OT: Super Bowl XLVI vs. The CALM Act -- Who Won?

musicvid10 wrote on 2/7/2012, 9:52 PM
ATSC/A85, known in the US as the CALM Act, went into effect in December, 2011. It simply requires broadcasters to keep commercials no louder than the primary program, using a defined set of loudness (not volume) standards that are based on ITU-R BS.1771. Broadcasters who can demonstrate a financial hardship have one more year to come into full compliance.

So almost two months after the law took effect, how did NBC and Super Bowl XLVI do with the advertising? With probably half a Billion advertising dollars changing hands, you can bet there was some pressure on NBC to go light on the standards, but no one could keep a straight face and argue that either the network, its affiliates, or the advertisers themselves would face any financial disadvantage over a few thousand dollars worth of equipment and a little due diligence to keep the ads in line with the realtime programming.

So how did they do? Well, less than 15% of the first half ads and special segments were within +0.5dB of the game broadcast (the standard says <=0.1dB), the reference level having been pretty consistent throughout. The other 85%+ were a "little" over, to a full 4LK (4dB) louder than the game. Pretty disappointing considering NBC didn't even bother to norm their own stuff. My margin of error was probably no more than +/- 0.2dB, using the Nugen VisLM meters in Vegas, and very careful slicing of the program and ad segments for individual loudness scanning.

My source was 48KHz standard PCM mixdown from the broadcast, typical of a low-tech living room, recorded to 256Kbps AC3. More to come . . .



Comments

TheHappyFriar wrote on 2/7/2012, 10:00 PM
I personally find that whole law a stupid waste of time.

Next there will be a law that says internet providers must make sure that people only post all caps no more then the total amount of capital letters used on the website.

Why not making talking on a cell phone while NOT in your car a crime. I can't mute the morons who talk while shopping, I *CAN* mute my TV.
farss wrote on 2/7/2012, 10:14 PM
"I personally find that whole law a **** waste of time."

Totally agree.
Not only is it a waste of time it is offensive to the entire concept of sound.
Next thing they'll be banning canons from a performance of the 1812.

Bob.
Steven Myers wrote on 2/8/2012, 12:53 AM
I had forgotten about the CALM Act. I noticed that the Madonna show had a much less punchy sound than I would have expected. Sounded like muzak. At first, I thought, "... couldn't be an OJT new hire running this, could it?..." Then I remembered.
VidMus wrote on 2/8/2012, 1:19 AM
Oh No! My latest video has a dynamic range that seriously violates this. Am I in a big heap of trouble? LOL!

Seriously, the reason why they did this is because in the past there were way too many ads that would blast a person out of their chair compared to the loudness of the show.

I can see the need to tame it to a point of being reasonable but not so restrictive as to make it annoyingly flat and lifeless.

fp615 wrote on 2/8/2012, 1:43 AM
Hi,
last year somebody posted a web site with all the commercials. Does anyone remember the url ?
rs170a wrote on 2/8/2012, 7:47 AM
last year somebody posted a web site with all the commercials. Does anyone remember the url ?

Do a Google search on "super bowl 2012 commercials" and you'll get all kinds of links to sites hosting them.

Mike
Jay Gladwell wrote on 2/8/2012, 8:40 AM

Then why have a picture standard for broadcast?

Grazie wrote on 2/8/2012, 8:50 AM
Well, I suppose, Jay, that if there wasn't a picture standard that would really hurt the revenue coming in from advertisers? Just a stab in the dark here . . . I can always turn the volume UP/DOWN. But a badly broadcast picture would be awful for the advertisers.

G



musicvid10 wrote on 2/8/2012, 10:36 AM
There is an urban myth that ITU-R BS. 1770 somehow proscribes dynamic range or compression for broadcast.

NOTHING COULD BE FARTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

By setting the loudness (not volume) at a consistent level, it encourages advertisers to use MORE dynamic range and less compression in order to stand out over the rest. A typical overcompressed commercial from the last decade will sound too soft when leveled to the new standard.

