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.
Achieving creative goals while remaining compliant with the law
“Not everyone is willing to do that,” SpotGenie’s Dykes said. “If the audio mixers don't do it right, they think the broadcaster will fix it. So, that’s why I think the audio post industry has to do a better job of educating its members about how to achieve your creative goals while also remaining compliant with the law.”
SpotGenie also has a sister audio post-production company called Acoustic Music, in Atlanta, so Dykes sees what’s happen in the mixing suite firsthand. He said there’s still work to be done.
“I don't think that many audio engineers that mix commercials have gotten as serious about the issue as they should,” he said. “There was never a law before. Now the CALM Act, combined with the risk that a spot will get kicked back by the client, are good reasons to pay attention to the final mix levels. I think it will work itself out and everyone will eventually become compliant. The audio mixers also need to understand that if an audio level needs to be compressed, it’s better for the post house to do it than the broadcaster (who does not have as much invested in that spot). The CALM Act has allowed audio mixers to have more control over the final listening experience because now the exact spec they should mix to. If they don't mix to that spec, their spot might be compromised down the line.”
The biggest hurdle is reaching industry consensus, in spite of the law. Commercials are produced from different sources with different workflows and wide-ranging creative decision makers. The methods of mixing are equally diverse. Getting everyone to understand the importance of compliance at the creative level is key. Broadcasters have done (and continue to do) their part.
“Different advertisers have different perspectives,” Extreme Reach’s Haskitt said. “We’ve heard some advertisers saying they don't want to be regulated as far as how the ad runs. As we all can surmise, advertisers love their spots to run hot [loud]. Other advertisers understand that the audience gets annoyed when a spot is too loud, and so that viewer either turns down the audio level or walks away from the TV. Theses are two scenarios that advertisers fear the most. So, many feel that if you want your spot to be seen, you should make it compatible with what the government has decided viewers can tolerate. It’s really that simple.”