Dolby addresses sound issue with meter

Device to help sound editors monitor trailers, soundtracks

Dolby Sound Labs unveiled its soundtrack loudness meter, which allows sound mixers to monitor trailers and other film soundtracks, at Variety’s Dolby Tech Symposium here on May 20.

The Dolby loudness meter is intended to level out the sound of trailers as they relate to each other and the feature film. It has been developed in the aftermath of last year’s Trailer Audio Standards Agreement that sought to develop a standardization procedure.

Announcement was made at a panel addressing the question, “Are Movies Too Loud?,” in which creatives and exhibition execs shared a common concern for the audience’s ability to follow the plot of a film. “It’s very unclear exactly what people will hear because there’s no clear standard,” says Mario Van Peebles (“New Jack City,” “Posse,” “Love Kills”). “People go to the movies for a bigger experience (than other entertainment) but they have to be able to hear the dialogue.”

John Wilkinson of Britain’s Cinema Exhibition Assn. suggests there’s a legal responsibility as well. “There’s a duty of care to customers and employees. Noise is not just about enjoyment.”

Other panelists were Dolby’s Tim Partridge, Brit film critic Barry Norman, Per Halberg, sound designer for “Godzilla,” cinema builder Joost Bert and sound designer William Flageollet, whose credits include the Krzystof Kieslowski trilogy, “Red,” “White” and “Blue.”

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