Ready, Set, CALM

by | Commercials, Television

I recently attended a local Media Communications Association International meeting of area sound and video producers and my friend JJ Wright  of Different Drummer Studios was sharing the finer points of audio engineering.

I learned a few things that may be of interest:

Any room’s acoustics distorts and bends sound. Mitigation of sound issues include use of rigid fiberglass covered with fabric to create bass traps and reduce bass tones.

Foam isolates high tones.

JJ also played a before and after clean up of a file with crickets that needed to be eliminated from the raw file. He demonstrated by showing with the visual of  a spectrographic  view of an audio file. The cricket noise was a specific frequency that he was able to erase from the image view, and thus the audio. Amazing.

The biggest part of the presentation however is dealing with audio file preparation now with the CALM Act,  a new law  signed into law about a year ago  by President Obama  .  Read more on the  “Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation” or “CALM Act.”

Supposedly the law was to go into effect January 1 of this year. All commercials produced for network and local TV must run -23db average and -10 peak.  So television commercials will not sound louder than the sound of its programs .

I took a visit to the FCC’s website to learn more.

Have you noticed any difference? I’m hearing a lot of compression or EQ on spots that still seem louder.


  1. Scott,
    Thanks so much for that valuable and interesting link to the Broadcast Law Blog. So we’re waiting another (almost) year for full enactment. I do know that many of the networks are requiring producers to uphold the new requirements, and kick pieces back, so its good news to know that some are working to comply.

  2. With the CALM act in place from the FCC it will make TV quieter during commercials. This is way past due and I’m not sure why it took so long. DISH has also come up with a fix to this issue now, unlike a year like the FCC states. The TruVolume technology in the Hopper will prevent the annoying volume fluctuations of all TV’s. This is the newest receiver from DISH and it has some great features. The ability of up to six TV’s with the feature to record and have full DVR functions. Being able to record three shows at the same time and manage the TV DVR list. 250 HD hours of storage will give plenty of time for recordings without having to delete as often. You can take advantage of Sirius XM satellite music channels. Something new is that you can get Pandora as well as Facebook, which I know I’ll enjoy. Being able to use with my employee service from DISH provides a great home experience.

  3. Jay,
    Thank you for contributing to the conversation.

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