I repeat, loudness normalization is not compression, and the US and European standards do not address it. Everyone still gets to use DRC if they choose to, or not.

A few advertisers "get it." Most do not, and as along as broadcasters turn a blind eye to the new standards, they will have little motivation to improve their sound quality. No advertisers in this test took full advantage of the dynamic range available to them, by a mile.
Former user wrote on 2/8/2012, 10:40 AM
I think they need to incorporate a Content Quality standard. :)

Dave T2
musicvid10 wrote on 2/8/2012, 10:45 AM
"I think they need to incorporate a Content Quality standard. :)

WARNING: The content of this advertisement has been rated "T" for Trash.
rs170a wrote on 2/8/2012, 10:55 AM
WARNING: The content of this advertisement has been rated "T" for Trash.

Add most TV shows to that list.

Mike
farss wrote on 2/8/2012, 3:24 PM
"I repeat, loudness normalization is not compression"

Loudness normalization IS compression. The difference is only the weighting curve and the integration period.
The spreadsheet in your first post shows the lie in your statement. One segment is louder than another, so what? What is the difference between a loud 30 second TVC in a one hour program and a 30 second loud scene in a one hour movie?
Answer none. No metering system can know the difference.

Bob.
musicvid10 wrote on 2/8/2012, 5:57 PM
Loudness normalization IS compression. The difference is only the weighting curve and the integration period.

Besides not understanding the standard well enough to make such a statement, your accusation is something I am unwilling to tolerate. Reported as abuse.

If your intent was to get this thread deleted, you have probably succeeded. But why?
farss wrote on 2/8/2012, 6:32 PM
"Besides not understanding the standard well enough to make such a statement"

That's an opinion that you're entitled to hold. I have read the standard(s), watched the presentations and downloaded a number of the metering systems. You still might be right, maybe there is something I don't understand and I'm more than willing to "play the ball, not the man". The last time we discussed this it ended with what was an in effect an ad hominem comment by you and I let the matter slide in the interests of peace.

"your accusation is something I am unwilling to tolerate"

I made no accusation, perhaps you have incorrectly taken "shows the lie" personally. That is an incorrect interpretation of my words. The phrase should be taken to mean something like "shows the error" or "highlights the fallacy in your argument". In no way should it be taken as an accusation that means you are or were lying. If I had intended to make an accusation I would have left no room for it to be taken any other way. I would have said something along the lines of "You are lying and here's the proof". Perhaps my use of the phrase could have been avoided but seriously, do we all have to walk on eggshells pondering how every word and phrase might be taken?
Trust me, if I want to make a personal attack or abuse anyone I would use very specific language that would leave no doubt in anyone's mind as to my intent.

Bob.
musicvid10 wrote on 2/8/2012, 6:46 PM
Sabotage, nothing else. And I for one, am sick of it.
corug7 wrote on 2/8/2012, 8:35 PM
Bob, I don't know about Aus but here in the US we take the word "lie" as an accusation of deliberately misleading someone or telling an untruth. I have never heard it used in the way you describe. Probably just a cultural difference.
farss wrote on 2/8/2012, 9:19 PM
"Probably just a cultural difference. "

Not from my experience. Down here if I say someone is lying it is most certainly an accusation. Telling a lie is bad, accusing someone of doing that is casts the person in a bad light and unless well justified I would certainly see it as abuse and I think the majoirty of Australians would too.

The exception here is the phrase doesn't accuse anyone, it accuses thoughts, ideas, concepts e.g. "statement A gives the lie to statement B". I do agree, it is not common English, I may even be guilty of using archaic English and may deserve a day in the stockade for my transgression :)

Ah, my Google Fu is finally back. From here: http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/give+the+lie+to

to show that something is not true The high incidence of cancer in the region surely gives the lie to official assurances that the factory is safe


Bob.

musicvid10 wrote on 2/8/2012, 9:26 PM
Sabotage, nothing else. And I for one, am sick of it.
[r]Evolution wrote on 2/9/2012, 4:44 AM
Many different ways to say what you said, instead, you chose to say what you said in a manner, and using terminology from an antiquated statement, that could easily be misinterpreted by one to feel as if you were directly calling them a liar while indirectly trying to hide it behind some Edgar Allan Poe type of Shakespearean era word play & jargon that bears no relevance in today's modern speak or English language currently in use around the globe.

