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Mixing levels for Silver Screen BIG SCREEEN
Old 15th June 2008
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Mixing levels for Silver Screen BIG SCREEEN

Hi,
I'm desperately trying to find the reference level for mixing for silver screen.

Generally I gather that DVD comes in at -20, but it feels as though the big screen sits lower..... more like -27??????

I'm talking about cinema releases on the big screen, does anyone know what level they mix too, Average RMS levels.

It feels lower than -20 when i go watch films, but now that i've been given something to mix for silver screen i'm come humbly running for help as i'm obviuosly supposed to know this it would not be good for me to admit this to client!!!

Anyway, please let me know I really really appreciate it.

p.s. i'm not talking home cinema dvd releases or anything like that, i'm talking hollywood big screen blah blah release....
Old 15th June 2008
  #2
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TVPostSound's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
There's more to it, but in a nutshell:

In a room greater than 5000 cu ft
Calibrate your room -20dBFS = 0VU = 85dBS SPL, then mix by ear.
Old 15th June 2008 | Show parent
  #3
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Berolzheimer's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVPostSound ➑️
There's more to it, but in a nutshell:

In a room greater than 5000 cu ft
Calibrate your room -20dBFS = 0VU = 85dBS SPL, then mix by ear.
And PLEASE put as brickwall limiter on your busses.
Old 15th June 2008 | Show parent
  #4
Old 15th June 2008 | Show parent
  #5
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ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVPostSound ➑️
There's more to it, but in a nutshell:

In a room greater than 5000 cu ft
Calibrate your room -20dBFS = 0VU = 85dBS SPL, then mix by ear.
Slight correction, that would be 85dBm, and that would be for large dub stages. Smaller dub stages often mix at 83dBm or 82dBm, though I'm not sure that Dolby endorses the practice for features.
Old 15th June 2008 | Show parent
  #6
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Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
What's your experience mixing for film?
Have you mixed a lot of dialog for film and/or TV?
Old 15th June 2008 | Show parent
  #7
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minister's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan ➑️
Slight correction, that would be 85dBm, and that would be for large dub stages. Smaller dub stages often mix at 83dBm or 82dBm, though I'm not sure that Dolby endorses the practice for features.
The "m" specifies the reference point is measured in millowatts.

I believe he mis-typed and meant dBC, for C weighted SPL measurement.

Then again, all I care about is squashing his damn avatar -- my screen is all fogged up from bug spray and my boot.
Old 15th June 2008
  #8
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starcrash13's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajita_music ➑️
Hi,
I'm desperately trying to find the reference level for mixing for silver screen.
I think someone secretly puts up posts like this every few months just to get us riled up.

The question itself, "How loud should I mix a movie?", shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the task at hand. It's the can opener into a very massive can of worms.

You're best bet would be to pass the job onto someone who has some experience mixing films and ask if you can apprentice. Seriously.

I'm not trying to be an elitist or a snob - this is totally serious advice. I've been working as a sound editor on feature films for several years, plus I've also mixed a lot of music, and I still wouldn't presume to take on an entire feature film mix on my own. Films cost a lot of money and there's just too much at stake to have an inexperienced mixer behind the desk.
Old 15th June 2008 | Show parent
  #9
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Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by starcrash13 ➑️
You're best bet would be to pass the job onto someone who has some experience mixing films and ask if you can apprentice. Seriously.
I suggest team up with a good dialog mixer, and then ajita take the SFX chair.
Old 15th June 2008 | Show parent
  #10
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TVPostSound's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks Tom, you always catch my errors

Regarding the avatar, the first time I saw that, I went &%^#, now I have to go back to the Apple store to remove the iMac glass again, and get rid of a bug this time!!
(Last time it was dirt behind the glass from China)
Old 15th June 2008 | Show parent
  #11
Here for the gear
 
🎧 10 years
Hi everyone thanks heaps for the responses...

I've mixed about 100 dvd features, plenty experience to run with. It was more of a general question, because voice vs big SFX levels on a DVD are quite different then a 'big screen release'.

This was my only real question, because I know there is recommended level for voice for big screen release as a 'guide' a general guide. My guess was -27

at -20 as most DVD releases are, to get the incredible dynamic range as you hear at big screen showings, it's really not possible in my opinion unless you average your voice in at around -27

And yes I could pass on this job to someone else and play mix assistant, but quite simply, this is a great opportunity and i'm not scared one ounce, it's how i got the job in the first place and I will succeed in getting a great mix going, just trying to see if there is a recommended 'industry standard' as there is for radio, TV, internet broadcasts, theartre, and well i'm sure big screen, just haven't found that number as yet.

Thanks for all the help :-)
Old 15th June 2008 | Show parent
  #12
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Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajita_music ➑️
This was my only real question, because I know there is recommended level for voice for big screen release as a 'guide' a general guide. My guess was -27

at -20 as most DVD releases are, to get the incredible dynamic range as you hear at big screen showings, it's really not possible in my opinion unless you average your voice in at around -27
I don't look at my meters for proper dialog levels.
I use my ears in a properly calibrated room.
Old 15th June 2008 | Show parent
  #13
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dr.sound's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajita_music ➑️
Hi everyone thanks heaps for the responses...

I've mixed about 100 dvd features, plenty experience to run with. It was more of a general question, because voice vs big SFX levels on a DVD are quite different then a 'big screen release'.

