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  #1  
Old 05-13-2011, 07:13 AM
TAFF TAFF is offline
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Default Dolby 7. Is everybody mixing at this level?

Well I mixed a film and had a screening at a local multiplex. I wasn't dismayed at the quality of the mix. It translated very well but by the actual volume it was playing at. Producers looked at me after the screening and said "What do you think?" I said "It was quiet wasn't it" Although the mix sounded sonically correct i could hardly hear the subs. After having a word with the projectionist i found out to my horror that it was played at 4.5.

I came back to my theatre . Lowered my CP650 to 4.5 and listened back. Yes it sounded the same as the multiplex mix. Good i thought, not us then!

My question is though to everyone. Are you lowering your CP650 monitoring to compensate for the projectionist lowering the volume at the multiplex's?

If you are what ref are you monitoring at 5 or 6 or are you like me sticking with 7 because "THAT IS WHAT IS RIGHT"!!!

Rant over fellow duc'ers. Everybody must get this problem. Dolby sort it out!!

Taff
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  #2  
Old 05-13-2011, 08:22 AM
soundworx soundworx is offline
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Default Re: Dolby 7. Is everybody mixing at this level?

It's my experience that most theaters here in holland play at 5.5. With that knowledge it depends on the kind of movie and the director at what level I mix, but usually no lower than 6...

I just finished a film where the director wanted it loud, I mixed at 5.8 - on his request - and when we did the printmaster, the dial went up to 7 again and the dialogue was irritatingly loud, the action scenes where unbearable... I hope nobody gets to "experience" this film played back on 7.

Dolby can't do anything about it... Because of loud commercials and insufficient isolation in multiplex theaters, the owners/operators will always turn down the volume
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  #3  
Old 05-13-2011, 08:52 AM
JKD99 JKD99 is online now
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Default Re: Dolby 7. Is everybody mixing at this level?

IMHO, we need to keep the standard that 7 on the cinema processor =85db; otherwise you're chasing a moving target.
We need to impress upon the producers that the mix is correct on the stage, at the printmaster. Once it leaves here, it is all up to the projectionist, and of course the engineering "staff" of the theater.
Sad but true, once it leaves the stage it's the wild wild west out there.
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  #4  
Old 05-13-2011, 09:44 AM
dr sound dr sound is offline
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Default Re: Dolby 7. Is everybody mixing at this level?

During last Thanksgiving weekend I had a Feature Film in the Theaters that I mixed called "Faster". I went to a Theater with all my family and when the opening credits came on the left speaker was out and the mix was real low.
I ran out and found the manager and ... then she told me we play our mixes at 4.5 on the Dolby Box...WTF?
Well I took my family to another Theater chain and saw a beautiful Christy Digital projection and the opening credits came up and ALL THE SPEAKERS WERE WORKING!! Then guess what, the level was low!
I ran out again and found the manager and she told me "we play all movies at 5 on the Dolby Box otherwise we will blow out our speakers"!!!
I told her your speakers will be fine then pleaded with her to play it at 7.
After 5 minutes of pleading she said she would play it at 6.5 not 7.
Went back into the theater and semi enjoyed a close to reference level playback.

There are Cinema Chains that play all movies between 4.5 and 5 no matter what. Well then I will ask for the movie to be played back at reference.
If they don't, I will watch the movie and then ask for a refund.
I'm not getting 100% of what the Director or Mixers created then why should they get 100% of the ticket price!!!
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  #5  
Old 05-13-2011, 10:38 AM
danijel danijel is offline
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Default Re: Dolby 7. Is everybody mixing at this level?

Here's my reality - theaters in Belgrade, Serbia (and I've discussed this with ALL the theater managers, and visited the projection booths many times) all gravitate around 5 to 5.5. Lowest I've seen is 4.5, and there is one that was 6.5 (wow!).
So, when I'm mixing primarily for the domestic exploitation, I do it at 5.5. That is around 6dB lower then 7, and the dialog on average measures -25 LKFS, only two dB off compared to my TV mixes.
On the other hand, art-house films, whose main target are festivals of better reputation, I do at 6.5. Any good festival will have a Dolby representative come and set all the rooms a couple of days before the festival. But every time I enter the projection booth, they're at 6.5! I will not say which festivals are those, because I suspect the Dolby people themselves are skewing the '7' standard in an effort to be realistic....
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  #6  
Old 05-13-2011, 10:45 AM
tom_lowe tom_lowe is offline
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Default Re: Dolby 7. Is everybody mixing at this level?

Danijel, are you mixing through a CP650? Out of curiosity, do these relate to any standard scale?
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  #7  
Old 05-13-2011, 10:56 AM
danijel danijel is offline
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Default Re: Dolby 7. Is everybody mixing at this level?

