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France regulates on loudness problem

Stringent regulations to deal with television loudness problems in France were implemented during December but Germany and Austria have put back the formal introduction of similar rules until September at the latest, writes Kevin Hilton.

Stringent regulations to deal with television loudness problems in France were implemented during December but Germany and Austria have put back the formal introduction of similar rules until September at the latest, writes Kevin Hilton. The French guidelines are based on EBU R128, working to -23 LUFS, and were agreed as a “global” loudness alignment system by the country’s national broadcasters, advertising bodies and the CSA (Audiovisual Superior Council). They came into effect on 19th December 2011 and any broadcaster or distribution company breaking them could face fines of up to two percent of revenue. To read more on how France is set to tackle the loudness problem click here. Germany and Austria have also been preparing new regulations based on R128 and had originally set 1st January this year at “D-Day”, when the rules would come into effect. This did not happen due to “too many issues”, according to Florian Camerer (pictured at the London Loudness Summit last month), chairman of the EBU PLOUD working group and senior sound engineer at Austrian public broadcaster ORF. The plan now is for full compliance and regulation to begin from either 31st August or 1st September, with the formal announcement to be made during the IFA consumer electronics exhibition in Berlin. Camerer stressed, however, that “this does not mean nothing will happen” in the interim. Since 1st January German regional broadcaster WDR has been working to -23 LUFS. ORF is to follow an incremental programme, provisionally starting with commercials, promos and self-produced material at -21 LUFS during early April and moving all programmes to -21 on 1st July, with the final switch to -23 on 1st September. Camerer said this was “not all fixed on paper yet but very likely”. Switzerland is switching completely to -23 on 29th February, which coincides with the national move to HDTV from standard definition. tech.ebu.ch/groups/ploud

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