Esben Skovenborg and Thomas Lund with their AES Paper Award
Risskov, Denmark (November 13, 2013)—Thomas Lund, CTO for Broadcast & Production at TC Electronic, along with TC Electronic’s senior research engineer Esben Skovenborg Ph.D, received the Best Peer-Reviewed Paper Award by the Audio Engineering Society during the 135th AES Convention in New York City.
The paper, titled 'Level-Normalization of Feature Films Using Loudness vs Speech,’ presents an empirical study of the differences between level-normalization of feature films using the two dominant methods: loudness normalization and speech (‘dialog’) normalization. Lund and Skovenborg analyzed 35 recent ‘blockbuster’ DVDs using both methods for their research.
“For all films, the loudness method provided the lowest normalization level and hence the greatest headroom,” Lund and Skovenborg wrote in their abstract. “Comparison of automatic speech measurement to manual measurement of dialog anchors shows a typical difference of 4.5 dB, with the automatic measurement producing the highest level. Employing the speech-classifier to process rather than measure the films, a listening test suggested that the automatic measure is positively biased because it sometimes fails to distinguish between “normal speech” and speech combined with “action” sounds.”
The paper, number 8983, will soon be available on the AES Convention Paper E-Library: www.aes.org/e-lib
"Needless to say, we're very honored to receive this award that recognizes our scientific research methods as well as our contribution to the field of loudness technology. Although TC and others have provided loudness solutions for years, considerable challenges remain, and by basing new products and technology on empirical research, we are better able to serve the needs of the broadcasters and audio engineers," Skovenborg said.
"We felt it was important to make this study, as films may be made for cinema, but are often viewed on TV, where they have to co-exist with all kinds of program material in terms of audio loudness. Further, even if we look at film in an isolated context, there's also a loudness war going on in cinema, and we were trying to understand the reasons why. In broadcast as well as in cinema, it appears the number-one goal is to get the overall loudness suitable without hampering speech intelligibility. Speech level is less important," adds Thomas Lund.