CAS Quarterly

Spring 2018

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Page 66 of 79

C A S Q U A R T E R L Y S P R I N G 2 0 1 8 67 The experiment had all the console metering and all the fader scales obscured. The mixers were asked to set their most preferred listening level for each of the 41 items of content until they most liked its loudness, then move onto the next item. Now, there's a lot of jiggery pokery in getting from the fader number they used (recorded by the automation) to average across the mixers correctly, compare among the clips, etc., etc. It was Mark Twain who popularized the expression, "There's lies, damned lies, and statistics," but it's the sharpest arrow in our quiver. The result that is most interesting to us here is the degree of agreement among the mixers. This is the standard deviation from the average of the mixers for each one individually. It is irrespective of their preferred playback overall loudness, which varied more greatly. Here's the bottom line: the average standard deviation from the average of the mixers among them is … drumroll please, 1.2 dB! They match each other that well. I find that to be an astonishing number, but maybe it doesn't surprise CASers. I've felt for a long time that there's a "slot" for dialogue loudness to fit into, and I think this proves it. By the way, later on the idea that some content can't even be based on dialogue because there isn't any dialogue in the content came up of course, but the same loudness metering applies. In a way, I tested something similar years earlier. At Lucasfilm, we were very careful with monitor levels. I had a readout on the console for the monitor level with 0.1 dB steps of precision. This, so if you reset it higher for mixing Foley pre-dubs for instance, you could return to the exactly correct level. 0.0 dB was reference. Over lunch hour one day during the mix for Return of the Jedi, I set the levels –0.5 dB, but made the readout lie to say 0.0. Ben Burtt and Gary Summers came back from lunch and started mixing. In a couple of minutes, they slowed down, went back over material they'd already done. Several minutes later, they called me, and said, "We don't know what it is, but it's different than before lunch." I wasted six minutes of mix time, but I found out for sure that "Mixers Can Hear." • D������, I��. 25209 Avenue Tibbitts Valencia, CA 91355 Phone (661) 607‐0206 Fax (661) 257‐2236 Email: D������, I��. Makers of the original SyncBox ® Introduces the SB‐4! More features and higher stability than before.

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