There are many kinds of standards to do within the creative media area whether that be Film standards, Audio standards, gaming standards etc. Many countries have their own standards and when you produce a product for release you have to adhere to these standards or you may be refused distribution. These standards are very important as the companies and their policies have to be globalized so everything can be the same and have uniformity. Many companies have their own standards for example CBS, ABC, NBC.
In this essay, I will be talking about the Australian Audio Standards for film specifically advertisements(Commercials). These following standards apply to all commercials according to Free Tv Australia’s OP-48 Document and have to standardised whether using SDTV, HDTV or analogue as the format.
Loudness is one of the biggest factors when dealing with music but in this case for Television. When dealing with audio and loudness through the various stages of production, the careful management of dynamic range and spectral usage is crucially important in preventing and standardising variations in loudness.
Audio Engineers and Post Production Engineers use many different types of effects when producing. Whether they are for creative purposes or corrective purposes they all affect the sound.
Compression should only be used appropriately through the production stages to maintain good dynamic range or either vocal or music to produce a consistent sound track with no major peaks in volume. However heavy use of compression throughout the track or on components of the track must not be used.
Audio Limiting is a common effect using in producing to prevent distortion in audio equipment. When producing audio for commercials, limiting must not be used.
Equalisation is a very common tool and is one of the most common tools Engineers utilize. However using EQ to emphasize frequencies which are most sensitive to the ear aren’t allowed according to the standard. As it is common practice to use EQ in production, care should be taken throughout production to prevent overloading of broadcast audio chains and signals.
Once the final mix is ready for ‘Bounce’ or distribution all commerical soundtracks(Vocal or Music) must be measured using an ITU-R(recommended-BS.1770.3) which is a peak level meter this is used to ensure compliance with the reference loudness level of -24LKFS( L=Loudness, K=Filtering Algorithm Used, FS=Full scale)
The second component to measuring the loudness is the true Peak Limit which is 2-dBFS. The standards ensure that you meet this step to make sure when you monitor the level, you are monitoring the waveform so when you convert the audio samples back to the analog form the audio doesn’t clip and further distort. Especially when converting your Audio production to a company in a lossy codec such as MP3; as this format doesnt handle clipping very well and will automatically introduce distortion.
These standards are vastly more complex and can result in you not getting your audio accepted by a company and sent back. However this is a basic coverage of the Audio Producing standards for film. I myself have become aware of the standards which are expected by Engineers globally. These standards change as the technology changes so its vital we change with them.
FREE TV AUSTRALIA OPERATIONAL PRACTICE OP – 48. (2013) (3rd ed., pp. Page 1-3). Australia. Retrieved from http://www.freetv.com.au/media/Engineering/Free_TV_OP_48_Audio_and_Loudness_Levels_Issue%203_December_2012.pdf
Milne, S. (2012). OP 59 and Loudness Standards for Australian TV | Sound and Code. Sandymilne.com. Retrieved 18 July 2015, from http://www.sandymilne.com/op-59-and-loudness-standards-for-australian-tv/
Operation Practice 59- Measurement and managment of loudness in Sountracks. (2012) (3rd ed., p. 5). New South Whales, Australia. Retrieved from http://www.freetv.com.au/media/Engineering/Advisory_Note_to_Production_Sound_Engineers_re_OP59_Frequently_Asked_Questions.pdf