Audio School: Loudness, Normalized

'33 Beautiful Examples Of Volume Dial And Knob Designs' | Hongkiat '33 Beautiful Examples Of Volume Dial And Knob Designs' | Hongkiat

How to manage the loudness of the audio in your video project.

Inconsistent audio levels present challenges – both for the video-maker in post-production, and for the viewer watching the end product. Curtis Judd breaks down both the techniques for, and the thinking behind, managing loudness in your audio.

1. Volume vs Loudness

If you haven’t already, first check out Curtis’s explanation of Loudness (and how it differs from Volume):

2. Loudness Normalize

With Loudness defined, Curtis then explains the concept of how to normalize, or create consistency throughout, the loudness of your audio:

Curtis Judd’s recommended workflow:

  • Edit your video
  • Clean your audio clips
  • Mix your audio
  • Export/”Bounce” your mix
  • Measure LUFS & dBTP
    • the standard integrated loudness for streaming content (such as music, which is usually more compressed) is -14
    • Curtis recommends -17 to -16 for dialogue or podcasts (which tend to be less compressed, and therefore benefit from more headroom, or space for more natural, human variance in amplitude peaks)
  • Headroom – “the number of dB between the highest peak on your waveform & 0 dB”
    • in an integrated loundess meter, headroom is measured by true peak
    • if needed, create headroom with using compression (more on that here)
  • Add the normalized mix to your video project

Further Viewing

As demonstrated, loudness is best managed after you’ve mixed your audio:

Here are some more advanced tips for mixing audio for video: