level they are running. I can tell you that almost no cinema I've been to the last 10 years, was running at 7.
There are differences between countries (The Netherlands run films louder on average than Belgium for instance), but there are also cultural and sonical/language differences between countries as well; for example go to a restaurant in Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Germany and the US and you will have a different loudness level on average.

And then I remember an article with findings of Tomlinson Holman about 15 years ago in surround magazine with conclusions along the lines of: on average the general public preferred film mixes 6dB lower than the director/producer/engineer.

Personally I like "bold" mixes, but hate it when the frequencies in the mix are ear ripping.
Just to give another example of taste differences: I saw "American Sniper" in the Empire in Leicester Square in London (Imax) together with a fellow engineer. That theater was probably running close to Fader Level 7. I liked the mix, but my colleague thought it was a bit too loud...just to give an example of taste differences.

I don't want to start a fight here. Fader level (rising again) is a problem that is very complex to solve. And I have had lots of conversations about it over the years.

So thumbs up to you Steven for starting the poll. Hopefully at some point we will get somewhere.

Greetings,

Thierry
Old 6th January 2017
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven1145 View Post
It is certainly NOT common here, and it's a great example of the necessity of gathering objective data about all this.
Glad to hear. 5.5 is pretty brutal...
Old 6th January 2017
  #14
Gear Nut
 

To me there is only one factor that needs to be addressed and it's that cinemas play back films at the wrong level, by policy. When a film is mixed at 7 and plays back at 5, there is one significant factor that is negatively impacting the screening and it doesn't have anything to do with if you adjusted your monitoring for the size of your room.

EDIT: In speaking with projectionist's in various cinemas in the world, I find he most common error is "we play everything at 5". So to me the options are: trying to get cinemas to adjust playback level as appropriate for the films they screen, or we can all just mix at 5 and lose the 6.45dB of headroom that is being taken away between 7-5 on the dolby fader.

For the unaquainted, here is the Dolby fader in decibels:

10=95dB
9.5=93.33dB
9.0=91.66dB
8.5=90dB
8.0=88.33dB
7.5=86.66dB
7.0=85dB
6.5=83.33dB
6.0=81.66dB
5.5=80dB
5.0=78.33dB
4.5=76.66dB
4.0=75dB
3.5 = 65dB
3 = 55dB
2 = 35dB
1 = 15dB

My solution is simple. Train/empower an cinema employee that sets volume levels for each film that comes into to the venue. It's the cinema's job to ensure standards for their audiences, and our job to pressure them to do the job they owe the films and audiences.

Last edited by TheMuffinMan01; 6th January 2017 at 07:32 PM..
Old 6th January 2017
  #15
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMuffinMan01 View Post
To me there is only one factor that needs to be addressed and it's that cinemas play back films at the wrong level, by policy. When a film is mixed at 7 and plays back at 5, there is one significant factor that is negatively impacting the screening and it doesn't have anything to do with if you adjusted your monitoring for the size of your room.

EDIT: In speaking with projectionist's in various cinemas in the world, I find he most common error is "we play everything at 5". So to me the options are: trying to get cinemas to adjust playback level as appropriate for the films they screen, or we can all just mix at 5 and lose the 6.45dB of headroom that is being taken away between 7-5 on the dolby fader.

For the unaquainted, here is the Dolby fader in decibels:

10=95dB
9.5=93.33dB
9.0=91.66dB
8.5=90dB
8.0=88.33dB
7.5=86.66dB
7.0=85dB
6.5=83.33dB
6.0=81.66dB
5.5=80dB
5.0=78.33dB
4.5=76.66dB
4.0=75dB
3.5 = 65dB
3 = 55dB
2 = 35dB
1 = 15dB

My solution is simple. Train/empower an cinema employee that sets volume levels for each film that comes into to the venue. It's the cinema's job to ensure standards for their audiences, and our job to pressure them to do the job they owe the films and audiences.


I with theaters had a system where they would let the customers know what level they are playing their films at. Some kind of a digital LED sign outside of each room and by the ticket counter. So those who don't want it loud know and can watch a messed up audio that was not intended and for those who CARE and see the Dolby #7 can feel okay, I am getting my moneys worth.

