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-   -   Cinema mixing levels poll (http://duc.avid.com/showthread.php?t=387744)

MIKEROPHONICS 07-13-2017 07:43 AM

Re: Cinema mixing levels poll
I am still mulling this over....

I have only mixed in a full theatrical room once (Shepperton - Theatre 6, a full Munro spec room), re-versioning a Disney film (one of the Marvel series - I forget which) into Czech.

I am not shy when it comes to monitoring levels, but the Dolby level was set to 82 rather than 85 in that theatre, as the mix of the opening reel with the battle in the forest just pinned you against the wall. How that mix was ever assembled at 85 I will never know.

I went home feeling totally aurally jarred and assaulted.

I can't help feeling that until playback levels are removed from the cinema multiplexes, this problem will never go away.
I just do not believe that mixers are not monitoring at 4 or 5. They would be deaf otherwise.
I like dynamic range, and I enjoy loud bits - but I came away from Jason Bourne last summer (having watched it at Olympic Studios - arguably one of the UK's finest public cinemas, and about the only one I can bare to attend these days) feeling shattered. It was great mix, very creative - just very loud for sustained periods.
I do not think that measuring dialogue levels is the answer - they are not the problem, and it is rare for dialogue levels to be abused. It is the music/fx montages in action adventures, or the extreme use of level for SFX.
I go to many of the UK film industry's best (mostly private) screening rooms like the Dolby one as a BAFTA Film Awards judge - so see and hear many great films on truly well maintained systems. So I hear a large amount as well as a wide range of audio content, with my day job too as a predominantly broadcast post mixer.
Surely the answer must be in having an R128 type of loudness measurement, but with a range, not just a 0.5LU tolerance. One setting for action films, another for period dramas? Time for a traffic light system for films audio content?
So far the film industry has been its own worst enemy, and is crippling itself. I am sorry but you only have yourselves to blame. TV enjoys better (all be it restrictive) discipline where most things are about "right" - with loud bits allowed, and commercials fairly well contained these days. Yes its a bit "unusual" that a Jimi Hendrix doc is the same average loudness as a period drama, but it makes for a happier medium, but that is better than having everything turned down as happens in most multiplexes these days...

cosmotone 07-13-2017 08:12 AM

Cinema mixing levels poll
Hi Steven, thank you for posting the result of the survey. This is a very informative set of data and your analysis is quite interesting!
I've been wondering a lot lately about mixing levels and playback levels and how to solve the dilemma of a movie mixed at 7 and sounding too soft in cinemas where they play at 5 or so vs a movie mixed at a lower level to compensate for this but that turns out to be deafening if played at 7! How to keep everyone happy, from directors, producers and movie goers?
I haven't had the opportunity to reply to the survey but cinema isn't my only area of expertise, I generally mix at 82 on horn loaded speakers in small-ish Dolby certified facilities and try to be on the loud side (4 to 5 on your 7 scale). This allows for a mix that is powerful but not deafening if played back at 7 and not too soft if played back lower. But I wish we wouldn't have to make such compromises and be able to mix and screen at 7!
I've been asking myself if some kind of smart SPL limiting in the cinemas would be a solution as you would find in concert venues? If the soundtrack exceeds in the room a certain SPL level (105? 108?) for more than a certain amount of time, the limiter wild kick in. This should leave enough creative freedom, prevent abuses and protect the audience. But I'm not sure if it's the best solution though.

MIKEROPHONICS 07-14-2017 05:15 AM

Re: Cinema mixing levels poll
some interesting reading...the acoustics organisation of NZ look into do cinemas damage your hearing


Pete Gates 07-16-2017 09:47 AM

Re: Cinema mixing levels poll


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