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Loud TV commercials will get quieter starting next June

Discussion in 'TV Show Talk' started by Athlon646464, Aug 29, 2014.

  1. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Gold Members DBSTalk Gold Club

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    Loud TV commercials will get quieter starting next June

    (engadget.com) - Starting June 4th next year, an improved loudness measurement algorithm will be implemented that should make watching TV a bit more pleasant. How? It won't count the silent parts of an ad that can offset the commercial's average volume measurement, thus bringing the overall audio level down -- something that apparently hasn't been done before....

    Full Story Here

    [​IMG]
     
  2. yosoyellobo

    yosoyellobo Icon

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    I will believe it when I hear it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Athlon646464

    Athlon646464 Gold Members DBSTalk Gold Club

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    What was that? Say again?

    :hurah:
     
  4. Paul Secic

    Paul Secic Hall Of Fame

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    It probably won't work.
     
  5. dpeters11

    dpeters11 Hall Of Fame

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    I don't know, some of the worst offenders don't seem to have a lot of silent parts, like some of the lawyer ads where they talk fast etc.
     
  6. MikeW

    MikeW Hall Of Fame

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    How difficult can it possibly be to set a measurement of peaks and say you can't hit "peak value" more than x times per x seconds and can never exceed peak value?
     
  7. RunnerFL

    RunnerFL DIRECTV A-Team

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    No kidding. Isn't this the same speech we get every year telling us it's "next year"?
     
  8. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Sure is. Sure never happens. But, I rarely watch commercials so I don't really care.

    Rich
     
  9. yosoyellobo

    yosoyellobo Icon

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    I hate it when I fall asleep watching a show only to have the commercial wake me up. :)
     
  10. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Watch NF when you're sleepy. :rolling:

    Rich
     
  11. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

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    It is simple to do that, and that is what TV and radio have been doing for half a century. But that is not effective, and we all know it.

    The reason it is not effective is that loudness is a very different animal than a hard measurement of volume. Volume is based on a voltage measurement. It is subjective. Loudness is basically a power measurement of an objective quantity, but it is much more complex than that because our perception of loudness is based on a number of factors attached to that. Here is an example. You listen to the radio in your car, get home, go to bed, get up, get in your car, and your radio sounds much louder than when you exited the car the night before. And not because someone snuck in and turned up the volume, but because under different circumstances things sound louder or softer to human hearing, even if they are physically the same.

    Our ears don't really respond to volume; they actually respond to loudness, which is much different. Attempts to handle loudness in the analog era were based on volume levels. Commercial producers soon learned how to keep the volume peaks under control but still "up-compress" the dynamic range to get louder than that without violating the peaks and without invoking the limiters and compressors that were used at that time. By doing this they raised the aggregate energy level without raising the volume, but that aggregate energy is exactly what makes loud things sound loud to human hearing.

    With the advent of digital, we now have real tools that can control loudness. Dialnorm is metadata that is sent along with audio. Simply put, it can control the volume directly at your TV (it actually controls a local volume control in every ATSC STB). This allows full dynamic range and full control by the user. Dialog Intelligence is used to measure just dialog in TV sound. If there is a commercial with dialog, music, EFX, it can find just the dialog and measure it in LKFS, which is a relatively new loudness-weighted measurement.

    But what really will do the trick is ITU-BS.1770. This is an algorithm that can measure the loudness of dialog using Dialog Intelligence and allow the source supplier to easily convert all dialog to the same level. It ignores explosions and car crashes, because those are normally loud in nature and we tolerate them as loud in our TV audio. But when someone talks, and then a commercial comes on and someone talks perceptibly louder, we can't tolerate that. So as broadcasters we are using dialog as an anchor element in an attempt to make all dialog the same level.

    Studies show that non-dialog audio can be all over the place and we tolerate that. But if dialog rises by more than 2.4 dB or lowers by more than 5.4 dB, we reach for the remote.

    1770-1 came out in 2011 and 1770-2 came out in 2013, just a few months before the CALM rules were established, so the rules are based on 1770-1. That is the real meat, 1770-1. 1770-3 came out recently, and the new rules in June will be based on that, but it is only going to be an incremental improvement over 1770-1. Most TV stations already are using 1770-3 anyway. Also, the rules will cover both 2.0 audio and 5.1 audio, which strangely enough, can be the same level yet can be decoded at different levels due to something recently discovered called "loudness buildup". So the rules will be tighter.

    1770-2 introduced the concept ot gating, which is what ignores the silent parts. But since there rarely are any silent parts in a commercial, 1770-1 is just as effective. But 1770-2 will help regulate long form content. 1770-3 is designed to incorporate more control over multichannel audio, such as 5.1.

    But then that will still not automatically fix everything. During the first year of CALM being in effect, there were still some 13,000 complaints lodged, which averages out to about 90 per TV station. That number is going down steadily, though, as stations and networks begin to employ the new techniques. It will just take some time, maybe a couple more years, for loudness issues to be under control.
     

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