For example when Avatar 2 comes out, I do NOT want to see it if it is ANYTHING other than 7. not 5.5. It's like going to see your favorite artist, whether it's a rock band or a classical orchestra playing and telling the live mixer "hey can you turn that mix down 6db?"

This is one of the reasons I rarely ever go to the theaters anymore, maybe once every 5 years if that (except for cast & crew for my own films).

My last horrible experience:
Was when the last installment of Batman came out, one of my clients (huge batman fan) insisted I go see it with him at the Cinerama Dome OPENING NIGHT!
So I figured I haven't gone to an opening night film since the 90's and haven't been to the Cinerama dome in Hollywood since I was a kid and aware of all the latest high tech improvements in the last 25 years.

Well... I was extremely disappointed. There is no way they had that at 7. Explosions where subtle, liking kicking a cardboard box, could barely understand Bane's lines. A film like this should have ruptured my spleen with explosions, not make me question if that sound from the rear was a bubblegum pop.

After it came out on Blu Ray, I saw it in my own theater that is calibrated. and WHALA, everything fit. I understood every line from Tom Hardy, the room shook from all the explosions, spleen didn't rupture needless to say. it did hurt a bit after lol.
Old 6th January 2017
  #16
Gear Nut
 

What's important to know is that some films do play right at 5.0, because not all films were mixed at 7. Every single mix is unique, and even at festival films play anywhere between 4.0 and 8.5 and in rare cases outside those numbers and the majority between 5.5 and 7.0. What some people don't get is that the number on the fader doesn't matter. That fader is about setting the relationship between the mix and the cinema playback system. The only way to do it right is to listen and make a decision based on experience and (hopefully good) taste.

Last edited by TheMuffinMan01; 26th January 2017 at 06:33 AM..
Old 6th January 2017
  #17
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dr.sound's Avatar
 

See this is what I question....
I can take any film for example that was mixed at
Sony Pictures
Warner Brothers
Fox
Disney
Universal
Technicolor
Formoss


and play them at "The Dub Stage" and they will all be in the ballpark.
Why, because all of them if mixed in a Feature Dubbing Stage at any of the above
Studios use one common thing.. A Calibrated Room at 85, 7 on The Dolby Box.
Now that is not to say some may sound different from other as we all know not everyone mixes Dialog the same, Music or SFX the same BUT they all mix at 7.
Personally I do not know anyone at the above studios that changes their monitor level. Now sure some of the lower budget movies that have a limited budget get mixed in small TV rooms or editorial suites and their levels are usually way off the mark but even those clients usually will playback the mix at a Feature Dubbing Stage to at least get a sense of how their mix sounds in a bigger venue.

This has been my experience.
My experience when I go to Audience Test Screenings that I mix that nearly always have Dolby Theatrical Engineers calibrate the room my mixes are right on the money. I have never adjusted the little orange remote box more that +/- 1 db EVER!
While I am at these test screenings we always do a morning "run through" to listen and check both sound and picture. We usually have 4-6 hours of waiting for the screening to start typically at 7:30 pm. With this free time I have access to the projection booth of the complex and it can have anywhere between 6 and 30 Theaters. I go by every room and look at the monitor box and not 1 is set for Dolby 7… NOT ONE! They are typically 4.5- 5.5, occasionally 6.
So if we use the Dolby Formula of 7= 85 spl
The Theaters are playing back:
4.5= 76 spl
5= 78.33 spl
5.5 = 80 spl
6.0= 81 spl

Now here is the heart of the issue:
We Re-Recording Mixers can’t get a proper translation when the
Mix we do is 9+ db DOWN.
What is the first thing that happens, the audience has a hard time hearing the Dialog, you know the foundation of the story. We loose their attention, their minds drift away from the story and the ability to connect with the actors on the screen.
This is a vicious circle that we need to find an answer.
If every theater played back the picture through a projector that was only 5ft Lamberts bright every Director, Cinematographer, Producer and Actor would be up in arms! The same thing is happening with our playback of the Sound Mix!
We need to find an answer.
Old 6th January 2017
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
Farhoof's Avatar
 

You simply cannot get a room of 200 people to all agree what the proper playback level should be. Ever.

The best you can do is the formulaic approach where the mix is being analyzed in some clever way, suggesting a playback level that caters to the largest group of average moviegoers. Some people will still think it's too loud. Some people will still think it's too low. But the largest group of moviegoers will appreciate it which will be good for the industry in the long run.

If Tomlinson Holman's article is any indication though, I think we have to face the fact the audience prefers it a few dB down from what we intended. Maybe not a lot, but at least a bit nonetheless. Maybe this algorithm can make us meet halfway. At least you'll get the headroom back and we get rid of the insane discrepancy.

Step 2 is for theaters to respect the level and not turn it down again catering to the few complainers left.
I can live happily mixing at 7 and playback at 6, if that's what the audience wants. Personally I prefer a bold mix, but I don't want to force it down peoples throats. But the current playback is just too low. Typical cinema's here in the Netherlands playback between about 4.0 and 5.5. The best I can get is an actual Dolby Cinema, and even they don't play at 7, but 6.0 at most (turned down after complaints).

In the end, whatever happens, there is a difference between what filmmakers want and what a room of 200 people want. This cannot be solved. But it can be standardized.
Old 7th January 2017
  #19
Gear Maniac
 

I grew tired of clients complaining that the mix is low unless they tell the theater to turn it up to 7.

I asked projectionists about levels, and it seems like 5.5 is the standard at most theaters (or 4.5-5).

Last year I began mixing to 5.5 and I haven't had one complaint about a mix being too quiet. My clients are mostly showing at festivals and limited theatrical.
Old 7th January 2017
  #20
Gear Nut
 

Baxter you've sold out the headroom that the cinema standards give us, but you clearly articulate the argument I often hear. "cinemas are playing back low and clients are unhappy" and "it's not getting a big theatrical run so I just mix for the middle so it plays alright on laptops". Valid bandaids, no solution in sight.

Marti, at festival it is notable that hollywood mixes do tend to play well at 7! Same with Scandinavia I've found. Canadian films for example average between 5.5 and 6.5. Bollywood often plays at 4.5. Hollywood films are one thing but there is a lot more in the international film world than one little neighbourhood in the states.
Old 7th January 2017
  #21
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I've heard this complaint for as long as I've been working in post--no change. Saying that there is a need to "retrain" cineplex projection personnel to play your films @ 7 is unfair and unrealistic--you are blaming a victim. The theatre levels are a matter of theatre-chain management policy, a policy based on the number of complaints they get about films being too loud. In the era before TV, an audience's only experience of motion pictures was in movie theatres, and they accepted whatever the levels were. Now people's daily experience of video is on their TVs and devices, where the levels are much lower and they have instant control of the volume level. This argument about cinema playback levels will never end until the technology of cinema audio changes radically. As was said, 100-400 people in one room will never agree on a level, and nowadays they believe they should have input into what that level is, as opposed to the old days. So for now, it seems like a good idea to mix at whatever level you want to, but maybe check your show at a level that many theatres (esp ones you will never be able to visit) will play it at as well. Just as TV mixers know that much of their work will be played via buds, ipad speakers etc, theatrical mixers know that their mixes will be played in theatres at lower than Dolby 7, often.
Old 7th January 2017
  #22
Hi Marti,

Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.sound View Post
If every theater played back the picture through a projector that was only 5ft Lamberts bright every Director, Cinematographer, Producer and Actor would be up in arms! The same thing is happening with our playback of the Sound Mix!
We need to find an answer.
well....for a while I naively thought that it was a problem that we alone as sound engineers were facing.
But I know quite a few DOPs and Colorists too and when checking theaters for premieres I've seen exactly what you mention, a theater running at 6fL instead of the standard 14fL for D-Cinema.
I know of a local pretty dark film that was completely re-graded after they found that in some cinemas the film was "invisible" so to speak.

