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Erinn Thorpe | Turner Studios
Simplifying Loudness Compliance
- Original article first appeared in TV Tech Magazine
NUGEN Audio Plug-Ins Simplify Loudness Compliance at Turner Studios
by Erinn E. Thorp, Senior Production Engineer, Turner Studios
A division of Turner Broadcasting, Turner Studios offers comprehensive media services including production, postproduction, visual effects, and content creation. For audio engineering, we offer live and post services primarily to TBS, TCM, TNT, and other Turner entertainment networks.
With the passage of the CALM Act, broadcasters are more concerned than ever with loudness control and true peak metering. After seeing NUGEN Audio products in action at the Audio Engineering Society conference last fall, we were impressed with their metering capabilities as well as the LM-Correct product, which offers an easy way to make corrections. Today, we use NUGEN Audio tools in all 20 of our audio mixing suites and our six video-editing suites – two entirely different workflows with different systems and requirements – to ensure that our content is loudness-compliant before it goes to air.
Our audio mixing suites are equipped with NUGEN Audio’s VisLM visual loudness meter and LM-Correct Avid® Audio Suite automatic loudness corrector. In a typical workflow, a copy of the main mix is bussed to an auxiliary track in Avid Pro Tools for mixing. After that, we use VisLM to analyze and adjust the mix in real-time. We can consult the VisLM display to isolate individual elements and make slight adjustments on the spot, and then play it back in real-time to see how it looks on the VisLM screen. When we’re satisfied that the mix is at acceptable loudness, we export the sound back to the editor in a WAV file, where it will be married with the video and move to the video suites for program editing.
The LM-Correct plug-in is especially important for quality control in our Avid video-editing suites, where the editors usually don’t have access to the individual audio elements that would allow them to adjust the mix. There, editors ingest an entire 44-minute show, select it on the Avid timeline, pull up the LM-Correct plug-in, and hit the “analyze” button (something no other product offered). LM-Correct automatically measures the whole show according to our targets for true peak and LKFS. If loudness and/or true peak are out of spec, the editor can simply go to the LM-Correct screen, hit “process” and LM-Correct creates a new, CALM-compliant copy of the media.
LM-Correct offers us a quick and easy way to ensure compliance without changing the original dynamic range or needlessly duplicating media. It’s also a great time-saver to have analysis and correction in a single window rather than having to alternate between systems. Also, the NUGEN Audio plug-ins are far more cost-effective than hardware.
Once we started working with VisLM and LM-Correct, we found them to be superior to their competitors in every aspect. Visually and functionally, the NUGEN products are simple yet elegant, clear, and easy to read. Above all, they are fully compliant with the ITU-R BS. 1770-2 standard that now governs loudness in broadcasting. NUGEN Audio products have been essential to ensuring that everything we create is CALM-compliant.
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