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What's loud?

COW Forums : Audio Professionals

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Craig AlanWhat's loud?
by on Jul 9, 2012 at 4:40:53 pm

Please read the article and the comment below it. I've love to hear what you have to say.

http://www.larryjordan.biz/how-loud-is-loud/?utm_source=Larry%27s+Newslette...

My own comments: What works for the hearing impaired is generally good practice. IE: you do not need to hear background noise at the same loudness you hear speech. In fact, in real life, we often block out background noise from our conscious mind and concentrate on what someone has to say (or not). Many students, for example, will treat what a teacher has to say as background noise.

In action/fantasy/sci-fi/pop-corn/coming of age/etc movies of late, I've noticed that dialog is often used to frame the story and the story is actually being told through the visual and sound effects. Well crafted dialog (except as a pretty frame/sound bite) seems to be the last thing on anyone's mind. Which is a shame since dialog has become more easily discriminated than when surround sound and THX were first introduced.

But getting back to my point: since the 'background' noise has become, like visuals, a component of the narrative and thus brought in and out of 'focus', there needs to be visual cues why it becomes louder and softer so that it doesn't call distracting attention to its sudden increase and decrease in loudness.

I would think this would be a consideration during production as well as post production. As audio engineers do you pay attention to how loud a moment or sequence should be or do you leave that all to post? I know with my level of skill and the equipment I use, I aim to keep the sound within a good range and worry about the relative loudness for post. However, when I direct, I do pay attention to the loudness of the talent's delivery and the noise around them.

MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170, Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Ty FordRe: What's loud?
by on Jul 9, 2012 at 7:19:14 pm

Craig,

I capture it as best I can, hoping to not peak above -3dB and leave it to post.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader


Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide
Ty Ford Blog: Ty Ford's Blog


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Peter GroomRe: What's loud?
by on Jul 10, 2012 at 7:47:18 am

Speaking with my Post production Dubbing Mixer / re recording mixer hat on.

It is the job of the field recording team to me a correct audio recording (ie at correct levels). Not so hot as to create distortion at any stage (front end, input electronics or recording specs) and not too soft so as to create a signal to noise ratio problem.

It is NOT the job of the field recordist to attempt to interpret how that audio will be used subsequently. No filters, no mixing, no creative input. That will or will not come in the mix.

Think of it like this. if you put sugar and milk in a cup of tea (or make a recording with an adjustment to it) you cannot then remove the sugar. Only make a new cup of tea as the 1st is undrinkable. But when you serve the tea, you can deliver sugar to taste.

As an added note. Sound recordists should deliver the audio as split tracks wherever possible (NB It sint always but wherever poss). Once you have mixed say dialogue personal mics with boom mic you have fundementally changed the sound and it cant be un picked in the mix. However delivered as seps, the mixer can use 1 or the other or both to best match within ALL the other tracks he has playing (which could be hundreds). A field mixer can never know what that mix will be.

Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Peter GroomRe: What's loud?
by on Jul 10, 2012 at 7:54:36 am

To comment on the loudness issue you mentioned.

Id not confuse mixing for hearing impaired people as necessarily the way to make a mix acceptable within the loudness metering spectrum. This is a fairly new concept and the rules are only just being settled on.

Soon we will need to mix tv to a loudness spec for delivery here in the uk but at this moment the broadcaster bears the responsibility for transmitting at a consistent loudness to the viewer.
Thers a lot more than bg noise mixing level in a loudness metering question. its about dynamics, compresion (or lack of it) eq, pace of delivery and stridency and basically, how loud we perceive something to be rather than what a PPM meter says it is.

Personally I dont mix everything as if it were to be heard by a hearing impaired person. But I do listen to tv mixes on a variety of speaker sizes and types to ensure that all mediums re create my mix how id like it to be heard.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Craig AlanRe: What's loud?
by on Jul 10, 2012 at 5:32:59 pm

[Peter Groom] "don’t mix everything as if it were to be heard by a hearing impaired person"

Thank you. I find this stuff interesting and it’s good to know what approaches the pros are taking.

What follows is just some rambling thoughts:

"Impaired” is relative. As people age their hearing and eyesight usually weaken.

There are lessons to be learned from adjusting design to accommodate a weak link. Well-designed ramps are an improvement not only for wheelchairs but also for baby carriages and dollies (both production and hauling loads). Or for anyone with a sore back, ankle, knee, hang over, over the age of XXX, etc. Stadium seating improves the line of site for everyone not just short people. Teaching strategies that work for learning disabled kids play very well in the general population (using multi-modalities for example).

I do not test as being hearing impaired. However, I would consider audio discrimination/reproduction a weakness. I have a hard time learning pronunciations and very helpful to see it in print as I hear it. It annoys me when I can’t make out dialog at the movies. Often in such a moment when I turn to the person next to me and whisper, “What did he just say?” The answer is, “I don’t know?” To me, that’s poor audio mixing or perhaps recording.

Another example of considering the weak link would be playing back a rock song in the studio on cheap equipment to see how it would sound to those who own such crap, which represent a very large percentage of rock’s target audience.

All that said, hopefully technology and/or medical advancements will eliminate all these weaknesses and we will all be perfect receptacles for whatever bumps in the road or pop culture tracks is thrown at us.

MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170, Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Eric TolineRe: What's loud?
by on Jul 11, 2012 at 1:18:28 am

Not being able to understand dialog in a film is not any mixers fault or decision. If you have to point that finger at someone point it at the director who has final say as to the mix balance.

A long time ago I learned that you mix on the best monitors available to you. Trying to adjust your mix for every possible type of playback system is fraught with frustration.

Eric


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Peter GroomRe: What's loud?
by on Jul 11, 2012 at 8:56:46 am

Agreed Eric.
I also try to have a clear picture in my mind exactly which audience programme is aimed at and its style, when setting up balances.

Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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