What it comes down to is a quality issue, combined with job cutting. Cinemas and especially Multiplexes typically don't have enough personnel to monitor what is running in the theaters. A 20+ theater complex is run by one operator starting all films from behind a desk, not having much time to actually go physically check what's going on in the theaters.
I read a suggestion where a sort of quality "inspector" would testrun a film and put a level on it. I've seen this in a smaller cinema, where the projectionist had fewer rooms to run and actually cared about the films. He had a list of what levels he ran the different films (unfortunately his level taste was rather low, running between 4 and 5.7 or something, but at least they tried). It's like a broadcast balancing engineer, the job description doen't exist anymore and it's all automated play-out.

Like I said earlier in this thread, it is a very complex problem to tackle. But something needs to be done, that's for sure. I go to the cinema just to see what's happening out there, but if I really want to enjoy a film I watch it in the studio or my home theater...

Greetings,

Thierry
Old 8th January 2017
  #23
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Andrew Mottl's Avatar
 

Sorry Steven, I only just posted in the German sound design / sound post email group. (had been out of house/studio a lot)
Hope you get a few more participants from there!
And hope I'm not too late...
Old 8th January 2017
  #24
Gear Nut
 

The true victims are the audiences and the filmmakers, and complacent ignorant presenters are the problem. If you're going to play a film 200 times at your multiplex, the least you could do is sit down for a 5 minute volume check between emptying consessions stand cash registers. These chains hated projectionist unions and got rid of tons of labour but the biggest multiplexes have almost no technical staff, it's true. Is it really so much to ask that cinemas take care of their technical presentation? I understand the rationale you explain Phil, but it doesn't make sense. Breaking all the standards helps no one.

100-400 people can agree on the level if it's set right, and there is a right level. I've set levels for at least a thousand audiences.

So what about the technological solution? I know projectionist's that can set reasonable levels based on their b-chain meters, so why can't cinema levels be nominally set based on a reading of the overall LKFS?
Old 8th January 2017
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMuffinMan01 View Post
The true victims are the audiences and the filmmakers, and complacent ignorant presenters are the problem. If you're going to play a film 200 times at your multiplex, the least you could do is sit down for a 5 minute volume check between emptying consessions stand cash registers. These chains hated projectionist unions and got rid of tons of labour but the biggest multiplexes have almost no technical staff, it's true. Is it really so much to ask that cinemas take care of their technical presentation? I understand the rationale you explain Phil, but it doesn't make sense. Breaking all the standards helps no one.

100-400 people can agree on the level if it's set right, and there is a right level. I've set levels for at least a thousand audiences.

So what about the technological solution? I know projectionist's that can set reasonable levels based on their b-chain meters, so why can't cinema levels be nominally set based on a reading of the overall LKFS?
The elephant in the room is that there IS a new standard, and it is more or less Dolby 5.5 when playing a Dolby 7-monitored mix! Cinema-goers do not like a lot of Dolby 7 mixes played at Dolby 7, it is too loud for them. So the problem goes right back to directors and producers who vainly believe they can get more excitement out of their films by gaming the Dolby 7 mix level to a higher volume mix (being mixed by mixers wearing earplugs), and then theatres turn the mix down to get it into a zone where the audience complaints stop. So if you want your films to get played @ Dolby 7, then the mixes have to respect the audience's desire to not have to listen to a really loud mix. If this happened, then the theatre levels could return to the nominal 7 value, and translation will work.

And no, 400 modern device-using people can NOT agree on a level, not at all. However they will collectively ACCEPT a level IF they can understand the dialog and not be killed by the sound climaxes.
Old 8th January 2017
  #26
Gear Addict
 
rcutz's Avatar
Last year (2016) I mixed a movie straigth to Cannes competition, and my director clear demands it to be mixed on 7 and to be really comfortable to listen.

After the projection, uk cinema critic of the telegraph news paper twitter about the sound of the movie.

At the time of the release here in Brazil, the director went to Facebook using his personal page and the movie fan page to tell people ask the theaters to play the movie at 7.

