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The end of blaring TV commercials

by Ivan Seeking
Tags: blaring, commercials
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zoobyshoe
#19
Dec14-11, 05:07 PM
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Quote Quote by AlephZero View Post
Most people who want to record their own music discover this phenomenon when they find their CDs don't "sound as loud" as commercial ones, even though the peak levels of the recorded signal look the same on a graph.
Are you saying there's an "AlephZero covers Led Zeppelin" CD out there?
Jimmy
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Dec14-11, 05:09 PM
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Quote Quote by AlephZero View Post
Human hearing is not a system with a linear response. The people that produce commercials just use the same skill set as the people who produce pop records - they have figured out how to make a given amount of audio power, measured objectively in an electronics lab, sound as loud as possible. The trick is to distort the audio to make it sound "louder", but without making it sound obviously "distorted".

Most people who want to record their own music discover this phenomenon when they find their CDs don't "sound as loud" as commercial ones, even though the peak levels of the recorded signal look the same on a graph.
Dynamic range compression is used. It essentially increases the volume of the quieter parts. While the peak levels remain the same, the average level is increased dramatically. In the most extreme cases, there is little to no difference in the peak and average levels. This has been a real problem in commercial music for years, resulting in an almost complete lack of dynamic range.

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q...ADSI7AnoEo0k8w

http://www.ko4bb.com/Audio/AudioCompression.php
AlephZero
#21
Dec14-11, 05:29 PM
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Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking View Post
How do you know they are always operating at the limit? Perhaps the amplitude is source dependent.
For digital TV systems, the amplitude range is built into the digital encoding used. To take the simpler example of an audio CD, the signal can't go "below -32768" or "above +32767" by definition.

All analog TV broadcasting systems currently in use, except one, use frequency modulation for the audio signal, which again has a "built in" amplitude limit (though explaining why would take a very long answer), and the one exception is only used in France.
Evo
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Dec14-11, 06:02 PM
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Ok, here is the simple version of the answer.

Why are TV commercials louder than the show?

Ask any TV station this question and you’ll get the same answer, “the commercials are no louder than any of the other programming we broadcast — they just sound louder.”

It’s true, the station isn’t turning up the volume when the commercials run, but that’s not the complete answer. Otherwise, you wouldn’t need to reach for the remote to turn down the volume during the commercial break. So what’s really going on here? This gets a little complicated, so stick with me on this.

The Federal Communications Commission does not specifically regulate the volume of TV programs or TV commercials. However, broadcasters are required to have equipment that limits the peak power they can use to send out their audio and video signals. That means the loudest TV commercial will never be any louder than the loudest part of any TV program.

A TV program has a mix of audio levels. There are loud parts and soft parts. Nuance is used to build the dramatic effect.

Most advertisers don’t want nuance. They want to grab your attention. To do that, the audio track is electronically processed to make every part of it as loud as possible within legal limits. “Nothing is allowed to be subtle,” says Brian Dooley, Editor-At-Large for CNET.com. “Everything is loud – the voices, the music and the sound effects.”
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17229281...s-louder-show/
Astronuc
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Dec14-11, 06:38 PM
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“the commercials are no louder than any of the other programming we broadcast — they just sound louder.” What would one expect an advertiser (politician, used car salesman, crack dealer, . . . .) to say?!

piled high and deep!
AlephZero
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Dec14-11, 07:45 PM
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Quote Quote by Astronuc View Post
“the commercials are no louder than any of the other programming we broadcast — they just sound louder.”
It's perfectly good science. That's why there are two units for sound intensity, decibels and phons. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...eqloud.html#c1
edward
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Dec14-11, 08:08 PM
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This problem was supposedly solved years ago.

The Federal Communications Commission does not specifically regulate the volume of TV programs or TV commercials. However, broadcasters are required to have equipment that limits the peak power they can use to send out their audio and video signals. That means the loudest TV commercial will never be any louder than the loudest part of any TV program.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17229281...s-louder-show/

The TV Program producers apparently started putting in at least one louder word or sound just to get advertisers.

Edit from 2007
edward
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Dec14-11, 08:21 PM
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AS I read down he link above I see,

Help is on the way! Last month Dolby Laboratories announced it has developed technology to level out the sound differences that take place during shows and between TV programs and commercials. You pick the volume you like and the Dolby software will make the adjustments in real time automatically.
Could it be that Dolby has a patent on the electronics?
Astronuc
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Dec14-11, 08:43 PM
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Quote Quote by AlephZero View Post
It's perfectly good science. That's why there are two units for sound intensity, decibels and phons. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...eqloud.html#c1
But there is no change in frequency involved here. The range of frequencies in the commercials are the same as the TV programs. They are not shifted by kHz.

I think the signal input for advertisements is slightly greater than for programs. Some channels/broadcasters are worse than others.

Nevertheless - just use the mute button and ignore the commericals.

And I ignore ads in print.
russ_watters
#28
Dec15-11, 05:59 AM
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Quote Quote by LURCH View Post
I've been hearing about this legislation for some time, and I really have my doubts that it can make any real difference. The people recording the commercials don't know what levels the studios are using to record their programs, and certainly can't afford to record at different levels for each TV show during which their commercial might air. So, they will just record at the loudest level they can, to make sure their commercial is not quieter than the hsow.
Extremely unlikely. Sound editing/mixing is a technical and well developed profession and I find it incredulous that the advertisers and networks don't know exactly what they -and everyone else- are doing.

As mentioned, there is a set dynamic range that everyone has to work with, limited by the signal transmission. So the difference between the commercials and the programs would simply be that the sound levels of certain types of sounds are indexed to different parts of the range. Say, for example, a sound mixer for a tv show had three different sounds to mix: background music, speaking voices and an explosion. He's not lucky enough that they are already at the right sound levels when he mixes them together: he has to pick the levels as he mixes them. On a scale of one to ten, he mixes them at level 2, level 4 and level 8, respectively (made up numbers). He does this so that they sound natural to our ears -- and by the way, I don't notice differences between shows or between channels, so *somehow*, there is standardization in this. Whether that standardization comes from the show editors (say, a sound editor's handbook?), the tv network or the cable company, I don't know. Regardless, the advertiser (generally) has only background music and speech, so he indexes them to level 4 and level 8, respectively and so we get the commercial actually being louder than similar parts of the TV show.

I've also noticed that movies usually have a wider dynamic range than tv shows and perhaps even action movies have wider ranges than rom-coms. This would be done on purpose, to optimize the sound for a louder playback device (my home theater, rather than the tv speakers). But if I'm not in my normal movie watching mode (say, if I'm in bed, watching on a little tv), I'll often manually compress the range, increasing the volume of soft talking and decreasing the volume of loud action. The physical range is the same, of course, but that just means they index the different types of sounds to different parts of the range in movies than for tv.

....and, of course, the explosion in the movie or action tv show is only momentary and most of the show is speaking, so you would want to compare averages, not peaks.


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