I am on the verge of paying the big price ticket to get Surcode unlocked within premiere, but I can't successfully get a file to output with high enough volume.
I have tried with dialogue normalisation set to -1, -5, -27 and it makes no difference. I have also set dynamic range compression to off and set all of the mix levels to as close to 0dB as they will go (they're -3dB by default and the same in the above pic)and tried 3dB surround attenuation but all of these things make no difference.
When I drag the AC3 file back into premiere after export, I need to apply 30dB of audio gain to it for it to playback at the same sort of volume I want (and the volume I saw/heard before exporting from premiere).
I have emailed Surcode after hearing good things about their customer service but as yet they have just pointed me towards some generic dolby pdf's which I've read but can't find the problem.
I'm desperate for help as I have an entire project waiting to be exported once I cure this issue!
When I drag the AC3 file back into premiere
Why would you do that? The point of creating an .ac3 file is for use in Encore so a disk can be authored.
Have you authored a disk yet? Have you tested that on a disk player? How do the levels compare with other Hollywood disks?
i appreciate your reply Jim. I imported back into premiere as it was an easy way to see the waveform and gague the volume (which revealed it to be about 30dB too quiet)
I have authored using encore and it is massively too quiet. I usually turn my av amp to 15-20, but to hear this file correctly I need to push it to 45. Something that would blow my head off if I then accidentally flicked back to normal TV or a hollywood disc.
Ive contacted surcode and they can't help, i'm now wondering if it's the way ive set up the audio within premiere in the first place (which tracks go to which speaker etc) however, the audio output levels in premiere as i'm editing are exactly as I want, peaking around -3dB so perhaps the issue is elsewhere?
if it helps here is a screen grab of my mixer, i'm convinced the problem stems from here.
I have multiple similar tracks as I am unable to apply a crossfade between songs so I need to put them on different tracks with the same 5.1 attributes, fade one out and fade another in.
this is now driving me mad.. I have 1 trial export left between the 2 pc's that I have premiere installed on and don't want to waste it like I just did.
I have put 3 images into a zip file HERE which show the mixer before exporting (showing good levels), the full export settings, and then I re-imported the ac3 into premiere to view the levels and you can see that they are 30dB lower.
I am really keen to get an answer to this issue if anybody can offer any help at all.
ok my final trial has gone, I tried unticking LFE on as in the surcode manual it says only tick this if you have a dedicated LFE channel which I don't (I just turned the LF dial slightly up on the front left and right channels but surely this doesn't constitute a LFE Channel?) I also set dynamic range compression to 0 and once agian, the same issue, -30dB on the finished ac3.
I have no trials left and I really don't want to pay $300 if I'm never going to be able to get this sorted out...
Thanks Jim, Bill Hunt has always been very helpful with audio questions over at the creative cow forums but i posted this in there at the same time and have had no interest at all. I'm on the verge of just giving up and delivering in stereo as the client can't wait much more for their dvd.
I use the encoder a lot, and I find when the dianorm values are set at -27 this gives unity gain on the finished Mpeg Raising the value makes the encoded video quieter. I presume lowering the value will make it louder but I have not tried this.
I thought the dianorm value only changed the metadata for the replay device and I was suprised when it changed the Mpeg encode level.
Thanks for your reply Richard, the only thinlg is I've tried with it at -27 and -1 and I'm sure there was no difference... Whether I changed other parameters as well or not I don't know.. Looks like I may have to pay the 300usd for the privilege of testing a few things to find out
clareschons, have you considered contacting the software developer and seeing if they can give you an extension on the demo. Might be worth a try.
Yeah have tried that and they said they cannot help.. Appreciate your replies. Would love to hear some more thoughts on what I could try. If I get a few suggestions it might make the risk of purchasing more worth taking!
Hardly any help for you, but one more experience:
I used my trials with 6 wav tracks from audio engineer, so no mixing from my side.
I used just default settings.
The final Blu-ray was checked in a real cinema theatre with the same audio engineer and because he was happy I was happy too and bought the plugin.
I tried now to import my .ac3 to Premiere and the levels were the same as in the original timeline, not -30 or something like you had.
I checked my default export settings and compared to your export settings, there was two differences:
1. this Dialog Normalization that you have changed was -27
2.in Advanced section 90 Degree Phase Shift was checked you had not.
Thanks! That is indeed a help. do you remember how you mixed the tracks in premiere? Did you just drag the puck into the corners for all surrounds and to the middle for the center with the center dial on that channel turned to 100 percent?
If you look towards the end at this forum topic:
you will see how I and others convert 6 mono tracks to 5.1
If you want more trial uses you could always refort your c: drive and reinstall windows and Premiere.
Thank you so much Richard.. Wish i'd seen that when I had trials remaining!
Haven't read up yet but I certainly didn't have the center channel on 100 percent like the screen grab in that tutorial.