It went out really well.
Old 9th January 2017
  #27
I think I'll close the survey around Friday, so please share the link and ask around if film mixers want to participate. Thanks
Old 9th January 2017
  #28
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ggegan's Avatar
I've worked in several areas of motion picture sound since the mid 70's in Toronto, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and have been a rerecording mixer since 1990, having worked on hundreds of feature films (and several hundred hours of TV as well) at most of the major studios and facilities in my area. Over the years I've teamed up with a fair number of the who's-who of dialog/music mixers at one time or another and many lesser known talents from all over the North America and several from other continents. In all that time I have NEVER, EVER seen anyone mix a feature film at anything other than 85dB SPL. I'm sure people do it, but I have personally never seen it or done it myself. TV is different, the calibration level generally ranges from 79-81dB SPL, but features have always been mixed at 85dB SPL.

I'm not trying to be dogmatic, I'm just relating my experience. You can do whatever you want, and if it works - more power to you, but the standard is there for a reason: it's predictable for both the mixers and the theaters. If the theaters decide to play back at a lower level, fine. At least they know that setting the box at 5 (or whatever) will result in predictable and reasonably consistent levels for all the films and theaters. If they start getting films mixed at all sorts of different levels they will have to make a playback level determination for each and every film. That is just not going to happen, so the result will be more unpredictable or even random volume from film to film and theater to theater, a very regrettable situation. Chaos is not your friend.

Last edited by ggegan; 9th January 2017 at 06:36 PM..
Old 9th January 2017
  #29
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan View Post
I've worked in several areas of motion picture sound since the mid 70's in Toronto, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and have been a rerecording mixer since 1990, having worked on hundreds of feature films (and several hundred hours of TV as well) at most of the major studios and facilities in my area. Over the years I've teamed up with a fair number of the who's-who of dialog/music mixers at one time or another and many lesser known talents from all over the North America and several from other continents. In all that time I have NEVER, EVER seen anyone mix a feature film at anything other than 85dB SPL. I'm sure people do it, but I have personally never seen it or done it myself. TV is different, the calibration level generally ranges from 79-81dB SPL, but features have always been mixed at 85dB SPL.

I'm not trying to be dogmatic, I'm just relating my experience. You can do whatever you want, and if it works - more power to you, but the standard is there for a reason: it's predictable for both the mixers and the theaters. If the theaters decide to play back at a lower level, fine. At least they know that setting the box at 5 (or whatever) will result in predictable and reasonably consistent levels for all the films and theaters. If they start getting films mixed at all sorts of different levels they will have to make a playback level determination for each and every film. That is just not going to happen, so the result will be more unpredictable or even random volume from film to film and theater to theater, a very regrettable situation. Chaos is not your friend.
Bravo.

Like I said, many many many films are not mixed to standards but when one comes in that is, it sings. A great example for me is a film called The Love Punch from 2012 or 2013. I remember putting it on screen at 7.0 and just being in awe of how perfectly it translated in a recently Dolby calibrated 450 seat cinema. Definitely the most perfectly leveled dialogue I've ever heard come out at 7.0. The thing about it was that the dialogue could be quiet and natural, which is more risky to do when you're trying to anticipate sloppy work down the line in presentation. If you're trying to correct for presenter errors, you're going to mix worse IMO. Nothing like having a well calibrated chain to give you confidence in your work, and the cinema calibration is just as important as your mix stage calibration but you only have control over one of those factors.

Until Dolby changes their spec and stops calibrating cinemas at 85db, the standard HAS NOT CHANGED.

Here's the elephant in the room for me, mixes that sit nice at 7 are BETTER mixes than ones that sit nicely at 5.5, every single time, in my experience. I've never heard a film mixed at 5.5 that sounds better than films mixed at 7. Guess what level every single film from Skywalker Sound that I've run has played at? (Hint: 7.0)

Lastly, Phil, you're right, maybe people wouldn't agree on a level, but if the film is at the right level then no one complains and the audience experiences the film the way the filmmakers intended them to, which for me is the only thing that matters.
Old 9th January 2017
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMuffinMan01 View Post
Bravo.
A great example for me is a film called The Love Punch from 2012 or 2013. I remember putting it on screen at 7.0 and just being in awe of how perfectly it translated in a recently Dolby calibrated 450 seat cinema. Definitely the most perfectly leveled dialogue I've ever heard come out at 7.0. The thing about it was that the dialogue could be quiet and natural, which is more risky to do when you're trying to anticipate sloppy work down the line in presentation.
Aww come on, now you've got me blushing!
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