Working with LevelViewS

LevelViewS offers a variety of meters that will be described in detail in the “Detailed Operation of the Plugin” section of this manual.

Loudness meters measure from start to stop and therefore LevelViewS first needs to be activated by clicking the ‘play’ button. You can also click the ‘MANUAL’ button, which will then turn into ‘AUTO’. This activates the “Automatically follow DAW transport” function of LevelViewS. Another click on the button enables the ‘LINK’ function, which stores all intermediate loudness values along the time line. If after a first run the play cursor of the DAW is placed somewhere back on the time line, LevelView’s graph reflects the local history, but the numeric readings show the full program values. In case you now change your mix, the numeric results of the full program length are shown right away, freeing you of the need to re-measure your audio.

The main meter of LevelViewS has a curve that resembles that of the bendy meter of its big brother LevelView. However, in stead of the five integration times, LevelViewS only shows the S meter, which is the average loudness of the past 3 seconds. This meter is the most important meter for balancing dialog. The longer integration times of LevelView do not make sense when mixing short content like commercials. The ‘S’ of Levelview therefore stands for “LevelView for Short content”. In the outer ring, the relatively fast (400ms integration time) ‘M’ or Momentary meter is shown. It gives instant feedback of the current subjective loudness level. The M meter of LevelViewS is modelled on vintage light spot meters. It offers a view with continuos brightness, which is less fatiguing for the eye than the rapidly changing light intensity of a bar graph meter.

The M and S meters have a peak hold function. The scale of the main meter can be switched between ‘EBU +9’ scale and ‘EBU +18’ scale by clicking on the meter surface. Mark that with loudness meters, levels will regularly modulate above 0 LU. Since the target at the end of the program is 0 LU, one should modulate approximately an equal amount of sound above 0 LU as below it. Experience has for instance shown that properly modulated dialog has an S level that is allowed to vary between -7 LU for whispering and +7 LU for loud shouts. On average, dialog should modulate around 0 LU.

The big number at the center is the ‘I’ or Integrated loudness. It displays the LUFS level, which is relative to full scale. For EBU R128 recommendation compliance, this number needs to become -23 LUFS at the end of your mix. The 0 LU level of the main meter (at the top) is aligned to this level. For ATSC A/85 compliance, the number needs to be -24 LUFS and this 0 LU calibration is selected by clicking the ‘EBU’ text, which then changes to ‘ATSC A/85’. By clicking another time, the meter enters ‘User’ mode, with an adjustable 0 LU level and gate.

Broadcast and post production engineers in the US know that according to the ATSC recommendation A/85 they need to adjust the volume of their program based upon analysis of the dialog parts only. This is conveniently done using LevelViewS. The 2009 edition of ATSC A/85 has no ‘relative gate’ in the measurement and a target of -24 LKFS (= LUFS) in stead of -23 LUFS like in EBU R128. In its ATSC setting LevelViewS complies to that standard. Since the ITU has adopted the EBU R128 relative gate in 2011, it is now unclear if ATSC A/85 advices to measure ‘all with gating’ or dialog only. Grimm Audio will closely follow the developments. Mark that moving loudness meters like the main meter of LevelViewS do not use the relative gate: the user should have a view of all levels. Only the integrated (I) loudness level is gated.

Below the big ‘I’ number the ‘max TP’ or Maximum True Peak level is indicated. By clicking max TP, it changes to max SP, which stands for ‘maximum Sample Peak level’. To the right of the main meter, Max M and max S reflect the peak hold readings of the main meter (the maximum Momentary level and the maximum Short term level). When the levels exceed certain limits, the numbers will turn orange.

Clicking the Grimm logo in the upper left corner opens the info page of LevelViewS where you can see the version number, credit list and licence.