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  #1  
Old 08-03-2005, 10:03 AM
Starcrash Starcrash is offline
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Default Room Calibration and Levels for LE

The "room calibration" sticky thread is tremendously helpful, however I still have a question which seems more appropriate to ask in a new thread:
When mixing ITB in LE (no analog meters, no analog console or summing bus), how should I approach film/video mixing levels? What I have been doing is using the PAZ Meters from Waves on the master fader. I try to keep a nominal level of -20 with peaks up to -10. Am I on the right track? I am a little unsure of myself because when I look at my final mix, the waveforms look so puny. I do come from a music background so my first instinct is mix loud(!), so I am re-educating myself. I have gotten one complaint about levels being too low, but I am mostly dealing with student picture editors and filmmakers who are less experienced with audio. When we mixed one show on a real dub stage, we used Dorrough meters set to -20dbFS=0VU and the summing to each stem was analog. Those meters are super-cool! In the meantime, how can I best achieve proper levels with my modest setup.
BTW, I have already calibrated my monitors to 85spl with my Radio Shack gizmo.

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Old 08-03-2005, 10:10 AM
iamstudios iamstudios is offline
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Default Re: Room Calibration and Levels for LE

When you talk -20 do you mean PEAK level or AVERAGE? -20 dbFS peak is quite low indeed...
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Old 08-03-2005, 10:14 AM
Starcrash Starcrash is offline
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Default Re: Room Calibration and Levels for LE

Thank you, as I said "...-20 nominal(average)...peaks up to -10".
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Old 08-03-2005, 10:17 AM
Charles D. Ballard Charles D. Ballard is offline
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Default Re: Room Calibration and Levels for LE

Quote:
When you talk -20 do you mean PEAK level or AVERAGE? -20 dbFS peak is quite low indeed...
I think he's talking -20dB average. With the new digital cinema standard, maybe we can finally settle on -20dBFS = 0dBu = 85dBSPL.
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Old 08-03-2005, 10:18 AM
iamstudios iamstudios is offline
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Default Re: Room Calibration and Levels for LE

Sorry You know I've been looking for a good metering solution ITB too, we used to use Spectrafoo but it isn't compatible with HD on mac os X. It had Bob Katz' K-metering integrated, got some great sounding mixes with it... PAZ is about the only metering plug I know of..
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Old 08-03-2005, 10:22 AM
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Default Re: Room Calibration and Levels for LE

Quote:
I try to keep a nominal level of -20 with peaks up to -10. Am I on the right track? .... BTW, I have already calibrated my monitors to 85spl with my Radio Shack gizmo.
you are on the right track...but...the -10 is really a broadcast limit. in a film, you can go higher than that, escpecially for loud things like explosions and such. you may need to work harder to get your AVERAGE levels up, or the PERCEIVED loudness of your mixes. also, since your room is calibrated, how do things sound? too loud? not loud enough? one of the reasons for the room level is so you can use your ears, not the gear (the meters).

how did your stems translate to the dub stage? how were the levels?

these student directors may be listening with their monitors truned down on crappy speakers in a noisy room.... sure, if they listen to your mix with a 65 SPL monitor level, your mix will sound low. was the complaint for how it played in the theater?
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Old 08-03-2005, 10:23 AM
Starcrash Starcrash is offline
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Default Re: Room Calibration and Levels for LE

Thanks Charles, I agree 100% with the standard -20dbFS=0VU=85 SPL. My real question is am I achieving this correctly with my described method? Oh BTW , I know this thread is more about "levels" than "room calibration," but I was inspired by the "RC" sticky thread to write this.
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Old 08-03-2005, 10:33 AM
Starcrash Starcrash is offline
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Default Re: Room Calibration and Levels for LE

Quote:
Quote:
I try to keep a nominal level of -20 with peaks up to -10. Am I on the right track? .... BTW, I have already calibrated my monitors to 85spl with my Radio Shack gizmo.
you are on the right track...but...the -10 is really a broadcast limit. in a film, you can go higher than that, escpecially for loud things like explosions and such. you may need to work harder to get your AVERAGE levels up, or the PERCEIVED loudness of your mixes. also, since your room is calibrated, how do things sound? too loud? not loud enough? one of the reasons for the room level is so you can use your ears, not the gear (the meters).

how did your stems translate to the dub stage? how were the levels?

these student directors may be listening with their monitors truned down on crappy speakers in a noisy room.... sure, if they listen to your mix with a 65 SPL monitor level, your mix will sound low. was the complaint for how it played in the theater?
Thanks Minister. The levels sounded great on the dub stage except I did hear a lot of problems that I missed on my modest setup at home. As for the "student director" in question, I think he was probably listening on his dumb little computer speakers in his dorm room after importing the stems into FCP. Also, thanks for making the point about broadcast limit vs. film/theater peaks.
Thanks everyone. I feel better now
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Old 08-03-2005, 10:40 AM
Charles D. Ballard Charles D. Ballard is offline
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Default Re: Room Calibration and Levels for LE

I know. My post was a little OT because I was answering imperium's question, then just though I'd make my opinion known.. However, after I hit the "reply" link, I left the room for...well...anyway, I came back and posted my answer, but you had already answered the question.

As far as metering ITB, it really defeats the purpose.
  • The -20dBFS is the digital level. You can meter this with software meters just fine.
  • The 0dBu is the analogue level. You can simulate these levels in software, but because it's not measuring actual output, you can never be sure.

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