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Dialnorm... Help!

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Kyle11268o
Dialnorm... Help!
on Jul 31, 2007 at 10:08:56 pm

Hey folks -

So, I'm about to start FTPing spots to one of our broadcast outlets instead of having to deal with Betas (thankfully). However, among their specs, they list that dialnorm must be set to -23. Having not dealt with dialnorm before, I started some Googling, and have come up with a fairly confusing mishmash of information. I was wondering if someone could give me a straight answer on what I need to do to accomplish this.

I've read plenty of articles explaining what and why, I just need to know what has to be done on my end to comply with their specs. Can this only be accomplished using specific (and expensive) encoders, or is it more a simple matter of setting my general levels to a certain point?

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!


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JeremyG
Re: Dialnorm... Help!
on Jul 31, 2007 at 10:17:28 pm

When compressing to Dolby ac3 within compressor, you can set the dialog normalization in the audio tab. Change it to -23 from the default of -27 dBFS.

Jeremy


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Michael G
Re: Dialnorm... Help!
on Jul 31, 2007 at 11:33:57 pm


Dialog norm is just metadata. You still need to have your actual levels compliant with maximum peak levels.

Broadcast specs are fairly universal but can vary by regions. In NTSC land maximum peaks should be -10dbfs (decibels full scale on a digital peak meter). In PAL it is -9dbfs unless it is for the BBC then it is -10dbfs. To be safe, make sure your audio limiter is capping all signal at -10dbfs, then set dialnorm to -23 as Jeremy has pointed out.


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cowcowcowcowcow
JR-Links
Re: Dialnorm... Help!
on Jul 31, 2007 at 11:38:59 pm

They don't mean just arbitrarily setting the dialnorm number to -23 in the Dolby Digital encoder.
What they mean is that the level of your 'dialog only' track, when analyzed by a program such as AudioLeak will yield an LAeq level of -23.
LAeq stands for the long-term A-weighted sound pressure level.
(If your program is already a mix of dialog, music, and Fx you will get an incorrect reading.)

If it doesn't match, you will need to adjust the overall level of your dialog track up or down untill it matches.
Then bring to the encoder. Now you can enter -23 in the dialnorm box.
It's essential that this number is correct, as it determines how the perceived level of
you program matches the levels of other encoded material on either side of yours.
I know you'd like this to be really simple, but it isn't.
If you don't mind reading a little more, I have more on my post at Apple's compressor forum.

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1057931&tstart=0


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Bruce Jacobs
Re: Dialnorm... Help!
on Aug 1, 2007 at 3:18:43 am

Well put, J-R.

I've written a couple of other things which I hope help to further complement the Dolby company line.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialnorm

http://etvcookbook.org/audio/dialnorm.html


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JR-Links
Re: Dialnorm... Help!
on Aug 1, 2007 at 3:47:55 am

Thanks, but I'm willing to bet that it will take a rejected progam due to incorrect
dialnorm for editors who master their own audio to convince them of the need to understand the importance of getting the dialnorm correct.
I didn't mention the other aspects of incorrect dialnorm,one of which is the nasty pumping that will result if the home user has activated any of the Dolby decoder's dynamic range control.

And then there's Dolby-E, if the program is being submitted for network distribution.
Of course there aren't many here with the extra $20,000 in hardware to handle that themselves.


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Kyle11268o
Re: Dialnorm... Help!
on Aug 1, 2007 at 2:23:26 pm

So... I bring my dialogue track into Compressor and send it through the AC3 encoder. Fine. So now what do I do with this AC3 file? Final Cut won't take it. ITunes won't convert it. I need this to come back into Final Cut so I can put it back into the mix and render this out....

Suggestions?

Apologies if this is something obvious. I'm still a little green on FCP (and this is my first time using Compressor), so I'm still figuring out my workflow.


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JeremyG
Re: Dialnorm... Help!
on Aug 1, 2007 at 3:09:30 pm

What kind of file do you need to deliver?


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Kyle11268o
Re: Dialnorm... Help!
on Aug 1, 2007 at 3:13:30 pm

They take "almost every format electronically, including AVID and MEdia100 native formats. This would include Quicktime, MPEG-2, AVI, etc."

Really, though, if I'm supposed to just be sending only the dialogue track through dialnorm and then mixing everything else to that, I'm going to have to find a way to bring it back into FCP so I can mix, right? This is my sticking point right now.

(Also, I would ideally like this solved ASAP - they're waiting for the spots whenever I get them completed.)


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JeremyG
Re: Dialnorm... Help!
on Aug 1, 2007 at 3:22:19 pm

My point is that you won't get a ac3 track out through FCP with embedded video. You can go through compressor and create a multiplexed MPEG2 file with ac3 audio, but your FCP native self contained movie is not going to have ac3 audio.

That's sticking on topic, ain't it?

Jeremy


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Kyle11268o
Re: Dialnorm... Help!
on Aug 1, 2007 at 3:34:08 pm

Um... I guess. I'm not really following you anymore, though. =)

So, is there a way to export my movie from FCP such that it keeps the audio tracks separated so I can then run it through the dialnorm compression? Am I on the wrong page entirely?

Let's just pretend I'm stupid and step me through this.

On the spots in question:
One has music/lyrics only.
One has dialogue and music.
One has dialogue, music, and FX.



