Monday, June 4, 2007

I'm Tired of How Loud Commercials Are! And So is The ASA!

The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK has a great write up on the perceived volume of modern TV commercials.

It's so frustrating. There you are watching your favorite crime drama about hot young sexy NCIS/FBI/CIA/FDNY/LAPD/CSI/NSA/NSF/NYPD Agents investigating something. There's drama. There's intensity. There's always one old sage character that mumbles all his dialog (I'M LOOKING AT YOU CARUSO!!!) forcing you to continuously boost the volume on your TV. There's a "gasp" moment and then the picture fades.
Then a friggin soap commercial comes blaring in and almost ruptures the crappy speakers built into your crappy 27" CRT TV. The wife is getting all upset because it might bother the neighbors (who smoke so much pot I'm surprised they can hear anything), and the dog starts freaking out, and then I get all fed up and just turn the TV off and play Command and Conquer on my computer!

So why are these commercials SO FRAKKING LOUD?

In reality, they aren't, or, you could say, they don't peak louder than the show you were watching. They're compressed. Not like MP3's are compressed, in audio compressed means that the quietest parts of a piece of audio are boosted to almost match the loudest bits.

So, that show you're watching might use "quiet" for dramatic effect, but can get quite loud during say a shoot out or car chase, a commercial's quiet parts are going to be almost the same as the loud parts.

At their loudest the show and the commercial will be about the same, but at their quietest, the show will be FAR quieter than the commercial. As most shows cut to commercial at dramatic moments that means the commercial will be coming in FAR louder than the show left.

Fun right?

Well apparently this pisses more people off than just me, so the ASA is looking into how the standards for advertising volume are measured. For a more complete explanation of the problem, and their current plan for a solution, check out the article here.

If only we had something like this Stateside...

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