Pro-Tools-Expert.com reports that, whether you like it or not, we have ended up with a Loudness war in cinema sound, even though there is a fully calibrated system to prevent this, the reality of the situation is that the loudness levels in movies have gone up and consequently, due to complaints from cinema goers, playback volumes in cinemas have consequently come down. As a result, many cinemas keep the playback level low for all movies, which puts pressure on post-production facilities to adjust their playback level.
But it’s not just about overall level, there is also a growing trend for cinema mixes to be mixed with less dynamic range than TV mixes, to the extent, that there have been occasions where the remix for TV has ended up increasing the dynamic range rather than the expected need to reduce the dynamic range of a theatre mix for TV broadcast.
That is just plain wrong.
One possible solution is to adopt the BS1770 loudness standard we already use in broadcast workflow and music streaming and apply it to the cinema workflow, with a suggestion to set a maximum for the Program Loudness of -27 LUFS (-21 LUFS for ‘loud cinemas’) and a maximum Short Term Loudness of -6 LUFS. The expected result of this solution is that cinema playback volume can then return to a normal reference level. Eelco Grimm, one the team behind the Loudness Petition Group that we have covered recently regarding standards and workflows for music streaming has also been studying cinema workflows and with his permission, here is a paper he presented to the AES in May 2013. Over to you Eelco…