FORUMS: list search recent posts

-12 and -20 editing in same project.

COW Forums : Audio Professionals

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Peter Sassi
-12 and -20 editing in same project.
on Apr 9, 2011 at 11:00:55 pm

I recently got a 2 camera shoot to edit. One cam was a HVX-200 the other a Sony z5 i think it was.

I know the HVX P2 material was set to -12 the bars on the tape of the Z5 was -20. I had to play hell to bring the Sony audio up to the much better sounding HVX @-12.

Why the difference and is there a way to compensate for that in the field?



Peter Sassi

Return to posts index

Bob Kessler
Re: -12 and -20 editing in same project.
on Apr 10, 2011 at 6:07:04 am

Two different cameras with different levels of audio implementation; probably different mics as well. So hey, just deal with it. I don't mean that as a negative swipe at you; 90% of the time you will get audio files that have lots of problems - improper or non-existent labeling, wildly varying levels, lots of noise that needs to be cleaned up, out of sync, vague and/or contradictory instructions... you get the idea.

Until you start working with top tier professionals you are going to have to deal with folks who don't have a proper grasp on how things are supposed to be, and, unfortunately, it's our job to educate them.


Filmmaking is the art of the invisible;
If anyone notices your work you haven't done your job right.

Return to posts index

Eric Toline
Re: -12 and -20 editing in same project.
on Apr 10, 2011 at 12:57:29 pm

The de facto camera reference level is tone at -20dbfs. Some cameras have a witness mark at what turns out to be -12 as there are no numerical indications of level.

In the pro-sumer camera market -12 is used as a reference to overcome any record system noise. 8db of headroom before digital zero is a bit dicey.


Return to posts index

Ty Ford
Re: -12 and -20 editing in same project.
on Apr 10, 2011 at 1:33:23 pm

Hello Peter and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Unfortunately there persists a lack of understanding about basic audio levels. I've had supposed seasoned professionals try to tell me that audio levels shouldn't peak higher than -20, which is absurd.

I've had seasoned camera operators tell me they'll use their camera tone and don't need mixer tone, thereby by passing the critical mixer/camera calibration.

There are professional cameras that literally can't take line level input to proper level without distorting.

There are professionals who don't know the difference between mic, consumer line and professional line level.

As I frequently say, good audio is not plug and play. In post, where the tone level rests is totally immaterial if you are transferring picture and audio digitally via firewire, USB or card. In the old analog video and audio days, audio was transferred from video tape to the editing system master tape by analog transfer. Setting tone at a prescribed level at the cameras allowed the editor to adjust the record levels on the editing system properly.

That was then. What matters is how the actual record level ON THE CAMERA. Unless the peaks are up around -8dB on the digital camera meters, you'll have a lot of gaining up to do. And when you do this you will also bring up the noise floor.

It's sort of like exposure. Too much light, you blow out the whites. Too little light, everything is lost in the noise and mud. Erring in either direction compromises your audio.


Ty Ford

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

Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2018 All Rights Reserved