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Old 03-20-2009, 09:51 AM
DJH DJH is offline
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Default Loudness during broadcast

I mix TV spots, and I can't stand the race to be the loudest. I would say I mix relatively conservatively compared to many of the spots on air.

But sometimes you have those producers who want everything loud, loud, loud!

So I did a spot a few days ago. The producer said he wanted it to sound "like a movie trailer." So we did it up with lots of giant whooshes, explosions, etc.

He kept saying, "I want it to be really loud. Can you push it any louder?"

So, against my better judgement, I really pushed the limiter on the explosions and other loud sounds.

Everything sounded great in my room. The explosions were full, and had lots of bass and impact. But I heard the spot on air, through my 5.1 surround system on my TV at home, and the explosions sounded very flat, and almost no bass! Even when I turned the sub up.

So my question is this: By pushing the limiter so hard, thereby reducing dynamic range, does that lessen the impact of the "loud" sounds. Would it be better to mix the rest of the spot softer, and have the explosions just hit the threshold on the limiter.

I feel like broadcast facilities tamper with mixes anyway.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 03-20-2009, 10:05 AM
rhumphries rhumphries is offline
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Default Re: Loudness during broadcast

Short answer is, yes, you probably got squashed by a broadcast limiter somewhere down the line.

Have you seen this?:

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/post-...x-podcast.html

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Old 03-20-2009, 10:51 AM
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O.G. Killa O.G. Killa is offline
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Default Re: Loudness during broadcast

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJH View Post
So my question is this: By pushing the limiter so hard, thereby reducing dynamic range, does that lessen the impact of the "loud" sounds.
In general, yes it does. apparent loudness is relative... What makes something loud is the fact that something quiet happens before and after it. By limiting it, you are making it louder...but you could also look at it the opposite way, you are making it quieter because the volume difference between the peaks and the average is less.
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Old 03-20-2009, 12:14 PM
Kuba Pietrzak Kuba Pietrzak is offline
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Default Re: Loudness during broadcast

Welcome to this hell, DJH

As you may notice, in a commercial industry, the perceived loudness of the spot is one of the most important factor, for which clients judge mixer's work. You may like it or not, but that's the way it is.
When you create a soundtrack for a commercial, you need to have in mind that your sounds are going to be put though a heavy compression, so if you start cutting sounds to need to make right choices.
Mixing spots is really different, than mixing shows for tv and mixing feature films for cinema - it requiers different approaches and experience, because it is not like "anything else for tv but shorter". So you need to establish what kind of compression is actually needed - if you do not compress enough, the spot will not loud enough; but if you compress it too much, the spot will not be loud enough eighter, because of broadcast limiters. So it comes to using compressor, limiters, eqs and carefull planing in which freq band this or that sound should appear to be heard and not to add unwanted (and unheard) energy...

good luck
Kuba
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Old 03-20-2009, 01:56 PM
hef hef is offline
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Default Re: Loudness during broadcast

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJH View Post

So I did a spot a few days ago. The producer said he wanted it to sound "like a movie trailer." So we did it up with lots of giant whooshes, explosions, etc.

He kept saying, "I want it to be really loud. Can you push it any louder?"

So, against my better judgement, I really pushed the limiter on the explosions and other loud sounds.
Thanks
What did you set your limiter to?
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  #6  
Old 03-20-2009, 06:15 PM
EarHole EarHole is offline
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Default Re: Loudness during broadcast

Déja Vü

Man this happened to me two weeks ago. Client was in the mix studio with me. They were very happy. Mixes had a ton of elements and FX design. Commented on how great the last spots we mixed sounded on air.
Next day I'm getting calls because it doesn't sound as full
as a major motion picture downloaded through on demand at the edit house. I explained the "Broadcast Chain" and how I could guarantee my mix would hold up and sound great on the air on any speakers big and small. They opted to use the version with no limiting or compression. Balls to the walls, whatever goes, more bass, make it louder. I explained that it would get killed on air and they were fine with that.

All you can do is offer your professional opinion and then let them make the mistake if they insist.
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Old 03-21-2009, 05:35 AM
SwirlyD SwirlyD is offline
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Default Re: Loudness during broadcast

I have seen the exact same commercial I mixed (and other comms as well) on different senders and they can sound completely different as each sender has their own settings (the more mainstream "commercial" the channel, the louder I've noticed)....I've also noticed that the perception of loudness can be changed depending on what spot you follow - I enjoy doing sound for commercials until the end, when I have to "squash" them. At that moment, all the joy vanishes and I feel like I'm listening to someone scratch their nails on a chalkboard. I hate the idea that it is more important to consider "is it loud enough" than "does it sound GOOD", but this seems, with my clients anyway, to be the main factor. Also, come clients feel their commercial has to stand out the most and if it's not the loudest spot in the block, they will complain anyway! Personally, I think it all works against them as most people I know (including me, except when I'm checking mixes) mute the commercials because they're too damn loud!! I suppose within a few generations, the human race will be deaf anyway....
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Old 03-24-2009, 03:52 AM
lode lode is offline
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Default Re: Loudness during broadcast

This might be a tip, or you might find it both obvious and insulting of me but here goes:

One thing I always do is to work with the final limiter on. That way I always hear if it works as I lay voice, fx & music in. Basically I'm mixing from the start of the job. This way I have a realistic idea of how things will sound in the end.
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Old 03-24-2009, 10:13 AM
tj_davies tj_davies is offline
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Default Re: Loudness during broadcast

Quote:
Originally Posted by lode View Post
This might be a tip, or you might find it both obvious and insulting of me but here goes:

One thing I always do is to work with the final limiter on. That way I always hear if it works as I lay voice, fx & music in. Basically I'm mixing from the start of the job. This way I have a realistic idea of how things will sound in the end.
Wow,

I'd hate to work that way. I'd rather have a great sounding mix of everything and then master it for broadcast.

Having a limiter on all the time changes the way you set your volume during the mix. Turning off the limiter - afterwards - would change the proportions/volume levels completely and the mix would sound all over the place.

Actually I find it easier to get it loud, when mixing it properly before mastering: evening out the levels manually by automation and soft compression. If you then master your mix, it's not too hard to get it loud for broadcast.

But then again, that's just my opinion.
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Old 03-24-2009, 02:11 PM
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Bob Olhsson Bob Olhsson is offline
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Default Re: Loudness during broadcast

Straight from the horse's mouth:

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