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Samuele Tezza | Sample
Italy's SAMPLE Relies on NUGEN Audio's LMB in Postproduction
- Original article first appeared in TV Bay Magazine
Assuring loudness compliance for international content distribution
by Samuele Tezza, SAMPLE
At SAMPLE, sound is our business. An up-and-coming digital recording studio and post-production house based in Verona, Italy with offices in Milan and Rome, SAMPLE offers a full range of high-end services including voice recording for television and radio, dubbing for cinema and television, original soundtracks, and sound effects creation and editing. Preparing client projects for international distribution has become such an important part of our work that we created our WorldNet division to provide localization and multi-language versions. Needless to say, new international loudness standards and recommendations have had a profound impact on our business.
With loudness management now a required norm rather than an option, it’s certain that any audio we produce, for any part of the world, will have to be loudness-compliant. In order to keep pace with our growing international workload, we needed a tool that would allow us to maintain our high quality standards while creating loudness-compliant audio as efficiently as possible. NUGEN Audio’s Loudness Management Batch (LMB) processor is the ideal solution.
LMB is an offline loudness analysis and correction tool for OS X® and Windows® environments that delivers network-based, automated loudness processing for large numbers of audio and video files without requiring user intervention. Since LMB is fully compliant with CALM, ITU-R BS. 1770, EBU R128, ATSC A/85, and other global loudness regulations and standards, it gives us a reliable guarantor of loudness and true-peak compliance.
LMB has become an important part of our post-production operation along with an ever-increasing amount of business from large broadcasting companies such as RAI, Italy’s national public broadcaster. Although the content is primarily TV commercials, we’ve used LMB for many different types of projects. One recent example is a U.K.-produced documentary, “Wildest India,” a four-episode program that was broadcast in Italian for our local audiences by RAI. For this project, we used LMB to analyze and correct loudness for both the program and its commercials to ensure their compliance with Italian loudness standards.
After the content has been dubbed or translated into the required languages by our sub-contracted localization service, the loudness check with LMB is typically our last step before sending the content on to the playout service or broadcaster for distribution out to the international platforms and audiences. As part of their QA process, the playout services check to ensure that loudness levels meet the requirements of the target countries, and they send non-compliant content back to the post house to be corrected. In that regard, LMB has proven to be a huge time and moneysaver since we have near-complete assurance that what we’re sending out is correct in the first place.
With the ability to accept multiple audio and video formats, LMB can batch analyze and automatically correct the audio to the correct LKFS/LUFS and true-peak criteria (most countries require an LKFS within a few decibels of -24). With its drag-and-drop interface, the system is extremely easy to use – we just drag the files to be analyzed and corrected into the “hot folder” and within seconds LMB returns the files, adjusted for compliance. Because the process is completely automated, it can perform loudness processing on large numbers of audio and video files without requiring any intervention by the SAMPLE staff – another big timesaver.
After evaluating numerous loudness management solutions at the BVE Expo show in London, we kept coming back to the NUGEN Audio LMB system because it offered high performance and yet seemed simpler, easier to use, and more cost-effective than its competitors. Our intuition was right, and LMB has become an indispensible part of our operation in Verona – so much so that we are now considering purchasing another unit for the SAMPLE studio in Milan. We have also been taking a look at NUGEN Audio’s VisLM visual loudness monitoring plug-in, which offers tools for detailed and objective loudness measurement, history, and logging.
At SAMPLE, we believe audio has a fundamental role in determining an entertainment product’s quality. With LMB, we’re able to give our clients the assurance that not only will the final product meet their stringent quality standards, but it also will be in compliance with an ever-growing and more complex range of global loudness standards.
Samuele Tezza is technical supervisor and audio engineer for SAMPLE.
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