What is in this article?:
- Audio post industry not entirely on board with CALM Act
- Creative community resisting CALM
- Automated spot checks are key
- Achieving creative goals while remaining compliant with the law
The creative part of the commercial industry has balked at having any elements of their ads regulated by the government.
Now that the CALM Act is mandate and enforcement has theoretically begun, the “perceived loudness” of advertising spots on television should be generally acceptable to most viewers. Getting there, however, has been far from easy at this point.
For the most part, stations have spent the effort (and money) to implement safeguards that ensure proper audio levels, as mandated in the CALM Act. As a recent example, Fisher Communications' 13 local stations are now deploying Monitor IQ audio measurement technology from Digital Nirvana. Monitor IQ provides Web-based, HD/SD channel monitoring, logging, compliance and diagnostics/QC, as well as archiving of content recordings for up to 90 days.
Lee Wood, regional director of engineering for Fisher Communications (in Seattle, WA) said the stations will use Monitor IQ for regulatory compliance and loudness monitoring of its off-air HD and SD DTV channels.
So, monitoring the outgoing program stream is critical. But what about the content coming into a station? Station engineers have said that the audio levels of the original commercial spots and other content being ingested on a daily basis are all over the spectrum. Indeed, there are probably as many ways of monitoring and adjusting audio levels as there are professional mixers tasked with doing it. That breeds confusion. Add to that the general perception across the advertising community that loudness is really someone else’s issue, namely the local stations and cable TV outlets that distribute it, and you begin to see broadcasters’ concern. They are the ones that risk being fined by the FCC, not the original content creator.
After speaking with companies that deliver ads electronically to stations — in the form of a digital file — you get the impression that there is still much work to be done to get all of those involved with mixing the original piece to readily comply with the law and provide content that does not have to be adjusted at the station before broadcast.