The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
Clarification on Loudness Standards for Home Theatre
Old 6 days ago
  #1
Gear Head
 

Clarification on Loudness Standards for Home Theatre

Hi All, I was hoping I could get some practical clarification on how strictly loudness ranges are adhered to when mixing a film aiming to comply with the ATSC85 standard. I am mixing sound for indie films where our primary sound mix is aimed toward Home Theatre playback....whether that be Blu-ray or streaming services like Amazon Prime/Netflix. This would mean my target range for dialog would be -24lkfs generally, or -27lkfs under Netflix's updated delivery specs.

Disclaimer: I understand mixing for theatrical release is an entirely different beast, with no standard, where you mix to a level that feels natural using monitoring calibrated to 85db, or lower if you are mixing in a small room. At the moment, my primary focus is entirely on Home Theatre delivery, in Stereo, not surround.

I am mixing on near fields using Waves WLM to make sure I am within the target loudness range for the ATSC85 standard. My approach to mixing has been to start with dialog only, aiming for -24lkfs, plus or minus a couple of db. Before starting on the rest of the mix I am applying a limiter to make sure i do not exceed -2db True Peak. However, what i am unsure of is how short term and integrated loudness is to be regulated for the mix once all of the other elements are added in. Specifically, the levels of my sound design and score. Because these elements effect the integrated loudness of the entire program, am I correct that that with these elements included (My Full Mix) the integrated loudness for the entire film should stay within +- 2db of -24lkfs? It seems like doing this would really limit the impact of the score. Although, it's possible that i just need to get more creative with EQ in order to maintain impact, while staying around -24lkfs long term (All mix elements included).

Part of the reasoning for this question is that once i have my mix in Reaper sitting at the point i want it at, if I switch over to a web browser for a quick comparison of a Netflix film, my mix seems very quiet. This makes me think that there is a piece of the loudness standard puzzle that i am missing. One example being Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse. The dialog in that film is sitting around -24db according to my metering, but the overall mix feels much louder than mine.

As I am a novice sound mixer newly working in Post in my free time, I would greatly appreciate some guidance or anecdotal advice. I am not in a position to assist for a working engineer, and do not have access to (or budget for) a dub stage to practice or watch someone else work. My end goal here is to get my mixes to be exciting and impactful, while also translating consistently over common delivery mediums.
Old 5 days ago
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Farhoof's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanisprism View Post
Disclaimer: I understand mixing for theatrical release is an entirely different beast, with no standard, where you mix to a level that feels natural using monitoring calibrated to 85db, or lower if you are mixing in a small room. At the moment, my primary focus is entirely on Home Theatre delivery, in Stereo, not surround.
Actually, for me it is exactly the same. Only using nearfield speakers, a smaller room and a lower calibration. I still mix whatever feels natural, I do not care about meter readings during the mix. Mix the dialogue on a comfortable level which is your main anchor. It might take a couple of mixes, but at some point you can mix using your ears and perfectly reach -24 (+/- 2dB).
If you constantly reach, let's say -28 LKFS, then lower your speaker volume by a few dB so you'll mix a bit louder.

It seems what you are missing is the integrated loudness part. -24 +/- 2dB does not mean the loudness has to be between -22 and -26 LKFS at any point. It means the final mix measured as a whole has to be between -22 and -26.
It can be -40 at some point and -10 during a loud scene. Measured at full length it should be around -24.

There might be some standards though where you have to keep track of momentary or short term loudness. Which means don't mix annoyingly loud for long periods of time as people at home will reach for the remote. This should be common practice for home use though if you ask me.
Old 5 days ago
  #3
Here for the gear
 
Paul NuGenAudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farhoof View Post
It seems what you are missing is the integrated loudness part. -24 +/- 2dB does not mean the loudness has to be between -22 and -26 LKFS at any point. It means the final mix measured as a whole has to be between -22 and -26.
It can be -40 at some point and -10 during a loud scene. Measured at full length it should be around -24.
I agree with Farhoof here. The +/- 2LU (or dB) that you see in some standards is meant to be a tolerance around the target for your Integrated (average) Loudness level in recognition of the fact that different loudness meters are likely to give slightly different readings for the same piece of audio.

For guidance on what is considered a sensible range of loudness levels, from the loudest scenes to the quietest, you could use the Loudness Range (LRA) measurement. For Netflix...

https://partnerhelp.netflixstudios.c...tices-v1-1#3_1

...the LRA is currently recommended to be between 4 and 18 LU. LRA = 4LU would probably be a rather un-dynamic mix, whereas 18LU would probably be very (too) dynamic for home viewing.

I hope that helps.
Old 5 days ago
  #4
Gear Head
 

Thanks. These responses are super helpful. I'm at a point where i'm comfortable mixing dialog, comfortable mixing sfx, it's just the sound design and score that I'm iffy about. My instinct is often to let those elemets run hot, (about -14 lkfs short term feels exciting) but I'm fearing that I want it loud because I wrote it, and that it won't translate well on other systems. That's why I was hoping a general metering range could work as a reality check..like, hey guy...maybe you don't need your score so loud, just make the elements right before it a bit more quiet so it feels louder when it hits.

Again, really appreciate the input and anything else anyone can add from prior experience would be awesome.
Old 16 hours ago
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanisprism View Post
Thanks. These responses are super helpful. I'm at a point where i'm comfortable mixing dialog, comfortable mixing sfx, it's just the sound design and score that I'm iffy about. My instinct is often to let those elemets run hot, (about -14 lkfs short term feels exciting) but I'm fearing that I want it loud because I wrote it, and that it won't translate well on other systems. That's why I was hoping a general metering range could work as a reality check..like, hey guy...maybe you don't need your score so loud, just make the elements right before it a bit more quiet so it feels louder when it hits.

Again, really appreciate the input and anything else anyone can add from prior experience would be awesome.
I remember being in your situation a fews back. I would look at meters a lot more than I do now. I would compare loudness ranges and specs. I had notes on general observations of levels, ranges, etc. I learned a lot and I wouldn't say completely stop doing it.

But now I don't really worry about any of that stuff when mixing. Yes of course I have to worry about it to hit my final deliverable spec when required, but as far as mixing what sounds and feels good is just that. You'll get to a point when you go off of feel. Where you'll hear something and you'll instantly think, "Oh, it needs a little bit of this, a little bit of that, a little louder..." and BOOM, you're off mixing and it sounds great and feels right.

Years ago people would be mentored for years and their ears would learn this. Now we unfortunately don't have that luxury. People are given the same tools as the pros and within a classes or years of training, expected to do amazing work. It takes time. As much as I hate saying that and hated when people would tell me that, it is true. You've got to train your ears, otherwise your mixes will only ever reach a certain level of polish and become stagnant.

The best thing you can do is shadow other mixers and hear and see them work. You start to hear things you didn't before.
Remember the first time you learned how to de-click something? (And you've been haunted ever since? haha) Think that but for compression, eq, noise reduction, loudness. Also getting feedback from mixes on your stuff is incredible.

The second best thing I can suggest is listening to amazing sounding material in your room. We are so fortunate to have HUGE catalogs of amazing mixes available to us on streaming platforms. You don't have to get all caught up in calibration, though you can, and it isn't horrible. But really, just watch shows and movies in your room. These amazing mixes translate all over. You'll find how they sound in your room. You'll get a sense for what a polished mix sounds like in your space. So now when you flip over to your mixes. You'll start going more off of feel and less off what the meters are telling you.

Good luck!
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump