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TOPIC: Optimal dB volume levels for instructional video?

Optimal dB volume levels for instructional video? 18 Apr 2017 12:39 #87276

  • AlexMaxim
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Hey there guys,
I hope that this post finds you all having a wonderful week.

I would greatly appreciate any guidance on the following matter: we have made an instructional video using FCPX. The video is now in its final stages and will shortly be exported to DVD for duplication.

Does anyone know what are the optimal volume levels (in dB) are for the following elements?

1. Voiceover;
2. Music; and
3. SFX?

FYI, at the moment, they are set to the following:

1. Voiceover: 0 dB;
2. Music: 0 dB; and
3. SFX -16 dB.

A quick note of explanation: it is our understanding that the volume levels should be as loud as possible so long as they are not actually distorted. None of the clips are showing an excessive volume warning, if that helps.

Any ideas?
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Optimal dB volume levels for instructional video? 18 Apr 2017 17:26 #87282

  • Sefanzed
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I always set a "Brick wall" limiter at -6 (overall) for youtube and related instructionals. This of course assumes that the combined audio levels aren't way over that so that the limiting isn't too severe.
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Optimal dB volume levels for instructional video? 18 Apr 2017 18:21 #87288

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Just because you don't risk distortion until you go over zero, doesn't mean zero is where you audio sounds its best. Avoid going too close to zero at all costs. Can end up with muddy sound and lose some natural dynamic range the human ear demands in order to listen with pleasure.

You don't want anything inside your mix, nor your overall mix to go over -6 to -3. That keeps things from getting too loud when folks play it back. You'll of course do your voice first, and keep that between -12 and -6, very safe, very easy to work with, plays back loud enough. Music I usually aim for no higher than -12 or so. Then mix by ear. SFX are all over the place, so I've never had a rule of thumb for them, just mixed by ear.

Good places to start, but use your ear.

Be careful of too much limiting or compressing, it can make your audio sound flat and dull. You want that natural dynamic range to keep it pleasant for your audience. It is very rare I put a Limiter on anything.

And remember if something is overpowering something else, pull its levels down first, don't boost everything else, you end up fighting a volume war no one will ever win.

In the end, use your ear, and don't go much over -6 to be clean.
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Optimal dB volume levels for instructional video? 19 Apr 2017 09:06 #87321

  • AlexMaxim
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Sefanzed wrote:
I always set a "Brick wall" limiter at -6 (overall) for youtube and related instructionals. This of course assumes that the combined audio levels aren't way over that so that the limiting isn't too severe.

Great tip! Thank you!
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Optimal dB volume levels for instructional video? 19 Apr 2017 09:07 #87322

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FCPX.guru wrote:
Just because you don't risk distortion until you go over zero, doesn't mean zero is where you audio sounds its best. Avoid going too close to zero at all costs. Can end up with muddy sound and lose some natural dynamic range the human ear demands in order to listen with pleasure.

You don't want anything inside your mix, nor your overall mix to go over -6 to -3. That keeps things from getting too loud when folks play it back. You'll of course do your voice first, and keep that between -12 and -6, very safe, very easy to work with, plays back loud enough. Music I usually aim for no higher than -12 or so. Then mix by ear. SFX are all over the place, so I've never had a rule of thumb for them, just mixed by ear.

Good places to start, but use your ear.

Be careful of too much limiting or compressing, it can make your audio sound flat and dull. You want that natural dynamic range to keep it pleasant for your audience. It is very rare I put a Limiter on anything.

And remember if something is overpowering something else, pull its levels down first, don't boost everything else, you end up fighting a volume war no one will ever win.

In the end, use your ear, and don't go much over -6 to be clean.

Thank you so much for your kind and detailed guidance, which is sincerely appreciated! We will use the respective broad limits that you have outlined.
Last Edit: 19 Apr 2017 09:16 by AlexMaxim.
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