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cowcowcowcowcow
Tom Brooks
Re: Dialnorm... Help!
on Aug 1, 2007 at 7:28:10 pm

Kyle,
This is a topic on which many of us are relatively stupid. A few who have worked out the details know what's up. That isn't me, but the way I understand it is you have to deliver a mixed track in which:

1. The dialog-only yields a -23 measured value for LAeq
2. The other effects and music are mixed with dialog to your taste
3. The peak levels of the entire track are within specs

This suggests a workflow. First get the levels of your dialog right. Measure with the free Channel-D tool. Go back and adjust till it measures correctly at -23. Then adjust your mix to that. Then check peak levels throughout. Deliver in the format of your choice. Admittedly, there are most likely some hidden complications.
Comments anyone?
-Tom


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JR-Links
Re: Dialnorm... Help!
on Aug 1, 2007 at 7:51:20 pm

Yes,that's the way to do it.
He still needs to find out whether he needs to deliver a muxed file (program or transport),
or seperate video and audiotracks.


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JR-Links
additional metadata requirements
on Aug 1, 2007 at 8:15:31 pm

Just want to point out that some networks require that you adhere to other specific settings as well as dialnorm.
These could include settings for any or all of the following:

Bitstream Mode
Channel Mode
LFE Channel
Line Mode Profile
RF Mode Profile
RF overmodulation Protection
Copyright
Original Bitstream
Dolby Surround EX mode
DC Filter
Lowpass Filter
LFE Lowpass Filter
Surround 3 db Attenuation
Surround Phase Shift
and other downmix settings relating to surround mixes.


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Kyle11268o
Success?
on Aug 1, 2007 at 9:23:27 pm

Well, the spots are uploading right now. I'll just keep my fingers crossed that I did everything right and they make it through QC.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in!


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JR-Links
Re: Success?
on Aug 1, 2007 at 9:57:53 pm

Good. Please let us know how it all pans out.


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Tom Asos
Re: Success?
on Feb 5, 2008 at 7:35:49 am

Was wondering if anybody could clear up some questions I had about dialnorm. I have read the thread and been reading up on it online but am still a bit confused. I am preparing a music video for braodcast submission to a music video channel that specifies that dialnorm be set to -24. There is a part during the video where there is dialogue, and it is ADR which I have edited in protools. This is just 40 secnds of dialogue. If i was to export the dialogue audio track track to check the LAeq in AudioLeak, would I just export a section of the audio to get the weighted average or would I export the whole duration of the track, even though that would bring down the LAeq.

How would this be done if I was doing this for a movie? Would it be the whole dialogue track or just a sample of it, because there may be sections during which there is nothing on the dialogue track but that would bring down the LAeq.

Also what would one do it they had location sound which would include some folley or background noise? How could they get a proper dialnorm so as not to be rejected by a broadcaster?

I appreciate any help anyone may be able to offer. Please let me know if you know any of the answers to the questions.

Thanks,

Tom





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cowcowcowcowcow
JR-Links
dialnorm professional tool
on Aug 2, 2007 at 12:00:46 am

Although for post work, AudioLeak is a useful (and free app) to determine dialnorm
when dealing with a recorded seperate dialog track, for live broadcasting and professional use the Dolby LM100 is The tool.
If you like shiny things and have a spare $3,200 and plan on doing a lot of Dolby Digital ptoduction in-house, by all mean get one.
The LM100 employs Dialogue Intelligence


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Tom Asos
Re: Dialnorm... Help!
on Feb 5, 2008 at 7:38:13 am


Was wondering if anybody could clear up some questions I had about dialnorm. I have read the thread and been reading up on it online but am still a bit confused. I am preparing a music video for braodcast submission to a music video channel that specifies that dialnorm be set to -24. There is a part during the video where there is dialogue, and it is ADR which I have edited in protools. This is just 40 secnds of dialogue. If i was to export the dialogue audio track track to check the LAeq in AudioLeak, would I just export a section of the audio to get the weighted average or would I export the whole duration of the track, even though that would bring down the LAeq.

How would this be done if I was doing this for a movie? Would it be the whole dialogue track or just a sample of it, because there may be sections during which there is nothing on the dialogue track but that would bring down the LAeq.

Also what would one do it they had location sound which would include some folley or background noise? How could they get a proper dialnorm so as not to be rejected by a broadcaster?

I appreciate any help anyone may be able to offer. Please let me know if you know any of the answers to the questions.

Thanks,

Tom



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Florian Vera
Re: Dialnorm... Help!
on Jul 9, 2009 at 11:05:07 pm

Hi Jeremy,


You said that it's possible to export a multiplex mpeg2 with ac3 audio in Compressor. This is exactly what I'm trying to do but I can't find a way.

Could you let me know?

Florian


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toronto1
Re: Dialnorm... Help!
on Jan 23, 2008 at 2:41:24 am

Was wondering if anybody could clear up some questions I had about dialnorm. I have read the thread and been reading up on it online but am still a bit confused. I am preparing a music video for braodcast submission to a music video channel that specifies that dialnorm be set to -24. There is a part during the video where there is dialogue, and it is ADR which I have edited in protools. This is just 40 secnds of dialogue. If i was to export the dialogue audio track track to check the LAeq in AudioLeak, would I just export a section of the audio to get the weighted average or would I export the whole duration of the track, even though that would bring down the LAeq.

How would this be done if I was doing this for a movie? Would it be the whole dialogue track or just a sample of it, because there may be sections during which there is nothing on the dialogue track but that would bring down the LAeq.

Also what would one do it they had location sound which would include some folley or background noise? How could they get a proper dialnorm so as not to be rejected by a broadcaster?

I appreciate any help anyone may be able to offer. Please let me know if you know any of the answers to the questions.

Thanks,

Tom



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