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Loudness Meter Levels for Feature Films

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Debbie King
Loudness Meter Levels for Feature Films
on Jun 20, 2014 at 1:42:09 pm
Last Edited By Debbie King on Jun 20, 2014 at 2:27:32 pm

Hello Everyone:

I have been researching and reading previous posts here about loudness meters used for broadcasting. Are loudness meters used also for feature films? If so, would anyone know the loudness specs for the screen? I am having difficulty determining. I am also experiencing the change in volume as the playing of the movie progresses, yet the levels on the mix console are close.

Also, I remembered doing this on the trailer, but I forgot where to find it. What I would like to do is set my volume to 0.0 where the audio cannot exceed it. I thought it was in the Wave Hammer Surround plugin, but I tried that yesterday and there were moments when the volume exceeded 0.0 during the peaks.

Many thanks,

Debbie


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Norman Black
Re: Loudness Meter Levels for Feature Films
on Jun 20, 2014 at 6:36:42 pm

Movies are their own thing and about freedom of artistic vision. If the movie producer wants the movie to be frickin loud then so be it.

THX is the common standard there and THX is all about what the sound system can deliver. Knowing what the sound system can do then you can do your sound how you envision.

THX says the speakers need to be able to attain 105dB with a 0dB signal. This means a -20dB signal should be 85dB at listening position. The LFE channel goes 10dB higher than the others.

-25 to -30dB for average dialog is supposedly common for theater mixing. This leaves lots of room for REALLY loud stuff like explosions and such.


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Debbie King
Re: Loudness Meter Levels for Feature Films
on Jun 20, 2014 at 6:56:14 pm
Last Edited By Debbie King on Jun 20, 2014 at 6:57:10 pm

Thanks Norman:

Great info. How would I be able to attain 105db with a 0db signal? I have been trying to control the signals and have not been able to do so. I thought that the Wave Hammer Surround was it, but it's not that efficient in limiting the signals. Any suggestions?

Many thanks,

Debbie


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Norman Black
Re: Loudness Meter Levels for Feature Films
on Jun 20, 2014 at 10:30:09 pm

Digital signals max out at 0dB. The THX 105dB spec is the theater sound system sound pressure level corresponding to a 0dB input signal. This is with a properly calibrated THX sound system setup. Obviously someone uses a reference signal to calibrate. They adjust the sound system amplifiers so that a -20dB test signal gives 85dB SPL to the audience ears. A theater could certainly turn the volume lower or higher if they want, but that would not be within THX spec.

-25 to -30 are supposedly typical signal levels for average dialog in DTS and DD.

On your TV, PC or phone you have a volume control. Not so in the theater and this is what THX is all about. It sets a spec such that you the author can get the volume you desire at all points of your material since there is a connection between your signal level and actual volume level in the theater.

My local theater is either turning the volume above THX spec, and they claim to be THX certified, or the recent trend in movies that that they are encoding a higher dialog volume level and thus using less dynamic range.


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Mike Kujbida
Re: Loudness Meter Levels for Feature Films
on Jun 21, 2014 at 12:53:13 pm

Debbie, here is an excellent tutorial on calibrating your room for proper levels.
http://www.protoolsprofessional.com/blog/2011/04/22/speaker-calibration-tut...
Here's a great sticky on setting mixing levels for all kinds of situations.
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/post-production-forum/229741-standard-mixing...
Both of these came from the Gearslutz pro audio forum where they have a great sub forum (with more useful stickies) for audio post.
http://www.gearslutz.com/board/post-production-forum/


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Debbie King
Re: Loudness Meter Levels for Feature Films
on Jun 21, 2014 at 9:33:44 pm

Hi Mike:

Thank you so very much. I really need this.

Best,

Debbie


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