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Where's the 'mute' button? (Read 74528 times)
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Re: Where's the 'mute' button?
Reply #60 - Apr 5th, 2013, 9:19am
 
The latest BBC Blog regarding "loudness" may be found here.


Written by Ian Astbury (Senior Investigations Engineer), the blog goes into some detail regarding new practices.

"By shifting the emphasis towards controlling loudness rather than just audio level it’s hoped that better recordings with more natural dynamics will become the norm rather than the exception.

For broadcasters the main expectation is that the adoption of a common ‘loudness target’ will improve consistency. Programme interchange between production companies and broadcasters will benefit, leading to fewer gross loudness discrepancies for the listener.

The recommendations being adopted for loudness measurement are underpinned by a document with the snappy title ITU-R BS.1770-3 and are based on the subjective loudness of a range of typical types of programme."  



"Implementation of loudness control in the USA is now subject to legislation in the form of their Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) act. Similar legislation is also being adopted by some European countries. Guidance on how to comply can be found in EBU Recommendation R 128.

The application of Recommendation R 128 is not going to make a difference overnight, but we believe that it is a step in the right direction and are working with other broadcasters in the pursuit of a common loudness standard."  


A pdf of the I.T.U. "ITU-R BS.1770-3"  
(Algorithms to measure audio programme loudness and true-peak audio level)
document may be found here.


A little light reading for all.


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Re: Where's the 'mute' button?
Reply #61 - Apr 6th, 2013, 6:38am
 
But will ANYBODY be actually L I S T E N I N G to the recording at the time of origination and not depending on cheap grey boxes?? Undecided
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Re: Where's the 'mute' button?
Reply #62 - Jul 18th, 2013, 1:39pm
 
This is from "tvbeurope".

Robert Edwards, sound director for TV show Britain’s Got Talent was supplied with a DK-Technologies DK2 Audio and Loudness Meter by HHB Comunications. The Meter was used for the show’s final and semi-final episodes.

The Britain’s Got Talent 2013 final was one of the UK’s most-watched programmes of the year, with over 11 million viewers. Sound director Robert Edwards used the DK2 Meter to measure the live broadcast stream to check the programme's integrated LUFS level (the EBU loudness criteria). ITV maintains a dual acceptance policy for programme delivery, so programmes can be delivered with observance to the traditional +8dBm Peak level or to -23 LUFS (plus or minus 1 LUFS).

Did you watch the transmission? Were you aware of anything different?

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Re: Where's the 'mute' button?
Reply #63 - Aug 29th, 2013, 9:25pm
 
"The EBU Loudness Breakfast"...

The return of the EBU Loudness Breakfast will take place on Monday 16 September, 08.00-09.15.

"This year's EBU Loudness Breakfast reflects these trends. The session will include a review of the current state of play, including progress in adopting the standards, issues around automation and distribution, ways to maintain loudness in music production, applications for radio and the management of loudness in the cinema."


Information regarding the 2013 event as well as an update on progress may be found at this EBU web-site here.

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Re: Where's the 'mute' button?
Reply #64 - Sep 19th, 2013, 8:06am
 
The BBC Academy has a video presentation, describing the different ways of measuring 'sound'.

The video compares a PPM with a Loudnes meter measuring in "LUFS"

The video and introduction by John Heraty, (a BBC broadcast technology trainer), may be found here.


"The 2012 Proms saw BBC audio levels being measured in a new way for the first time in 80 years. John Heraty, a BBC broadcast technology trainer, looks at what has changed in sound monitoring technology and what this means for BBC audiences.

Peak loudness was previously measured by a simple wooden box called a Peak Programme Meter (PPM). This was simple but limited in its range and ability to measure loudness, as it only had a small gap between peak signal and distortion (known as headroom). New digital transmission systems have much larger ranges, and have extra headroom engineered into them.

When we listen to the radio or watch TV, our ear averages out the different frequencies it encounters – bass, treble and mid-range – but a PPM is not capable of making this differentiation. John explains how a loudness meter measures sound more accurately, by reflecting the way the ear hears different frequencies. He also looks at the True Peak Meter, used to check that there is no clipping or distortion on the digital signal.

Another reason for improving audio monitoring is audience complaints about varying loudness across different television programmes. A lack of smooth transition between - for example - a tense, quiet crime drama and a loud, lively talent show meant viewers were turning up their volume only to be blasted with sound when one programme ended and a trailer for another began. Now all BBC programmes are mastered to conform to a consistent average loudness, so that the viewer can set the volume once and then leave the remote control alone for the rest of their viewing."

The accompanying video also has some exterior views of ETD.
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Re: Where's the 'mute' button?
Reply #65 - Sep 19th, 2013, 7:44pm
 
"Peak loudness was previously measured by a simple wooden box called a Peak Programme Meter (PPM). This was simple but limited in its range and ability to measure loudness, as it only had a small gap between peak signal and distortion (known as headroom). New digital transmission systems have much larger ranges, and have extra headroom engineered into them."

"...simple wooden box....?" Words fail me!

