Audio Levels and Quality Control Standards

The QC (quality control) restrictions for audio levels are very important for each delivery format. If levels are off scale, then the program will fail the QC process, so it is very important to use the correct tools to adjust and balance your final audio.

The dialog loudness meter LM100 and Media Meter created by Dolby Laboratories has developed meter ballistics into level scores. This has been developed further as part of on going research for an agreeable loudness-measuring model.

In 2010 The Calm Act was passed but a lot has changed since the 2010 FCC mandate.The current standard agreed upon is the ITU-R B.S.1770-4 or the fourth version of that model that is used by audio level meters such as Nugen VisLM2 and Izotope Insight2. Audio levels are given a specific score that only specialized audio meters can read. These meters will give a specific number for short term duration and the full program length duration. These audio scores are what will be included in the “Audio Section” of network specification sheets given to producers by broadcasters.

This audio score, along with minimum and maximum level restrictions, improve the mixed sound. Audio levels are intended to be consistent between different programs and insures a higher production value of broadcast content. Overall, this is a very good thing. One downside is that it is forcing more producers into the audio post process who are not accustomed to the audio post budget expense. This is of most concern to smaller independent filmmakers and television producers, since it is very difficult to final mix a project in Premier, Avid or Final Cut and have it pass the QC process. While video editing systems have some audio tools they cannot exercise the detail available in audio editing and mixing systems.

Audio Kitchen Post mixes with the quality control process in mind. This insures that the audio has the correct audio specification and will sound great whether you release is for broadcast television, film festival or internet presentation