Why are movie previews so loud?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Johnny Action, Oct 16, 2019.

  1. Johnny Action

    Johnny Action Forum President Thread Starter

    Kailua, Hawai’i
    I’ve noticed this interesting phenomenon for years. So damn loud, compared to the feature film.
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  2. aussievinyl

    aussievinyl Appreciator Of Creative Expression

    Maybe it’s to get us excited. I look away at some of them as they show you the main plot points and reveal too much, which destroys the sense of anticipation I might have.

    At least we’re in the cinema watching, though.
    lightbulb likes this.
  3. Commercials are always loud. Previews are commercials.
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  4. Motown Junk

    Motown Junk Forum Resident

    Wales, UK
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  5. thegage

    thegage Forum Currency Nerd

    I’ve complained to our local cinema a couple of times. They said others have complained too, but there’s nothing they can do: “they tell us to turn them up.” (Whoever “they” is) My reply was, “well you won’t get much of my business.” And they don’t. After their viewers continue to decline they’ll blame it on people turning to home theater.

  6. Roland Stone

    Roland Stone Offending Member

    Deep Maryland
    A friend whose wife is a huge DOWNTON ABBEY fan won't go see the movie in a theater because of how deafeningly loud theaters are anymore.

    There were a lot of complaints here and elsewhere about how loud BLADE RUNNER 2049 and DUNKIRK were. I almost got up and left BLADE RUNNER 2049.
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  7. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

    NS, Canada
    Even the movies are too loud.

    The hearing aid business is booming, thanks to the epidemic of deafness.

    Long article in a recent Atlantic called "Why is the world so loud". Silence has become a luxury only the rich can afford.
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  8. johnod

    johnod Forum Resident

    I think most movies are too loud as well.
    When I go to the show, I always bring along a pair of foam earplugs, works for me.
  9. hvbias

    hvbias Midrange magic

    Even the main pictures are way too loud at our Cinemagic, last time we were there I estimate it was just barely making it within the realms of safe levels for a two hour duration (could easily see it being in damaging levels for an action movie), but after that experience there is no way I'm risking my hearing again. Once your hearing is degraded you'll never be able to appreciate music the same way.

    I don't even have a single reason to go anymore, personal home theaters have got to such a high level with pixel shifting 4k projectors and will only get better once the current generation of the high end gets to a more affordable level. And I can set a well within safe limits SPL.
  10. wolfyboy3

    wolfyboy3 Now I'm Prune Tracey

  11. bamaaudio

    bamaaudio Forum Resident

    Pretty much this. A lot of folks don't really pay attention or are chit chatting before the movie starts. A loud commercial/trailer kind of messes with your senses to the point where it's harder to ignore and you're kind of forced to take notice. Movies themselves often seem to not be mixed as hot but certainly can be, especially action or modern horror. The good thing is they aren't hitting those peaks throughout the entire film like in a concert setting.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
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  12. polchik

    polchik Forum Resident

    i think there are gonna be a LOT of hearing impaired folks in the coming years ...... at least when i stuffed my ears w earpods during the cassette walkman days ... the music i was listening to had dynamics and was not squashed to hell ....ear fatigue was non existant for me. try to imagine how your eardrums are reacting to the slammed waveforms of today's digital music .... and now folks are wearing full on headphones w their iphones/ipods etc ....

    a lot more hearing impaired seniors ..... unfortunately coming soon to a theatre near you !

    my theory is that that is why so many people value 'more detail' aka slammed higher end frequencies in their music, and consider that a good thing ....

    its most likely good, cuz they probably can't hear those freqs well any more

    i am generalizing of course ....

    my profile shows the highest frequency i can still hear ..... 15.5 KHz

    i also have VERY slight tinnitus ... that i can only hear if i really concentrate on it, in a dead quiet atmosphere ..... like sleep time ..... but it is not bothersome and easily ignorable, it has never kept me up, the sound of myself breathing drowns it out ..... i can only imagine how sad it would be if the ringing truly became an issue. this discovery was enough for me to start to really take care of my what i allow my ears to be subjected to .... i've got friends who have no idea how loud they are when they are speaking .... and i mean in a completely quiet setting .... my guess is that they have lost some of their hearing, as to them, everything probably seems ... normal. i have friends who worked in film in production, as assistant directors (ADs). and after even a short career of having that walkie earpod in one ear, they are the same, in that their speaking voice is louder than normal, and they've even told me that they can't hear as well from one side. this to me is a very sad situation.

    i'm gonna be 51 soon, and i (by what the results of the test were) have the ears of a 30 year old.

    i'm VERY ok with that.

    and yes i've been in cinemas where my ears will actually start BUZZING. i was getting so aggravated by this that i was going to bring in a sound pressure meter into cinemas .... but i ended up getting a home theater projector, which pretty much cut my cinema going down by 90% as i can control the volume.

    for me .....
    ears buzzing = LEAVE

    but be careful out there!
  13. Johnny Action

    Johnny Action Forum President Thread Starter

    Kailua, Hawai’i
    • Air pollution
    • Water pollution
    • Light pollution
    • And now sound pollution.
    Where will it end?

    “if it’s too loud, you’re too old.
    Well, I guess maybe I am too old.

