My film has now played in a number of film festivals which I have attended and discovered that my sound mix level seems to be a bit low. At first I thought it was just their system but because this keeps happening I think my mix is a little below the "default" of the various theaters it has played at, although I am sure this varies.
I had a pro mix it and the vocal track and music all top out around -12db, with a few peaks beyond that. I thought this was an appropriate level and yet it continues to play a bit quiet.
The fix is simple, I just need to increase the volume of the master track a db or two or three but I am unsure how much or how little without having some kind of reference. I have a TV with stereo hookup that indicates the dB level of the soundtrack. If I knew what a good default level was I could set it to that volume and then burn a few DVDs at different levels and play them on my TV to see what makes sense or perhaps there is another way using the levels in Final Cut Pro?
It seems like a simple fix but I don't have a good reference point.
-12 is about right for network or cable. Try checking other DVDs to see how they compare. It could be level or it could be relative loudness to a combination of compression and limiting. If the levels are peaking at the same general area from both sources, it's a lack of compression and/or limiting.