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Old January 12th, 2010, 12:14 PM   #16
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Thanks for the reply Steve. Iím still lost. If I send a dv tape to a cable station, they load the tape on to their nle, encode to what ever format they are using for insertion and put the file on their servers. Even if they encode on the fly they still must have some control over the audio level or there would be no need for a control tone at all. By setting the master at -10db for peaks it seems to me that we are leaving a bunch of dynamics on the cutting room floor.
I understand your statement on the older analog gear, but wouldnít the people who encode the file simply set the level where it needs to be?
Thanks, jm
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Old January 12th, 2010, 01:30 PM   #17
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But YOU are the one who encodes the file, not the broadcaster. They will specify the precise format of deliverables that they will accept. You prepare your tapes according to specs or they'll reject them. They load the tape, set levels according to the tone on the header, cue the first frame, and hit play at the right time. Note that there are differences between analog and digital SD and HD. You need to get hold of the deliverables technical specification document for the broadcaster or cable system you're submitting to. Some are really relaxed - others (PBS, Discovery, etc) are very precise and detailed. PBS is available online in the Producer's Red Book. For local broadcasters a call to the chief engineer will get you the info you need.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 01:52 PM   #18
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I get it that they have a standard for tapes, but why (on a global scale) do they limit peaks to -10db? Wouldn't it be a better audio product if we could use the whole dynamic range?

Thanks, j
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Old January 12th, 2010, 02:16 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by John Murphy View Post
I get it that they have a standard for tapes, but why (on a global scale) do they limit peaks to -10db? Wouldn't it be a better audio product if we could use the whole dynamic range?

Thanks, j
It allows for safety in the broadcast chain. Say some piece of equipment was out of calibration etc or someone had bumped a level up to high. Remember, these feeds often also go to affiliates. I have heard some wonky audio levels from local affiliates. (Due to a variety of reasons from equipment to personnel).

They tend to err on the side of safety. Some broadcasters are more concerned than others. Thus why you see a variance in standards.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 04:06 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Micky Hulse View Post
Sounds like you use your pro instincts to tweak the audio when needed to fit the current edit/situation/scene... Man, I would love to intern with you on your next project! :D

Know of any good online video tutorials, webpages, and/or books that might help me out? Hmm, maybe I should look around the Premiere and FCP sections of Lynda.com?
Start to develop an "ear" for what a good mix sounds like. Listen critically to movie (and TV) sound tracks. Even with the picture off if necessary to concentrate on the sound. How loud is the dialog? Does it change depending on distance (farther away characters not as loud?) How is music mixed when it is "under" dialog? Can you tell which dialog was recorded live on-location vs. what was ADR/looped later in a sound studio? Watch and listen for sound effects.

What part does the music play in the production? There are more 60-minute dramatic shows on TV these days where the music (even background levels) is a much bigger part of the storyline. Songs are selected to reinforce the mood of the scene or the character's emotions. Some shows even sell their own "soundtrack mix" CDs, etc.

Conversely, I recommend the same for people I am coaching on video shooting and editing. I recommend turning OFF the sound (which helps not get distracted by the storyline) and observing what kinds of shots are used, and how they are edited together.

If you want coaching, critique, etc. Take some examples of critical mixing/editing scenes and put them online somewhere where people here can see/hear them. Think of it as a "virtual internship." :-)
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Old January 18th, 2010, 04:21 PM   #21
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Yikes! I never got a notice that there were unread messages for this thread. Sorry for my late reply.

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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
You should be able to do a mono mix in your NLE and some monitor controllers (Mackie Big Knob, for instance) allow it in hardware as well.
Thanks! I will do this for my next edit. :)

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Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
Start to develop an "ear" for what a good mix sounds like. Listen critically to movie (and TV) sound tracks. Even with the picture off if necessary to concentrate on the sound. How loud is the dialog? Does it change depending on distance (farther away characters not as loud?) How is music mixed when it is "under" dialog? Can you tell which dialog was recorded live on-location vs. what was ADR/looped later in a sound studio? Watch and listen for sound effects.

What part does the music play in the production? There are more 60-minute dramatic shows on TV these days where the music (even background levels) is a much bigger part of the storyline. Songs are selected to reinforce the mood of the scene or the character's emotions. Some shows even sell their own "soundtrack mix" CDs, etc.

Conversely, I recommend the same for people I am coaching on video shooting and editing. I recommend turning OFF the sound (which helps not get distracted by the storyline) and observing what kinds of shots are used, and how they are edited together.

If you want coaching, critique, etc. Take some examples of critical mixing/editing scenes and put them online somewhere where people here can see/hear them. Think of it as a "virtual internship." :-)
Excellent advice! I can't wait to apply some of the above techniques to my next video edit.

I also like your idea of the "virtual internship"... Although, I do not think my edits are they type of quality you folks are used to seeing and/or producing. I consider myself to be very beginner, especially compared to all the pros found on these excellent forums. :D

Thanks again for the help and professional advice everyone! I greatly appreciate the help and guidance. :)

Have an excellent day!

Cheers,
Micky
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Old January 18th, 2010, 04:51 PM   #22
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Richard's comments are spot on and shed some light on what I think is a little appreciated or discussed element in the art of moving pictures. In the film "All That Jazz" Bob Fosse references the idea that dance is a series of pretty pictures flowing from one to the next. Film, with its roots in ballet and especially opera, is structured the same way. It is a series of finely composed still photographs in sequence - not referring to the mechanics of film as a series of still frames but rather the idea that a freeze frame of the action at each moment of peak dramatic tension should be a good still photograph capable of standing on its own in isolation. A scene in the film is a series of such dramatic stills sequenced together with the action flowing from one "decisive moment" to the next. That's not to say there's a cut at each such moment but the actor blocking, camera position, and camera movements work together to combine and create a smooth flow of these dramatic still images from one into the other in the rhythm of the scene's pacing. It's as if we're leading the audience through an art gallery, showing them a series of paintings that taken in sequence tell a story and shape the audience's emotions in the process. The audio mix is similar, moving the story along in the same way a symphony evolves through a series of movements and each movement has its own mood, pace, thematic statements, variations, and recapitulations.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 10:26 PM   #23
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Richard's comments are spot on and shed some light on what I think is a little appreciated or discussed element in the art of moving pictures. In the film "All That Jazz" Bob Fosse references the idea that dance is a series of pretty pictures flowing from one to the next. Film, with its roots in ballet and especially opera, is structured the same way. It is a series of finely composed still photographs in sequence - not referring to the mechanics of film as a series of still frames but rather the idea that a freeze frame of the action at each moment of peak dramatic tension should be a good still photograph capable of standing on its own in isolation. A scene in the film is a series of such dramatic stills sequenced together with the action flowing from one "decisive moment" to the next. That's not to say there's a cut at each such moment but the actor blocking, camera position, and camera movements work together to combine and create a smooth flow of these dramatic still images from one into the other in the rhythm of the scene's pacing. It's as if we're leading the audience through an art gallery, showing them a series of paintings that taken in sequence tell a story and shape the audience's emotions in the process. The audio mix is similar, moving the story along in the same way a symphony evolves through a series of movements and each movement has its own mood, pace, thematic statements, variations, and recapitulations.
Thanks for this! Excellent read. I am reminded of the Eadweard Muybridge photographs.

Thanks to all of you folks for the help, I really appreciate it. :)

Have an excellent day!

Cheers,
Micky
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