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EBU completes loudness documents

The EBU has published practical guidelines for working with its R128 standard covering loudness control in TV production and transmission, writes Kevin Hilton.

The EBU has published practical guidelines for its R128 standard covering loudness control in TV production and transmission, writes Kevin Hilton. Tech 3343, which outlines production and implementation methods for controlling loudness, completes the EBU’s set of documents on the subject, the first of which was published during IBC 2010. Publication at the end of February coincided with a series of meetings and demonstrations looking at how broadcasters will use R128 on a day-to-day basis. The EBU hosted a two-day workshop in Geneva for broadcasters and manufacturers, with audio facilities provided by Swiss broadcaster TSR/RTS. The first day was described as a “plug-fest”, designed to help manufacturers check their implementation of R128. Among the companies present were Junger Audio, which now ensuring full loudness compliance for its T*AP TV audio processor, Grimm Audio, Linear Acoustic, Miranda, RTW and TC Electronic. Frans de Jong of the EBU comments that some manufacturers “spotted things to correct, so it was a useful thing to do”. Day two featured presentations by ORF sound engineer and chairman of the PLOUD group, Florian Camerer (pictured during a session), and Askan Siegfried, a mixing engineer for German regional broadcaster NDR. De Jong says the highlight was Camerer “hitting -23 with the meter covered” and Siegfried demonstrating how loudness normalisation can give broadcast output consistency between commercials, promos and programmes. Siegfried observes that since NDR began using loudness guidelines in January 2010, complaints from viewers about noisy broadcasts “went down to zero”. He adds that all NDR studios, mixing suites and OB trucks are now equipped with loudness meters. Further events demonstrating loudness control have been held in Germany and Spain, with Camerer also travelling to China to “evangelise” the new methods at state broadcaster CCTV. In a technology strategy statement published this week the BBC said it will implement EBU standards for volume measurement (loudness) and where appropriate encourage the use of surround sound for TV and Audio/Music.