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Uniform volume while recording DVDs

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2 replies to this topic

#1 of 3 OFFLINE   Jigesh Patel

Jigesh Patel

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Posted July 02 2003 - 11:48 PM

I was wondering whether there exists any specification for recording studios regarding initial volume level (signal amplitude) to record on DVDs. Let me explain. I have always wondered why I need to adjust receiver's master volumes almost everytime I play different DVDs (say, all with DD 5.1). Once I calibrate with Avia/VE, and once I set master volume to comfortable listening level, why should one need to change master volume for different discs? Of course, if there's some part with "whispers" or subtle sounds, may be adjustment is necessary to comprehend that part - but why for the entire discs? Thank you. Jigesh

#2 of 3 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted July 03 2003 - 02:17 AM

Let me ask this: how do you take an entire movie and pick one part to be a 'typical' volume level for the movie so you can set this to some reference? You cant. Audio levels are mastered by a human. It's more art than science. A sound engineer sits in a production studio and decides second-to-second how loud the dialog, music, effects are. At times the music swells to dominate, other times the same music is a faint whisper. I used to work on a system that tried to set the audio levels for 30 second radio commercials. The goal was to have commercials that stayed at a consistant 'average' volume so as to not blast the listener with one, then make them adjust the volume up to hear the next. The industry could not agree on how to define a "average" volume for a spot. In the end, a manual system was used with software that would play the last 3 seconds of 1 commercial next to the first 3 seconds of the second. This allowed a human to adjust the 2 levels for a smooth transition. As long as you have your system level-adjusted to compensate for your equipment and seating distances, you still have to adjust the main volume control to taste for each movie. And yes, some movies need the center volume bumpped up a bit. But remember: one of the things that make a DVD superior to tape/cable is the huge dynamic range of sounds and volume it can carry. Asking that volume levels stay closer to some 'average' value is like taking away some colors from a painter, or removing some strong spices from a chef. While sometimes unpleasant or too-quiet, it's part of the experience.

#3 of 3 OFFLINE   Jigesh Patel

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Posted July 03 2003 - 02:35 AM

I see, Bob. Hmmm...good point of view - food for thought! Thank you. Jigesh

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