This was my only real question, because I know there is recommended level for voice for big screen release as a 'guide' a general guide. My guess was -27

at -20 as most DVD releases are, to get the incredible dynamic range as you hear at big screen showings, it's really not possible in my opinion unless you average your voice in at around -27

And yes I could pass on this job to someone else and play mix assistant, but quite simply, this is a great opportunity and i'm not scared one ounce, it's how i got the job in the first place and I will succeed in getting a great mix going, just trying to see if there is a recommended 'industry standard' as there is for radio, TV, internet broadcasts, theartre, and well i'm sure big screen, just haven't found that number as yet.

Thanks for all the help :-)
dr.sound replies:
First thing is to ready my "Room Calibration fro Film and TV" sticky on the DUC.
The second thing is "I've mixed about 100 dvd features, plenty experience to run with." 100 DVd features? Really? Why don't you sign your name at the bottom of the Post? Have you ever taken one of your "100 DVD Features" into a "Dub Stage" or had a Feature Re-Recording Mixer listen to your work? There are numerous things that I could go on about, but I need to hear your responses first.

Take Care,
Old 16th June 2008 | Show parent
  #14
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ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by minister ➑️
The "m" specifies the reference point is measured in millowatts.

I believe he mis-typed and meant dBC, for C weighted SPL measurement.

Then again, all I care about is squashing his damn avatar -- my screen is all fogged up from bug spray and my boot.
I stand corrected. If I recall correctly from when I was a recordist back in the mag days, I must have made hundreds of stem labels that read something like, "0VU = +4dBm = 85dB SPL at 187 nWb/m", so the dBm relates to the VU meter, not the SPL meter.

This is why I'm a mixer and not an engineer.
Old 16th June 2008 | Show parent
  #15
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Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.sound ➑️
dr.sound replies:
First thing is to ready my "Room Calibration fro Film and TV" sticky on the DUC.
The second thing is "I've mixed about 100 dvd features, plenty experience to run with." 100 DVd features? Really? Why don't you sign your name at the bottom of the Post? Have you ever taken one of your "100 DVD Features" into a "Dub Stage" or had a Feature Re-Recording Mixer listen to your work? There are numerous things that I could go on about, but I need to hear your responses first.

Take Care,
Yes, mixing for theatrical is certainly a different approach than mixing for No-Dynamics Television.
I'm not questioning your abilities, but I guess the question on my mind is, if you've mixed 100DVD features, how come this post regarding levels. Certainly by now you would know.
And if you've mixed 100 DVD releases, were these full mixes from the ground up, foreign versions etc.
Old 16th June 2008 | Show parent
  #16
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minister's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan ➑️
"0VU = +4dBm = 85dB SPL at 187 nWb/m"
Probably +4dBU not dBm... and more likely 185 nWb/m. 185nWb/m (nanowebers per meter) is referenced to 0db in the world of tape engineering.

I don't mean to pick on you Gary, and I am just correcting you again out of fun. And these little mistakes are just that. It is hard to keep all the numbers straight.

I am sure you are good mixer. And yeah, let those guys set that stuff for you and you just show everyone what it is all really for.

There is no "magic" number for Theatrical levels.
Old 16th June 2008 | Show parent
  #17
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minister's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVPostSound ➑️
Thanks Tom, you always catch my errors
I gotta contribute somehow. Besides, you caught a doozie of mine once!!
Old 16th June 2008 | Show parent
  #18
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ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by minister ➑️
Probably +4dBU not dBm... and more likely 185 nWb/m. 185nWb/m (nanowebers per meter) is referenced to 0db in the world of tape engineering.

I don't mean to pick on you Gary, and I am just correcting you again out of fun. And these little mistakes are just that. It is hard to keep all the numbers straight.

I am sure you are good mixer. And yeah, let those guys set that stuff for you and you just show everyone what it is all really for.

There is no "magic" number for Theatrical levels.
That's why I said "If I remember correctly", because it was a very long time ago. Anyway, I'm going to do the intelligent thing and stay away from the dB xyz subject for obvious reasons.

The main point I wanted to make (and that I should have stuck to) was that when I work in smaller rooms, I don't work at 85 SPL, I work at 82 or 83 because it generally translates better to bigger rooms.

BTW, I don't remember catching you on any doozies, but as you can see, my memory is sometimes suspect.
Old 16th June 2008 | Show parent
  #19
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minister's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Well, I called you "Greg" once. Gary, I meant no disrespect, and knowing those numbers don't mean anything (unless you are calibrating machines or rooms). I really was having fun with you!!

I got your point. The original poster needs to read the Room Cal thread. danijel posted the link, oh, 300 or so meaningless posts earlier.

And, it was TVPostSound who caught one of my doozies and saved me.
Old 16th June 2008 | Show parent
  #20
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ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by minister ➑️
Well, I called you "Greg" once. Gary, I meant no disrespect, and knowing those numbers don't mean anything (unless you are calibrating machines or rooms). I really was having fun with you!!

I got your point. The original poster needs to read the Room Cal thread. danijel posted the link, oh, 300 or so meaningless posts earlier.

And, it was TVPostSound who caught one of my doozies and saved me.
No offense taken. When I make comments outside my sphere of knowledge, I deserve to be corrected. We all need a good dope slap every once in a while to keep us humble.

This just reinforces the point that mixing isn't particularly a "technical" job and that many of us rely very heavily on the unsung heroes in the back room who expend a lot of energy keeping us out of trouble while we get all the glory (and money), such as it is.

Funny thing happened Friday, I had 3 new clients call me Greg within minutes of being introduced to me. I really should have changed my name long ago.
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