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Broadcast Audio levels mandate?

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Nick Griffin
Broadcast Audio levels mandate?
on Dec 17, 2009 at 11:28:21 pm

Did I hear that a US law has passed or being proposed to mandate that spots must be at the same volume as program material? This seems to me like a regulation being imposed by people who have little to no idea what they are even attempting to regulate. Are they going to insist all audio be "normalized" in the same way? Will it outlaw other forms of audio processing that are routinely applied to spots? Do any of these "leaders" have any idea that perceived volume has more to it than simple gain?

This would be almost humorous if my local cable provider (Comcast) would even take the time to set levels properly on the feeds from different networks.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Broadcast Audio levels mandate?
on Dec 18, 2009 at 12:22:01 am

I don't know if I'd lose sleep over it.

Heck, there's rumblings in Congress about mandating a playoff system in big-time college football, too. I'm pretty sure that every big bowl game organizing committee is quietly schmoozing with legislators to let this playoff just fade away.

I have every confidence that there are armies of broadcasters doing similar things to let the too-loud-TV-commercial scare just blow over.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Gary Hazen
Re: Broadcast Audio levels mandate?
on Dec 18, 2009 at 12:55:40 am

Will it outlaw other forms of audio processing that are routinely applied to spots?

You mean like when the sound designers compress the heck out of the spot and then slam it right up against the legal levels limit. This results in a spot that is considerably louder than the other spots on the air and has apparently irritated a few law makers.


Do any of these "leaders" have any idea that perceived volume has more to it than simple gain?

You can measure loudness with the right equipment (Dolby loudness meter). Now who's going to pay for the additonal hardware? And in the smaller local markets with staffs that have been cut back drastically - who's going to montior the loudness?

This would be almost humorous if my local cable provider (Comcast) would even take the time to set levels properly on the feeds from different networks.

No kidding. In my area it can be as much as a 12 db difference between the channels.

Without getting too political - I think there are many more pressing issues that our elected officials should be addressing instead of spending their time regulating the loudness of TV commercials.


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Bob Zelin
Re: Broadcast Audio levels mandate?
on Dec 18, 2009 at 3:05:50 am

there are countless articles now in TV Technology and Broadcast Engineering about loudness products (and I don't mean Dorroughs Loudness meters) to regulate perceived loudness. Now, I am a lazy good for nothing, and I didn't scour these articles, but my initial impression was "then stick a damn clamping limiter on the output and compress the heck out of everything - what's the biggie". BUT NOOOOOOOOOO - now Miranda and Dolby and other have lots of nice expensive new hardware to make this happen (I didn't read the details).

The Dolby LM100, and it's enforcement (of -23dBfs delivery for audio levels) was just the beginning. I view this as a "hanging on tooth and nail" to stay employed, and justify the expensive engineering positions at these larger network broadcast facilities. My wife, who couldn't see a drop out if it hit her in the face, is tormented by the audio sync errors delivered by countless cable systems (the picture and lip sync don't match) and it drives her nuts. And "they" are worried about audio loudness.

This defines the politics of our industry.

Bob Zelin




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Red Broad
Re: Broadcast Audio levels mandate?
on Dec 18, 2009 at 3:50:12 am

Thats one great reason for time shifting with a DVR, and a better one for watching favorite shows on Apple TV!


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