There often arises among people confusion over different types of audio signals and their levels. This tutorial aims to give a basic guide to the various signal levels that you are liable to encounter in the world of audio. Hopefully this will help you to understand the terms commonly used, where to plug what, and also what sort of cabling you need to carry the audio signals in their various levels.
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Sound For Film and Video: The Importance of Getting Good Audio
How many times have you sat down to watch a video or budget movie, only to find that the camera work and picture editing is great, but that the sound is so bad it takes your attention away from the picture? You might even stop watching it altogether, or at least turn the sound way down. Watching a TV show, video or film should be a “complete experience,” where the picture and audio combine to produce a meaningful and well balanced whole.
However, it has often been the case that in television, cinema, and especially in amateur or semi-professional productions, that the sound has been seen as secondary to the picture. I don’t believe it should be that way. People will often put up with mediocre picture if the sound is good, but good picture with poor sound may see the ‘off switch” flicked by many viewers. So let’s set about giving a bit of an outline as to how you can go about acheiving good results with your audio.
Royalty Free Music: What is it?
People often see the words “royalty free” bandied round, and they notice the number sites offering royalty-free music, but are confused by what this actually means. My aim here is to give a brief , but hopefully easy to understand explanation as to what the term royalty-free acutually means, and how it’s use can be applied.
“Royalty free” as it applies to music, is the right to use music without having to pay a royalty fee. The use of certain intellectual properties require users to pay a royalty fee to the owner, creator or copyright holder of that property.
Royalty-free does not mean the product is free or public domain, it just means you don’t have to pay royalties.
Royalty free or buyout music, and it’s use is governed by the licensing agreement that you should receive and agree to when you purchase the right to use some specific music. The type of license will determine how the music may be used, whether you can use it in a commercial production or only in a personal or non-commercial production, and what the limitations of use are. License agreements can vary considerably. It always pays to read the fine print.When purchasing a piece of music, you buy the rights to synchronize the song with your productions. The music and it’s copyright will however, always belong to the copyright holder of the product. Generally you pay a one-off fee to purchase the use of the music, and no more additional fees are required. As long as you abide by the conditions of the license agreement you should have no trouble.
Calibration of Audio Playback Levels for Film, TV, Video explained in basic terms
In order to create post production mixes that translate well to consumer systems, calibration of your system’s playback level is important. It is also important to do this if you are creating music that will be passed on to other editors for use in film, TV or video. I intend to give a brief guideline here for calibrating your listening environment in a small to medium sized room, such as an edit suite. The tuning of a room is beyond the scope of this article.
For film work (usually done in larger rooms), a pink noise at reference level should be used to produce a sound pressure level of 85dBC for each of the front channels. Taking readings for left, right and center speakers. For surround speakers, a lower reading of 82dBC is used. Generally -20dBFS is used as the “0” VU reference level point.
For television and video work, which is often done in smaller rooms, a lower reference level is used. This is most often done at 79dBC for each of the speakers in a smaller edit suite room. In mid sized rooms such as pre-mix rooms this level is often set a bit higher, for example 82dBC.