Audio levels in post and are they right?

Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews Forums Technique Sound Audio levels in post and are they right?

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    • #41799

      I know that speaker systems you can buy for you computer are not all equal. I know that some sound cards, separate or integrated in the mo-bo are not all equal. I know that low end stuff today out performs some of the mid to high end stuff of just a few years ago.


      When editing, I use my ear and what I hear out of my speakers as the gauge for what I want my videos to sound like. What I don’t know is am I doing it right? By right I mean proper volume, highs and lows coming across correctly, scene audio and music soundtrack levels are not fighting each other to be heard. Is the bass to deep and the treble to flat? Is the overall audio too loud or too soft for typical playback? Do you feel the bass with volume set at 10 or do you hear it comfortably with volume set at 45? What is the standard?

      Are there tools, books, training material out there that one can look into to learn/confirm if one is doing it right?

    • #176763

      You have to use your ears to judge whether your audio is clashing or not. One thing you never do is use only your speakers to judge how loud your audio is. You need to look at the audio meters of your NLE or sound editing program.

      When you look at your audio meters and turn down the speakers on your volume, you can clearly see that turning down the volume doesn’t affect your audio meters. The audio is still there. That is why you don’t judge how loud your audio is just by listening to it.

      I usually adjust my audio so it’s hangin around -12dB and does not peak above -6dB. If you have audio that sounds too soft, but is already at -12dB, use a compressor/limit filter. Actually, you should pretty much always use the compressor/limiter on dialogue. It makes it stand out more

    • #176764

      I’m glad someone brough this up as I have struggled with this myself being fairly new to the industry.

      I am putting together a documentary to air on PBS. There standard is here:

      You can see there levels are -26 to -22 dBFS with an allowable peak of -2dBFS for emphasis(with other rules about not overriding dialog). There are different levels for 5.1 programming specified to along with a lot of other information.

      Just as information from one “standard”.

    • #176765
      Grinner Hester

      If you are not setting up to tone you are flying as blind as onlining without scopes for video levels. It’s what it’s for… not to remove or create cuss words in bad reality shows.

    • #176766

      Also most NLE and particularly AWS programs have level sliders you use to control your levels. Generally you ‘Zero Out’ your audio by setting up your tone at 0db. Depending on your audio requirements or the standard your client requests like the one 210 mentioned you make adjustments to your peaks within those parameters. I’ve found over the years to trust my level meters more than what I hear out of the speakers. You can have great reference monitors and the audio sounds great on your system. Put it on another with a different speaker set up and it sounds like crap or despite your solid mix, there are sound elements that aren’t transmitting. But whenever I’ve set good base tone, make my adjustments around it and keep an eye on what my level meters are doing during the mix, it generally works out.

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