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Audio for TV Commercial

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austen collins
Audio for TV Commercial
on Apr 22, 2009 at 4:36:59 pm

Now, I'm not an audio mixer. But I have been put to the task of ensuring a commercial spot is mixed properly before it airs on the SPEED channel. I have a copy of their commercial clearance requirements, and I'm wondering if the gurus on here can help me translate some of the language that is used.

"FX/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/SPEED NETWORKS prefers audio to be produced and delivered in 5.1 Digital Surround Sound, prepared for
AC-3 Surround Sound transmission. Audio may be delivered in several different formats as
indicated below.

The audio dynamic range of the material must be suitable for television broadcast. Audio
levels shall be measured using the recommended loudness measurement found in
ITU R BS 1770 standard, known as LKFS. The loudness is relative to full digital level
(0dBFS) and represents the subjective loudness of the audio program. The loudness shall be
measured across all channels (except LFE) using the LKFS technique and averaged across
the entire segment or clip. The FX/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/SPEED NETWORKS target loudness level is -24 dB ±1 dB.

Instantaneous true audio peaks shall not exceed -2dbFS (BS.1771), while average peak
audio levels should not exceed -8dbFS (EBU Tech 3205 or equivalent).

Audio should be mixed such that the measured average loudness (using LKFS) of the
LT / RT mix shall be equivalent to the measured average loudness (using LKFS) of the 5.1
mix, within ±1dB.

The individual channels shall be in-phase to prevent cancellation when tracks are mixed
together. Care must be taken to ensure that all elements of the audio are properly prepared,
so as not to cancel out if played back in a 2-channel downmix or in a monophonic mode.

If delivery is on HD D-5 (3700 model), the audio mode shall be set to 8 channel."

My question is:

-According to this, in between what numbers should my levels be at? For Dialogue, FX, Music, Tone?

Any help would be greatly appreciated,


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Matt Longoria
Re: Audio for TV Commercial
on Apr 22, 2009 at 7:37:13 pm

-According to this, in between what numbers should my levels be at? For Dialogue, FX, Music, Tone?

According to the spec your dialog level needs to read -24 plus or minus 1db on a meter that uses the ITU R BS 1770 algorithm. Two meters that use that algorithm are the "Dolby LM100" and the "Dolby Media Meter". One way many mixers deal with this spec is to mix the dialog first by itself until it reads right on the meter, then mix in fx and music against the dialog to taste.

More info can be found here:

and here:

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Janne Anderson
Re: Audio for TV Commercial
on May 11, 2009 at 7:55:18 am


This is not a black art (come to think of it, it is ;-)
Ah well, it does require some knowledge to do this properly...and so the real answer is the usual: to hire a pro, or read some books, practice and perhaps take a course for a few years to get stuff right...
I did read the rules for the forum and apologize if I am mistaken, but as my company does a lot of measuring, mastering and correction of finished mixes for any broadcast standard, I can suggest the alternative of using a 3-d party for measuring and mastering (as I am sure there are other companies that do this ;-)
Meaning if (and that's a HUGE BIG IF) your mix is done professionally and sounds great, it can easily be adjusted for any broadcast standard level-wise. Spend a lot of time on your own being creative and then spend a little at the end on measuring and mastering.
The next level is to send out your stems to a company that can apply a mastering touch to adhere to whatever standard is required. That way you don't have to spend a wad of money on the mix, but still potentially get Some_ of the pro-touch that is mandatory and required.

This is thin ice and many people are offended when one suggests stuff like this, and for a reason.
A bad mix can't be saved by looking at a meter...;-)
as many posthouses often (for a reason) fight off this sort of thing, but if you are on a budget AND KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING this "guerilla" approach may be of some help perhaps for some...
when desperate times call for...keepin an eye on the budget..;-)

YMMV FWIW etc etc was never more important.. ;-)

kind regards
Janne Anderson
Supervising Sound Editor
Housework, Stockholm

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