Disparate audio levels on DVDs

Discussion in 'DVD' started by BillGo, May 27, 2004.

  1. BillGo

    BillGo Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 9, 2004
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    I find that audio levels on DVDs seem to vary significantly.

    I know that Dolby Digital includes a feature called Dialog Normalization. This is supposed to provide an offset which should result in correct playback levels on all DD tracks by setting the same volume level on your processor or receiver. However, this doesn't always seem to be true.

    DTS tracks do not have the DialNorm feature but usually play back at 5 to 6db louder than DD tracks.

    Another problem is that even when setting playback for a normal dialog level, opening logos and menu audio levels are sometimes excessively loud, especially MGM DVDs.

    My approach to the problem is to place a small typed label inside each DVD case indicating the correct level setting for that film. However, that doesn't solve the problem of the opening logos and menus.

    Is anybody else bugged by this problem? I wonder if the studios ever listen to their DVDs.
  2. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

    Jan 6, 2004
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    I find that the trailers seem to be excessively loud. I can't imagine that it would be that difficult to create a dvd with one sound level.
  3. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie

    Jul 30, 2003
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    North of the 49th
    Real Name:
    Stephen J. Hill
    This doesn't only happen with DVDs. The trailers my theatre receives are always mastered @ a much louder level than the feature, so we have to dial back the volume in the processor program for the trailers, then have it return to normal level for the feature. It's a pain in the butt.
  4. Harminder

    Harminder Second Unit

    Apr 24, 2003
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    Not that I'm bugged, but I can understand why some movies are set at certain audio levels. Usually because of the date the movie was produced or the bit rate.

    To solve this problem, I write in the NOTES section of each DVD in DVD Profiler what the preferable volume is for each movie on my HT.

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