Nº 1 2012 > In brief
ITU receives Emmy Award for new audio broadcast standard
Chairman, ITUR Study Group 6 (broadcasting service)
On 12 January 2012, the Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau, François Rancy, and I proudly received on behalf of ITU–R Study Group 6 (broadcasting service) the Emmy Award for Technology and Engineering for 2011 from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, of the United States. The Emmy was awarded for the ground-breaking work relating to Recommendation ITU–R BS.1770‑2 on the worldwide standardization of loudness metering for use in broadcast audio, which the Academy considered as outstanding and showing excellence in engineering creativity.
There are many applications where it is necessary to measure and control the perceived loudness of audio signals. Examples of this include television and radio broadcast applications, where the nature and content of the audio material changes frequently. In these applications, the audio content can continually switch between music, speech and sound effects, or some combination of these. It can also change between various audio or audio-visual sources, for example in international programme exchange. Such changes in the content of the programme material can result in significant changes in subjective loudness. Moreover, various forms of dynamics processing are frequently applied to the signals, which can have a significant effect on the perceived loudness of the signal. Of course, the matter of subjective loudness is also of great importance to the music industry where dynamic processing is commonly used to maximize the perceived loudness of a recording.
Recommendation ITU–R BS.1770 — Algorithms to measure audio programme loudness and true-peak audio level — was elaborated over a decade through the dedication of many specialists including Craig Todd (Dolby/United States), Gilbert Soloudre (CRC/Canada), and Spencer Lieng (ABC/Australia). It was eventually finalized during the most recent study period within ITU–R Working Party 6C, under the chairmanship of David Wood (European Broadcasting Union). The pertinent algorithm and the agreed parameters are now contained in the revision to the Recommendation, approved by the ITU Member States, giving worldwide guidance on loudness metering, which is considered an important advance in this area.