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TOPIC: Danger when collectively peaking at -0db? Or just right?

Danger when collectively peaking at -0db? Or just right? 31 Dec 2019 16:03 #103663

  • inVirgo
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Hello and happy New Year to you all!

I have limited video editing experience and I'm in the process of creating my first video for Youtube. I'm using Final Cut Pro X.

The thing I'm working on contains VO, B-roll w/ audio attached, SFX, and music. To give all of these elements the impact I feel they need, I have to make my audio peak fairly consistently around the -2db to -0db mark.

But when the audio peaks at -0, the red warning signal doesn't flash. I assume this means I haven't breached 0.0db and everything is okay. But I wanted to ask anyone with experience whether it is bad to be peaking at 0db, even if it's not flashing. Is the final cut pro audio meter completely accurate? Will it potentially distort on Youtube despite appearing to be fine in the NLE?

Needless to say, I really want to make a video with good audio , so any advice you could give me would be hugely appreciated.

Thank you!

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Danger when collectively peaking at -0db? Or just right? 01 Jan 2020 05:51 #103670

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If you are outputting for web or computer playback, it's OK.
If you are outputting for broadcast, huge not OK, stay around -6db.
Point is, it all depends on your final delivery/distribution method.

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Danger when collectively peaking at -0db? Or just right? 02 Jan 2020 07:00 #103677

  • Redifer
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Even for Youtube I tend to keep my peaks around -6db (unless a scene calls for more loudness) with dialog hovering around -12db. Sometimes (rarely) I'll get a random comment which says "why is your video quiet?". It's not. It's just that 99.99% of people who upload to Youtube aren't audio professionals and crank their videos all to hell. So in comparison my videos sound a little low. Weirdly, I hear there is a device called a volume knob and apparently the end user can make adjustments to this to compensate.

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Danger when collectively peaking at -0db? Or just right? 02 Jan 2020 12:30 #103681

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Happy new year! :)
I don't know how to do it correctly in FCPX because I'm a novice user (I come from Premiere and FCP- pre -X era) and it is a little odd to me how audio mixing is conceptualised in FCP . So I prefer exporting audio tracks to Logic and follow the classic DAW mixing style. But all you need is to understand the loudness concepts and how to apply appropriate audio plugins for your media destination.
Perhaps this article by Larry Jordan could be interesting for this question
larryjordan.com/articles/why-lufs-and-lk...-essential-to-video/

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Danger when collectively peaking at -0db? Or just right? 02 Jan 2020 12:47 #103684

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Keyframe the volume line in the audio clip, really easy. If you find you're keyframing the volume of a clip a lot, you probably need to apply a Compressor.
help.apple.com/logicpro-effects/mac/10.3/#/lgcef1bec0a5

LUFS applies to broadcast and FCC CALM Act regulations, not to YouTube. I have to deal with it daily, and find it annoying. I don't bother with it when doing my own stuff to be shown outside of TV or radio broadcast.

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Danger when collectively peaking at -0db? Or just right? 02 Jan 2020 17:50 #103691

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Redifer wrote: Even for Youtube I tend to keep my peaks around -6db (unless a scene calls for more loudness) with dialog hovering around -12db.

Absolutely. We do the same. Some good tips for mixing in FCPX we find…

When you’re mixing audio it’s very helpful to choose a ‘benchmark’ listening level that works for you (reasonably loud so you can hear everything properly) and then stick to that level whenever your’e mixing. Mark the settings on your system so you can always come back to that exact listening level.

Use Roles to split the audio parts into categories (Dialogue / B-roll / Effects / Music etc) Work on each section in turn then start to bring the mix together.

Always start with Dialogue, with the other Roles turned off. Get the the dialogue sounding right, then gradually bring in the other Roles (maybe B-roll next, then Effects, then Music) but let the dialogue be the basis for the levels of everything else. If your levels get too ‘hot’ try to deal with it by adjusting the Music or Effects (usually the culprits) rather than messing any more with the dialogue you already got right, or you’ll just be working round in circles.

When you’re done you can export the finished mix as a single file to bring back into your project and drop onto the timeline, which can be a good habit to get into. Or export along with the movie for YouTube, or export the Roles as separate ’stems’ - which broadcasters usually ask for.

(A word on delivering to Broadcast. As others here have mentioned, Broadcasters all have their own strict specs for levels and ‘loudness’. Out of spec audio will fail a broadcaster’s Q.C. check (quality control). It can be a minefield and you have to be extremely careful. Anything we make for broadcast we have mixed (or at least checked out) by an audio house when we can.)

Ripple Training have some good tutorials on mixing with Roles, such as this one:



Hope this helps.

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