    Another source of tinnitus, I am told, is years of driving with windows down and experiencing road and wind noise.
  14. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer Seeker of Truth

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  15. Rigoberto

    Rigoberto Forum Resident

    Utah USA
    Are you talking about movie theatres or Blu-ray disks? If you're talking about Blu-ray disks it's because the previews (usually called trailers) tend to have that loud lossy Dolby Digital MP3 quality sound while the movie has better quality lossless sound which is quieter. Dolby Digital is just louder.
  16. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    to wake you up and make you pay attention...sort like screaming at you! LOL
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  17. Spaghettiows

    Spaghettiows Forum Resident

    Silver Creek, NY
    To me the bothersome thing is that even though the volume is cranked, you have more trouble than ever making out the dialogue.
  18. Johnny Action

    Johnny Action Forum President Thread Starter

    Kailua, Hawai’i
    Well, both. But at least at home watching a disc I can CONTROL THE VOLUME!!! In a theatre I cannot.
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  19. bamaaudio

    bamaaudio Forum Resident

    I've measured the sound a few times and the levels usually seem to be around 80-85dB or so on average, which is still pretty 'loud.' Peaks probably get into the lower 100s during really action-packed scenes or times when the score is blaring way too loud. Perhaps even into the lower 110s peaks for IMAX type screenings, but that would be pushing rock concert levels. I've been to plenty of music shows that don't even approach those volumes if you're standing mid-room or further back. A superhero or James Bond type movie probably could give a lot of folks tinnitus spikes since the action is pretty continuous for long stretches at times. But I agree with most that volumes are often louder than comfort these days. Interestingly I've visited some tinnitus message boards in the past and the 'experts' generally didn't seem to advise earplugs for movie theaters, but it's something I've started to consider since there have been years where I saw more than one a week on average.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
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  20. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Didn't get tinnitus from it, but I did notice that while wearing my phone's bluetooth headset, that the audio in my left ear was was not quite a clean and crisp and as intelligible as in my right ear. Not a lot but enough that I would notice the difference.

    I attributed it to driving at high speeds with the windows down and the wind hitting my left ear for long periods of time.
  21. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Sound is mixed in a cinema so that the average level is -20 dB. from the digital maximum sound of the dialog and general movie sounds. This is at a SPL of 85 dB., with the maximum being 105-dB.

    The sound level on the SFX (special effects) channel that comes of of the subwoofers is limited to a maximum SPL of 115 dB.

    And 85 dB. is still quite loud for an average dialog sound level. It would be considered very loud in a home theater setting, where a 75 dB. SPL would be considered to be an acceptable average sound level, with many listening at lower sound levels that that.

    For occupational hearing safety in the workplace, 85dB. is considered to be the maximum safe continuous SPL for a period of eight hours, within a 24-hour period.

    The maximum time for being subjected to what is considered to be a safe continuous SPL, decreases by half with each +3 dB. increase in the SPL over 85 dB.

    At 88 dB, the maximum safe listening time would be four hours. At 91 dB. that time would decrease to two hours and so on...

    Once you get down to a more comfortable SPL of 75 dB. there is not time limit for listening, but if or when you begin to experience listening fatigue, regardless of the SPL, the best thing to do is to turn it down or turn it off.

    To give you an idea how much amplifier is involved, it would take a ten times increase in power for an amplifier to go from 75 dB. to 85 dB.

    For every 3 dB. increase or decrease of the sound pressure level, it would take either a doubling or halving of amplifier power, depending on which way you are going.

    Our ears are not as sensitive to the lower frequencies that the low frequency effects channel the drives the subwoofer(s), so the maximum SPL of 115 dB that is set for the SFX channel is allowed to be higher that the normal dialogue and general frequency ranges are.

    James Bond movies have gotten to be ridiculously high SPL's for long periods of the movie as you state. The problem is that these high SPL's are repeated again and again throughout the movie.

    If you turn them down to more reasonable levels, then you have to turn the sound back up again and again to hear the dialogue.

    Back in the days of the Connery Bond films, this was never the case.

    I find this to be very irritating, as I equate the Bond character with a spy, being an individual who would be relying on stealth, intelligence and training and not a Rambo or superhero style action movie.

    I don't mind loud action scenes, but the loud part should be limited in screen time and not be completely repetitive throughout a movie that is not an action type movie.

    Even in action movies, I find the continuous use of over loud action sequences to be annoying and largely unnecessary for the overall enjoyment of the movie.
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  22. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Not only loud but too many loud preview are now being shown for long periods that precede any movie today.

    As I'm not usually too far from the theater that I will be attending. I have taken to leaving where I am at, at the designated movie movie start time. This allows about 15-minutes of travel time to get to the theater and get seated.

    Even then, I don't completely miss the overly loud previews, I just get to hear not as many of them.

    When I make the transition from the outside world into the feature film, I want to relax, get comfortable so that I can get into and enjoy the movie from the beginning.

    As this transition relies on a semi-darkened theater (prior to the feature) and a more quiet relaxing environment, the overly loud trailers work completely against this.
  23. Holerbot6000

    Holerbot6000 Forum Resident

    Simple - They're commercials!

    I miss the old narration though. 'He's a Bad Dude with lots of 'Tude', that kind of stuff. Maybe that was something unique to exploitation but I miss that sizzle.
  24. bamaaudio

    bamaaudio Forum Resident

    I'm pretty confident my tinnitus is more of a result of concerts without earplugs and listening through headphones at the maximum volume for hours at a time on a regular basis as a teen and in college. My hearing appears to be clearer in one ear versus the other and has for a while. I'm in my 30s and do kind of worry about hearing issues since I haven't taken the best care of my ears and have been to tons of concerts and still do see movies regularly and listen through headphones, albeit I try to be more conscious of the volumes when listening at home. Hearing specialists seem to think bringing earplugs to a commercial movie theater is kind of overboard, but it may be something worth considering. Over the years I can't recall ever seeing anyone else in a cinema wearing hearing protection. Some years I've seen 100+ movies or more a year in the theater and perhaps it has done a toll on the ears.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
  25. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    to keep ones attention!

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