In the mid-Noughties, nascent software house NUGEN Audio attended a loudness summit at the EBU in Geneva as part of the discussions surrounding the development and introduction of EBU R128. During this event, it became obvious to the company’s two founders that loudness could present a serious workflow issue if the entire content of the programme needed to be measured in order to produce a value.
Based on that moment of realisation, NUGEN’s Jon Schorah and Dr. Paul Tapper (left and right, pictured at IBC2016) began implementing a software meter that could meet two conditions: the ability to work within the NLE editing environment, and the ability to measure loudness at faster-than-real-time. The pair believed that these two factors were critical for implementation of an acceptable post-production workflow. Their hunch turned out to be right.
In the meantime, almost all of NUGEN Audio’s competitors were pursuing a traditional approach to loudness metering. “Up until that time, most serious high-end metering equipment was hardware-based, but we believed real-time hardware would soon have very limited use due to the paradigm shifts taking place with programme loudness normalisation,” explains former drum’n’bass DJ producer-turned-NUGEN creative director Schorah.
The result of these efforts was VisLM, NUGEN Audio’s award-winning visual loudness metering software. Released in late 2010, VisLM was the industry’s first commercially available EBU R128 loudness compliant NLE plug-in. In only six years, VisLM has gone on to become an industry standard for loudness metering as the dramatic limitations of hardware solutions have become obvious.
“We didn’t realise this was the right approach until well after that first EBU loudness summit,” says Schorah. “We simply tackled the challenge as we always do, trying to apply our areas of expertise to find the best-possible solution. It helped that we didn’t have a hardware bias to lead us in a different direction.”
Published in late 2015 and sponsored by QSC Audio,Genius!2is the second edition of Genius!, celebrating those clever people whose inventions have transformed the world of professional audio. The 30-page supplement is also available to read in a handy digital-edition form