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NEWS MANAGE & MONITOR L oudness really is the gift that keeps on giving - which is fairly appropriate as we near Christmas. Each month, there is more noise on this subject, if you’ll excuse the pun Two more stories (below) centre on monitoring loudness, including one that involves teaching students. The industry is quite rightly trying to catch ‘em while they’re young. But at the professional end, there is still some flux. It emerged last month that not all BBC shows are yet mixed to the EBU R128 spec that is a crucial part of the Digital Production Partnership’s requirements for file delivery of TV programmes. In fact, one rather high profile celebrity ballroom show is amongst those that do not currently comply – yet the promos that surround it, and the show that follows it, do. That sort of juxtaposition was exactly the kind of thing that standardising loudness was meant to eradicate. Mixing to R128 is about normalizing and averaging levels across a full programme so that the average loudness is the same for all programmes. But experts tell me that the agreed parameters don’t deal well with shows that include silence (how do you average silence anyway?) or major peaks (even though the possible dynamic range is actually greater than with old peak normalisation and mixing practices). Added to that, there is only one standard to cover all genres. On a factual programme, that single number is probably fine. But what about a drama that includes huge, noisy fight scenes for half of the airtime? That is going to be a real challenge to normalize across 60 or 90 minutes. As a result, in some cases, shows have to be mixed in a different way in order to meet the requirements. As time goes by, it should have less of an impact though. Not least when people start accepting that it is the set-top box that defines how loud something is to the viewer. And no one in production has control over that. T&M Leader used last month’s Content & Communications World expo in New York to demo its range of test equipment to the broadcast and video production market on the US East Coast. On show was its recently introduced LV5333 3G-SDI-compatible multi-SDI monitor, the latest version of its LV5490 SD/HD/4k compact test instrument and the LT4600 multi-format video generator. Making its first East Coast appearance, the LV5333 is a new multi-SDI monitor designed for use in studios, technical areas or attached to a video camera-support tripod. It is is compatible with over 20 HD-SDI/SD-SDI signal formats including 3G-SDI, occupying a 215 x 128 x 63 mm housing and weighs 1.3 kilograms. It can be powered from battery or a universal mains adapter. www.leaderamerica.com or www.thameside.tv 20 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 96 DECEMBER 2014