What are the peak audio levels for DVD production? If you talk to 7 different audio engineers you will most likely get different answers.
I have produced audio post for film, video, broadcast and internet / streaming. Each final format of these delivery has different peak audio levels. Why? because each has a different output system or compression they use at the output stage. These are the levels that we use in our studio.
Here are some basic starting audio peak levels for these formats. Using the current video editing software never push your peaks to - 0db for final render.
For film and broadcast which is delivered in 5 to 1, 7 to 1, or stereo has a -12db level for dialog with the dynamic pecks not going over -6db ( explosions etc...)
Make sure you check the network you are delivering to because they often have their own requirements. Example: PBS is different then the Discovery Channel.
DVD’s you can safely have your peaks go to -6db or -4db. With the internet, like YouTube you can peak at -3db because they use a compression with their conversion to prevent distortion.
These are basic levels. There are some other post audio methods that are used in the process to maximize the dynamics without surpassing the peak levels. These are methods that are more then can be covered in this short article. Good luck and rules are made to be broken!
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