This person is allegedly a trainer in broadcast technology?

I'll leave it to those more qualified to comment on audio matters to be more specific about why it's a load of **ite!!
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Re: Where's the 'mute' button?
Reply #66 - Sep 21st, 2013, 12:42pm
 
A coffin could also be described as a simple wooden box. Handy for burying sound quality in I suppose.
Dave
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Re: Where's the 'mute' button?
Reply #67 - Sep 29th, 2013, 5:59pm
 
Had a "Senior Technologist" on Points of View commenting on a viewer's video insert complaining of too loud continuity breaks.  Blamed on the PPM not being able to accurately show loudness.  But the new loudness meter being phased in soon would address the problem.

Perleeeese!!  [sorry about the street talk, but it seems apt]

Continuity announcers and adverts trails deliberately use compression and hammer 6 on the PPM!  And they don't have sound staff anymore who'd duck the fader.

Richard
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Re: Where's the 'mute' button?
Reply #68 - Sep 29th, 2013, 6:37pm
 
The 'Points Of View' item was disgraceful!
Does anyone actually listen to the output?
Is there such a thing as "Quality Monitoring"?

Ah that department "Continuity"!
With ears, eyes, a good environment and enough 'clout' to make the powers that be, pay attention.
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Re: Where's the 'mute' button?
Reply #69 - Sep 30th, 2013, 8:48am
 
So now it's official - a special meter needs to be built because no one at the BBC can hear when one sound level is louder than the next!! What nonsense! How about paying someone to sit there and listen to the output to ensure continuity!
But I suppose when you have to make choices between paying someone to do that and keeping your management focused.......
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Re: Where's the 'mute' button?
Reply #70 - Sep 30th, 2013, 10:46am
 
Any volunteers?
I wonder if 'they' were to make a 'phone number available to a few selected individuals (with experience) whose opinion and judgement was respected, could ring in to RED BEE (or whoever is now responsible for 'continuity'), so that a balanced view could be logged into a system?

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Re: Where's the 'mute' button?
Reply #71 - Sep 30th, 2013, 11:31am
 
A well respected ex member of the Pebble Mill Sound department sat on the study group that looked into sound levels.  (Can't lay my hands on the URL for it) And the report basically said things were wrong and should be corrected, by training amongst other recommendations.

Another case of loads of money spent, and then all ignored.

Trouble is we still have the mandarins in charge who think they know best.  Get rid of them, saving money at the same time!  And they could always reduce the vast marketing budget and spend some of that on more quality monitoring.  At least on BBC1 and 2.

Richard
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Re: Where's the 'mute' button?
Reply #72 - Sep 30th, 2013, 1:01pm
 
I'm sorry, but this has gone far enough.

You don't need fancy meters,
you don't need a room full of researchers,
you don't need university graduates,
you don't need (yet) another committee.

All you need is someone who can prehear the next item / programme trail / insert and then (through experience) control the fader before it's faded up!!

It's called "Continuity".

It's the way it used to be,
when humans were in charge, not 'servers', when a single human monitored a network for a long period,  in a known environment, and was able to accompany the viewer or listener so that there were no sudden sound level changes. They could help the listener enjoy the programme.

May I suggest:-
one room,
one screen,
one pair of speakers and
one telephone (to the network controller), which, when combined with a regular supply of coffee and tea and sandwiches, would drop the number of complaints of audio levels to zero.

Flashing LEDs are too late, and there's nothing wrong with a PPM when associated with a decent pair of experienced ears.
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Re: Where's the 'mute' button?
Reply #73 - Oct 1st, 2013, 8:50pm
 
Well said Amigo! At last a job that retired staff could take on very economically in the years before they get into their wooden boxes!

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Re: Where's the 'mute' button?
Reply #74 - Jan 17th, 2014, 1:46pm
 
Don't get your hopes up, but they've listened.
"The BBC Academy is presenting a series of events around the UK to raise awareness of loudness and audibility issues in TV sound among BBC staff, indies, freelancers and external suppliers."

YES, courses have been organised  to give broadcasters an appreciation of the problem and solutions!  And, in it's black and white!
"All UK broadcasters, including the BBC, are striving to increase audio quality for television and reduce the number of complaints from viewers about audibility and loudness.
Loudness complaints are about jumps in sound levels around programme junctions which cause viewers to adjust the volume controls on their TV remotes. In 2013, all the major UK broadcasters, through the Digital Production Partnership (DPP), introduced a common technical standard for the delivery of programmes which includes loudness regulation.
This DPP specification also demands that “dialogue should be acquired and mixed so that it is clear and easy to understand”. This is of importance to the significant proportion of viewers that suffer age-related hearing impairment.
While the use of excessive levels of background music is mainly a post-production issue, the DPP spec also acknowledges the importance of recording good dialogue on location. Furthermore, audio clarity is not just a technical problem. Many complaints relate to indistinct delivery of speech by actors, presenters and contributors, so directors also  have a role to play in ensuring that dialogue is conveyed clearly."

It's well worth a read and maybe, just maybe, there's hope for us on the horizon?
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