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  1. #11
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    An interesting story in today's Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/st...527946,00.html):

    Stephen Brook
    Thursday July 14, 2005
    The Guardian

    It is a practice that has viewers lunging across the room for the remote but has been long denied by the TV networks; finally there was proof yesterday that broadcasters manipulate commercial breaks to make them sound louder.

    Television channels have maintained that they do not turn up the volume on advertisements and always play by the rules, namely the Committee of Advertising Practice (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code.

    But yesterday the advertising watchdog found Five had broken the rules and made commercials shown during the broadcast of Groundhog Day in March sound louder than the Bill Murray comedy.

    "The film contained several scenes of quiet dialogue, some of which immediately preceded advertising breaks," the Advertising Standards Authority said in an adjudication prompted by a viewer complaint.

    "Advertisement soundtracks featuring highly compressed sound played during these breaks appeared particularly strident."

    After Five checked its transmission tapes and denied it had breached the rules, the ASA asked the technical department of the media watchdog, Ofcom, to investigate.

    It concluded that almost all the advertisements "sounded subjectively louder than the main content of the surrounding film" because Five had used audio compression. This resulted in "almost constant loudness".

    The ASA warned the channel to monitor its broadcasts.
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  2. #12
    Senior Member SC358's Avatar
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    Well, well, well.... daver was right about the compression part.
    But the media watchdog, Ofcom only said, "... sounded subjectively louder...". Since no regulations were broken, I guess this practice will be continued. That is annoying - isn't it??

    It use to be that if viewers complained to the station, things would change but how many complaints will they really get?

    Does the viewer still have/hold the power??
    SC358
    Relationships are based on compromises - behavior accepted is behavior repeated.

  3. #13
    Whether through compression or other means, some commercials are louder than the surrounding program. Here is an elementary description of why you can't use a VU meter:

    Meters which monitor audio levels are typically one of two varieties: VU (Volume Unit) or PPM (Peak Program Meters). Though both perform the same function, they accomplish the function in very different manners. A VU meter displays the average volume level of an audio signal. A PPM displays the peak volume level of an audio signal. Analogy: The average height of the Himalayan Mountains is 18,000 feet (VU), but Mt. Everest's peak is 29,000+ feet (PPM).

    For a steady state sine wave tone, the difference between the average level (VU) and the peak level (PPM) is about 3 dB. But for a complex audio signal (speech or music), the difference between the average level (VU) and the peak level (PPM) can be 10 to 12 dB! This difference between the reading of a VU meter and a PPM is known as the crest factor.

    10 to 12dB! That's the difference between a hair dryer and a chainsaw.

    As far as the perception debate goes; if a car looks black to everyone...its black. Even though a color sample says it's navy blue.

    If I have to turn down the volume when a commercial comes on, then it's louder than the surrounding program. Whether your VU meter says so or not.

  4. #14

    AV Receivers to control the "compression" loudness?

    These loud commercials have really been getting to me. It drives me crazy! I have been doing some searching for an Audio Video Receiver that could control the volume.

    Is there such a thing? Does anyone know of a such a device?

    Thanks in advance,
    Aaron

  5. #15

    why louder???

    as I understand sound for tv programs does not usually exceed -6db adverts on the other hand will be pumped up using more of the available headroom and have probably been limitied to the maxx. If you need to know how to do this let me know.

  6. #16
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    mastering techniques. Good mastering engineers use tricks on commercials and pop radio hits for maximum loudness.

  7. #17
    As i have watched this subject grow.....i figure it is time for me to express a drop of REALITY, since that is what i do for a living. As stated above...what happens is we sit at the same Vu reading as everything else, and if we dont Master Control levels it all out. We do however boost our mids and lows a bit to give the illusion that it is louder....the peak levels are the sane though....!!!!!
    Manoni Productions
    Pass me another beer...You are still ugly!

  8. #18
    "Technically" yes, 100% volume level can't be exceeded but that ignores the real point of the issue. Commercials are indeed generally highly compressed thereby maximizing overall level and reducing dynamic range.

    What you fail to take in to account is the FACT that program material can be LOWERED to a fraction of the 100% modulation level. This forces the viewer to compensate by raising the playback volume of their home system to compensate. In this state, when the commercial material comes on, the viewer is blasted with the advertisers ca-ca at annoying levels.

    Colin Powell's kid when chairman of the FCC made use of the same disingenuous answer when questioned about the same issue.

    It is just another childish, crude tactic that has created a market for leveling compressors on the VIEWERS side.

  9. #19
    Quote
    Quote: Dave
    View Post
    Technically, the maximum volume is the same for commercials and normal programming. If you watch the audio levels on a VU meter you will see that they peak at around the same level.
    While this may have been true in the past and may be true in other parts of the world, many US Cable TV providers seem to have removed the compressor/limiters that they used to have on insert spots and/or stopped matching the levels on ingestion to their systems (while some spot providers have started providing tapes without proper tone), yielding a truly louder commercial than program.
    Eric Adler (tonsofpcs)
    http://www.videoproductionsupport.com/ Chat at: http://tinyurl.com/vpschat
    Follow me on twitter: @videosupport @eric_adler

  10. #20
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    I am working on a final design project at Northeastern University to develop a device for commercial detection. I hope to load a set of algorithms onto a CPLD for detecting commercials by various methods and then compare the probabilities that a commercial is actually happening. The device will then attenuate the output volume until regular programming comes back on. I have been doing research on the subject for the past few weeks and was hoping someone here on the forum could give me some feedback/ suggestions. Thanks in advance!

    i can be reached at evan_boyle<at>comcast<dot>net .

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