Hopefully this could be the answer..
i didn't realise that was a tutorial to get around using Surcode. To be honest I like the look of surcode and the simplicity of it and I think it's worth the money if it only did it's job.
My problem has now directed me to the mixer page of the premiere window as I think this might be part of the cause.
in this picture each channel has the center dial turned up to full. It was my understanding that this would result in every track coming out 100% in the center channel and not anywhere else. I.e - by putting left rear channel's center dial up to 100% that would result in all of the sound going to the center channel and none into the left rear. Is this incorrect?
I also think that the LFE channel in that pic looks different to mine because of the steps he takes elsewhere in the workflow, but on mine I have the LFE dial on the front left and right and also the center tracks turned to about 30%, which (as is my understanding anyway) means that of the sound in those channels 30% of it is sent to the sub woofer.
I've looked everywhere for a decent tutorial on how to set up your mixer for a 5.1 project but can not find one.
My files are NOT all mono either and I think this might be an issue. I have a mono vocal track but then a stereo wav for music which I pan to front left and rights (I duplicate the track and push one puck to front left and one to front right, but i've also tried putting it in the center channel and leaving the center dial at 0% as this also seems to send the sound to the front left and right equally.)
From your mixer picture, it looks like you have LFE turned off on all channels. Also it looks like all channels have the center settings at 100%.
Remember than LFE only uses the low frequencies to be send to the woofer. If you play the timeline and my reading of your mixer screen is correct, you will not see any LFE activity diuring playback in the Master track. Why would you want 100% center on all first 4 tracks, when you have the puck in the dedicated corners?
harm, totally agree. That picture is the mixer from the tutorial I was directed to, and you have exactly the same conclusion of it that I came to. It looks all wrong.
My mixer screen grab as well as waveforms before and after are in this zip file.
Are you a Surcode user Harm?
Yes, I am a Surcode user and I had a look at your mixer settings. They look perfectly OK to me and are in line with your previous description.
Although I have been using Surcode since Premiere 6, I have never modified any of the default settings on export. So I can't confirm or deny whether modifying these settings have any effect at all. Maybe the problem you see is in the reimporting into PR, requiring the 30 dB gain. How does it sound from a DVD or BRD? Is the volume still too low? Does that also apply to playing it back with VLC or MPC?
Harm, as a seasoned user I really appreciate your help!
Yes I have burned to DVD and it is way way too quiet. Not tried in an alternative media player (didn't feel it necessary as Disc playback is my end delivery method so I need this right...)
I'm convinced the issue is somehow caused by the type of files in the timeline, not all being simple mono files for example. Also the fact that I dont have a low frequency track as such, I just take a little from the other tracks by turning the LFE dial up very slightly... but i fear this is the wrong way to fix it?
Also is the top middle puck positon for center channel, or for front left and right combined? Everyone seems to say center channel, but in that case why have the center dial on all channels, and why when I drag something into this 'center channel' does it play back from the front left and right channels simultaneously?!
There are two ways to get a centre image, one is the way that stereo works, you send your centre signal to both left and right and the sound appears to come from the middle, a 'phantom image'. This works if you are sitting between the speakers and are equidistant from them. In a cinema situation some of the audience are nearer to the left or right speaker and this phantom centre image does not then work. To get round this problem a dedicated centre speaker was added, mainly for dialogue and this nails down the position of the centre audio. When mixing music or effects it often sounds more natural not to use the centre speaker so only the left and right are used with nothing sent to the centre, you still get the 'stereo phantom effect'. When mixing dialogue this is panned to the centre but the centre speaker feed is turned up full, this removes the signal from the left and right and puts it into the centre channel only. Once again this sometimes sounds wrong, the voice seems to be separate from the main mix, so you then back off the feed to the centre channel and re-introduce some of the signal back into the left and right, this is called divergence. These are decisions the dubbing mixer makes during the final mix.
If you go to the Dolby web site there is a lot more information about all forms of surround.
Thanks thats helpful, some of that I knew some I didn't but my issue with which channels are for what are more specifically for the mixer display within premiere. For example is it necessary to actually drag the puck into the center channel or could I just turn the center mix of the front and left up slightly.
In short, as much as I've learned in this thread, I still don't have a clue why my finished ac3 is -30dB and less of a clue how to resovle it.
I've just made an interesting discovery. I exported an mpeg today in stereo, well I thought it was stereo, I rushed it.
When I play it back through my media player connected to AV amp it plays back in the front left and right and ALSO the center channel.
My main reason to buy surcode was to get some dialogue in the center channel, not really for the rear effects. With this in mind I might settle for this instead, however I'm aware that it probably means the same audio comes from the 3 center channels, without seperating the vocal for the middle.
I'm going to do some tests and try to find out how I exported this, and if I burn this file to a DVD will it then only play in stereo, in which case there might be another issue in the authoring process (encore).
If anyone has any idea on how I might have exported the mpeg to play back using sub, center, left and right fronts then please let me know.