The common answer by the theater managers, when asked why they keep the processor at 5.5 is that the American movies are too loud, and people complain. But since American movies play with subtitles, it is not a big deal if the dialog is too low. The problem arises when domestic movies are played, and the dialog gets lost at this volume (and this is the problem in all 'foreign' language countries.) So, we have this simple solution, and that is, to turn the volume down when mixing. We lose some headroom, but I don't consider it a big deal.
The bitter end, I guess, is in the hands of the English-language mixers, who do work at 7, blowing their heads off on action scenes even with ear-pads, and in the end, their dialog gets played at 4.5, and there is nothing they can do about it.
Can someone chime in - at what level are films played at the Chinese Theatre, or other big venues in LA?

EDIT: I forgot to mention that, off course, I have to printmaster at 7
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  #8  
Old 05-13-2011, 11:00 AM
danijel danijel is offline
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Default Re: Dolby 7. Is everybody mixing at this level?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tom_lowe View Post
Danijel, are you mixing through a CP650? Out of curiosity, do these relate to any standard scale?
Yes, CP650, and it's also installed in the better half of movie theaters here.
As for the Dolby 'scale', I don't know of any official measurement, but I think 0.5 on the Dolby pot is around 2dB, but I think it is not a linear scale, so don't take my word for it. Pink at 5.5 should produce around 79dB SPL.
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  #9  
Old 05-13-2011, 11:05 AM
tom_lowe tom_lowe is offline
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Default Re: Dolby 7. Is everybody mixing at this level?

Quote:
Originally Posted by danijel View Post
Yes, CP650, and it's also installed in the better half of movie theaters here.
As for the Dolby 'scale', I don't know of any official measurement, but I think 0.5 on the Dolby pot is around 2dB, but I think it is not a linear scale, so don't take my word for it. Pink at 5.5 should produce around 79dB SPL.
I was about to ask, does "Dolby 7" get calibrated to 85dB SPL - seems you already answered that! Cheers.
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  #10  
Old 05-13-2011, 11:24 AM
garnoil garnoil is offline
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Default Re: Dolby 7. Is everybody mixing at this level?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dr sound View Post
During last Thanksgiving weekend I had a Feature Film in the Theaters that I mixed called "Faster". I went to a Theater with all my family and when the opening credits came on the left speaker was out and the mix was real low.
I ran out and found the manager and ... then she told me we play our mixes at 4.5 on the Dolby Box...WTF?
Well I took my family to another Theater chain and saw a beautiful Christy Digital projection and the opening credits came up and ALL THE SPEAKERS WERE WORKING!! Then guess what, the level was low!
I ran out again and found the manager and she told me "we play all movies at 5 on the Dolby Box otherwise we will blow out our speakers"!!!
I told her your speakers will be fine then pleaded with her to play it at 7.
After 5 minutes of pleading she said she would play it at 6.5 not 7.
Went back into the theater and semi enjoyed a close to reference level playback.

There are Cinema Chains that play all movies between 4.5 and 5 no matter what. Well then I will ask for the movie to be played back at reference.
If they don't, I will watch the movie and then ask for a refund.
I'm not getting 100% of what the Director or Mixers created then why should they get 100% of the ticket price!!!
I have seen a similar issue and it sucked but my question is: Isn't it Dolby labs who establishes the volume standard and aligns each theatre to play at a given reference level (85dbC slow re:20dbfs pink). Why is the manager allowed to set the volume to their liking? and what is even worse (no offense DR Sound), if the manager of the theatre actually changes the volume up or down because a customer complains (even if that customer is the very knowlegable DR. Sound...again no offense) does this not say that there is really no standard as any "manager" (usually business people and not sound people) can set the level at whatever they want? So why is Dolby so picky about licensing studios that do not meet the 85dbC, or are too small, or have speakers that do not go down to 40Hz. All these technicalities that we have been adhering to seem kind of useless when they can drop the volume up and down at will.

Can someone tell me what it means in dbs to change the volume of the Theatre Dolby amplifier/processor from 7 to 4? What is each notch represent in terms of dbs...from what Dr, Sound implies it appears that each number represents at least a 3 db increment. So, if they are usually playing at volume 7 and they drop to 4 that would equal a 12 db drop in film volume (assuming each number notch is 3db). That is a huge volume change that would certainly account for an extreme loss of bass information simply because of the non-linearity of ear on a soundtrack dropped 12 dbs from normalized mixed. If one mixes at 85dbC and then one drops the volume to 73dbC (a 12 db SPL drop) the mix will sound completely different.
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