To make matters worse, you offered no apology, maybe you're not sorry for the offending statement albeit Misunderstood. Nor did you delete or edit your post to reflect a more respectful way of saying that you find some discrepancies in the figures reported &/or the method by which said figures were gathered & analyzed.

Furthermore, your posting of DEFINITIONS seemed a bit 'Belittling'.

I feel bad when I hurt someone's feelings. Whether it be intentional or not.
farss wrote on 2/9/2012, 5:45 AM
"To make matters worse, you offered no apology, maybe you're not sorry for the offending statement albeit Misunderstood"

Of course I'm sorry, on top of that I'm upset about this turn of events to the point of feeling quite ill all afternoon..

"Nor did you delete or edit your post to reflect a more respectful way of saying that you find some discrepancies in the figures reported &/or the method by which said figures were gathered & analyzed."

Maybe I'm wrong here but I feel editing ot deleting posts underhanded. It leaves any reply dangling and I don't believe it's reasonable to expect others to edit their responses to align with edits and deletions. If others feel otherwise then I'll certainly change my position.

I agree, I was being less than respectful and I should have been less provocative even though that wasn't my intent. I have no issue with how the figures were gathered, I've known Musicvid long enough to know he would have done a thorough job. I did say "One segment is louder than another, so what? What is the difference between a loud 30 second TVC in a one hour program and a 30 second loud scene in a one hour movie?

That in no way casts any bad light on Musicvid's work, it raises an issue I have had with the whole concept of the standard.

"Furthermore, your posting of DEFINITIONS seemed a bit 'Belittling'."

That was in reply to someone else's questioning of my use of the English language.
In my defense I don't spend a lot of time proof reading and pondering what I post, this is not helped by the lack of any Preview function on this forum.

Just so there's no doubt in anyone's mind:
I always feel bad when anything I say intended or not hurts someone's feelings. I would never say something here with the intent of hurting someone, period. If anyone reads anything I say that way, firstly my apologies and secondly it was not my intention to hurt, harm or show disrespect

At the moment and for the first time in over nine years here I feel very bad, ill in fact. Probably compounded by a personal family matter, that I should be coping with better. A "thank you" to Grazie for letting me bend his ear over this.

Bob.
Serena wrote on 2/9/2012, 9:56 PM
Well I've just read through this thread, prompted by another. I can affirm that "gives lie to" is a valid technical phrase in exactly the context in which Bob used it. I wouldn't have even thought of other connotations and would have been just as surprised as Bob in the way it has been taken; I had to read on the discover what the hullabaloo was about. Bob clarified his intention quite adequately when questioned and had no need to apologize or edit his post. Even so I daresay that one could apologize just to pour oil on the water, but I do wonder about the general (as against the particular) reactions expressed in the posts above.
ushere wrote on 2/10/2012, 12:58 AM
POUR OIL ON THE WATER!!!!!!!

what are you saying serena, that you want to pollute our forum!?

love and peace and hugs and all hippie stuff all round ;-)
Rory Cooper wrote on 2/10/2012, 1:47 AM
Musicvid’s statement “NOTHING COULD BE FARTHER FROM THE TRUTH.” Could also be = liar, but in the context of the discussion we understand it as an expression. Bob deserves the same autonomy.

audio plebs like me actually benefit from these discussions and getting into the mindset of guys like Bob and Musicvid is a huge privilege for me. I have no problem getting my cage rattled because I may learn something important and if it teaches me humility = big bonus.