In the past I always export as a seperate video and audio file as it stops things going out of sync in encore but I wonder if by choosing mpeg this time something has changed the audio set up.
Sorry I should have said the mpeg I exported was NOT using surcode as I have no trials left
You are making a big mistake
Dialogue Normalization should be set to -31.
It is the value at which no volume adjustment is performed by your consumer decoder.If you set it -27 your decoder will turn down the volume by 4db. If you set it at -5 your decoder will turn down the volume by 26db!!!
So in other words -31=the loudest, -1=the most silent
I am still using Vegas for exporting my audio to ac3 (shame Adobe, we paid so much money and not full 5.1 encoder included) and these are the proper settings for ac3 encoding without your decoder adjusting the volume
AC3 Pro Encoder:
Dialog Norm = -31 (this sets it at unity gain)
RF and Line Mode DRC = OFF (WYHIWYG)
DC High Pass Filter = ON (this operates at <=3Hz and takes DC bias out of the mix)
Bandwidth High Pass Filter = ON (this takes aliasing noise at >20kHz out of the encode)
90 Deg Phase Shift = ON
Also check this Dynamic Compression preset= Film standard. Can you set it to "none"
Premiere Pro has always been really bad as far as audio is concerned and no wonder why all these experts here are good at advising for video issues but nobody noticed the big mistake with the -31 dialog norm
thank you so much Fotis, this seems to possibly be the answer I was waiting for.
In fairness to everyone else though, in my original post I said I tried dialnorm at -1, -5, -27 and it was no different, however the maths of what you are saying add up so much that I'm sure this MUST be it.
I think I'm going to purchase now, wait for my code to be emailed from the states and hopefully tomorrow I can do some actual detailed testing...
so this could be the end of this mess.. .or the start of an even bigger mess...
I'm going in!
Just chiming in here and FotisGreece has provided a possible cause to the OP issue, but it is incorrect to state that the DialNorm setting should be -31, but correct to say this will provide unity.
If you are a serious (professional) user of Surround in both broadcast and DVD distribution then you need to fully understand Loudness as it relates to programme content and how to measure it to arrive at the correct settings in line with the recommendations set by broadcasters. In the US ATSC and in Europe the EBU has provided recommendations although I'm not sure if the FCC in the US has implemented the ATSC recommendations from a legal point of view. It's been some years since I was involved with ATSC.
I would suggest visiting the EBU technical recommendations and in particular papers and webinars concerning R-128 the EBU recommendation. Start here http://tech.ebu.ch/publications and here http://tech.ebu.ch/events/webinar_loudness1/cache/off?id=13224 Florian is someone I used to know during my previous professional involvements - it sounds tedious but well worth the time to study.
thanks drystonewall, so these are the guys who are responsible for my wife moaning at me every time we watch a film and have to turn up the volume to hear speech but turn down the volume for action scenes so as not to wake our daughter up? I try to tell her 'this is what it's like in the cinema, get used to it' but she's not having it...!
now at 2 days and counting for a reply from minnetonka on how to pay by paypal (as they have a paypal logo on the payment page but the only option is to enter your bank account details)
considering I'd heard so many good things I'm not all that impressed with minnetonka's customer service up to this point
You might also like to check out the work of Jim Starzynski who has done some sterling work for ATSC concerning loudness. I worked with Jim on a number of audio projects on behalf of a certain manufacturer. Jim is Principal Audio Engineer at NBC Universal.
I took the plunge and purchased and my initial tests at -31 dialnorm seem to be good... I think this might have been the issue all along...
Will update after more tests! Thanks to all for your help!
I have never had an issue with a SurCode AC3 being attenuated. What I hear in PrPro, prior to Export is very, very close to what I get onto DVD with Encore.
Now, there are some considerations on the settings in the SurCode Export box, and it might be a good idea to just post a screen-cap of those settings, as something might be amiss there, and with the screen-cap, we can see just what those settings are.
I have only had to contact Minnetonka Audio a few times, and in those cases, they were very quick and very good at getting back to me.
Sorry that you are having issues with their C/S.
thanks Bill. I posted the settings screen grab in a zip file quite early on but the problem is now fixed.
The issue was the dianorm as Richard Knight and FotisGreece suggested. I thought I'd exported at -31 but don't think I had. Even at -27 there is some volume reduction and at -5 (which I thought was a louder level, therefore the output would be louder) it was barely audible.
All working 100% fine now on the default settings (I should have assumed they'd be the settings to try) I just need to learn more about how to film and mix with 5.1 in mind...
I'm rather excited about it all!
Thanks to everyone
Thank you for that clarification and follow-up. When looking back over the thread (missed it early on, as I was traveling), I did not notice the ZIP. Sorry for that request, as you had already covered that. My bad.
Glad that the Dialnorm setting got things sorted out for you, and thank you for posting the solution.
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