View Full Version : How to figure out audio levels?


Krios
08-25-2017, 04:22 PM
Is there a way to figure out correct audio levels for voice over tracks?
Is there a certain dB range?

Software like Adobe SoundBooth has a bar to indicate levels. Does that need to be mostly in the green?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Quality
08-25-2017, 04:37 PM
I always keep my audio levels within the green. I also test it by talking louder ensuring that it stays in the green, or depending on the loudness it partially goes into the red, without too much distortion.

AcousticAl
08-25-2017, 04:48 PM
What's your distribution target: broadcast, theatrical release, or Internet?

The colors are not your first go-to indicator. Your ears are, but after that you should look at the dB scale. Your VO track should be recorded to average between -18dB and -12dB. You might experience the occasional peak above -12/-10 if it's a line with lots of energy and enthusiasm, but VO usually has less dynamic range than on-cam dialog.

And recording into the red "without too much distortion" is bad practice. There shouldn't be any distortion. If you get even a little distortion, you're doin' it wrong.

Alcove Audio
08-25-2017, 06:18 PM
I always keep my audio levels within the green. I also test it by talking louder ensuring that it stays in the green, or depending on the loudness it partially goes into the red, without too much distortion.

Quality - you keep offering advice on topics about which you know very little.

Quality
08-25-2017, 06:33 PM
That's just how I record my audio. Thanks for the correction by the way. I don't do it on a professional level.

AcousticAl
08-25-2017, 07:20 PM
Quality - you keep offering advice on topics about which you know very little.

"How long to sing this song?"

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/dd/Bono_U2_360_Tour_2011.jpg/220px-Bono_U2_360_Tour_2011.jpg

Krios
08-25-2017, 07:21 PM
I always keep my audio levels within the green. I also test it by talking louder ensuring that it stays in the green, or depending on the loudness it partially goes into the red, without too much distortion.

Thanks for summing it up Elrod, I owe you one. :]

Krios
08-25-2017, 07:27 PM
What's your distribution target: broadcast, theatrical release, or Internet?

The colors are not your first go-to indicator. Your ears are, but after that you should look at the dB scale. Your VO track should be recorded to average between -18dB and -12dB.

The final animation will be mostly for the Internet, but who knows, it might turn out to be good enough for the indie circuit.

Thing is that I am not doing the recording, most of it is from fiverr&fees.com, so they are all at different levels.
So if I adjust the tracks, they should all average between -18dB and -12dB when played back in After Effects?

Thanks for taking the time Acoustic!

AcousticAl
08-25-2017, 07:36 PM
Thing is that I am not doing the recording, most of it is from fiverr&fees.com, so they are all at different levels.
So if I adjust the tracks, they should all average between -18dB and -12dB when played back in After Effects?

Essentially. I was looking at the dB markings on the SoundBooth meter. Basically, -10dB is your target peak, but some NLEs mark -12dB instead. For Internet distribution, the difference isn't important. Dialog in general will run somewhere in the neighborhood of -22 and -10, but sudden peaks like shouts and yelps can hit as high as -6dB.

VO, like I said, doesn't typically have that much dynamic range, so set it to peak mostly at the -12/-10 mark, and if there's something loud and brief that momentarily hits a little higher, don't sweat it.

But you say it's animation. So, these are character dialog instead of VO? Those may have a little more dynamic range (the distance from the lowest level to the highest), but the target peak is the same.

Side note: fiverr is ruining the business, and I'm not surprised your levels are all over the map.

Krios
08-25-2017, 07:43 PM
VO, like I said, doesn't typically have that much dynamic range, so set it to peak mostly at the -12/-10 mark, and if there's something loud and brief that momentarily hits a little higher, don't sweat it.

Thank you for the wisdom Acoustic... I owe you one!