Compression: Are Films and Trailers Getting Louder?

Bob Katz Leave a Comment

From: “Jerry Gerber”

Dear Bob:

Thanks for putting together a really informative and well-thought out web site. I have been perusing the various articles about mastering, digital audio, etc, and find your candor and point of view refreshing. I especially like what you have to say about compression and the “loudness war” which, obviously, no one can really win.

I myself have noticed the decibels creeping up over the past 5 years or so in film soundtrack work especially. I swore to myself that the next time I go see an action or science fiction movie I am bringing ear plugs!

(especially for the trailers).

Thanks again for the information.

Jerry Gerber

Personally I find a well-engineered “effects movie” when reproduced at the Dolby standard in theatres, has a very satisfying loudness, but I thoroughly agree the current practice of overcompressing trailers to get attention has gotten way out of hand. Do they mix those trailers on 6 inch speakers to avoid blowing out their ears? Unlike commercials played on a little TV, a movie theatre sound system can do some damage… As of about January 1999, movie trailers have calmed down quite a lot, thanks to the efort of Dolby labs and the SMPTE. Trailers are advertising, but films are art.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *