Red Storm/Ubisoft Uses Dolby to Mix Ghost Recon Future Soldier  

“[The Dolby LM100 Broadcast Loudness Meter] increased communication related to the game’s audio mix by providing absolute measurements as opposed to subjective descriptions.”

Justin Drust
Audio Director, Red Storm Entertainment

Red Storm Entertainment/Ubisoft Uses LM100
About Red Storm/Ubisoft

Ubisoft is a leading producer, publisher, and distributor of interactive entertainment products worldwide and has grown considerably through a strong and diversified lineup of products and partnerships.
With offices in 26 countries and sales in more than 55 countries around the globe, Ubisoft is committed to delivering high-quality, cutting-edge video game titles to consumers.

For the 2011–2012 fiscal year, Ubisoft generated sales of €1.061 billion. To learn more, please visit ubisoftgroup.com.

Situation Overview

During the development of Ghost Recon Future Soldier, the game’s audio production was split among three Ubisoft studios: Red Storm Entertainment in North Carolina, Ubisoft Paris, and Ubisoft Romania. Each studio had its own audio production setup, with varying room sizes, monitoring solutions, and output calibration.

Well before starting the final mix, the Red Storm/Ubisoft teams realized that a proper mixing plan needed a way to ensure consistency among all locations when monitoring a console’s audio output. This required a device that could offer precise and accurate measurements of the game’s audio mix. The company turned to Dolby for a solution—the Dolby® LM100 Broadcast Loudness Meter.

Red Storm Entertainment Uses the LM100
Technical Considerations

To work effectively with teams in Europe, the Red Storm team in the United States knew it had to address several issues to achieve a consistent, robust, and dynamic mix among all locations.

Effective Communication

Prior to having the Dolby LM100 Broadcast Loudness Meter on-site, the teams used terms such as “louder” or “softer” to discuss the mix. These general subjective terms were far from the objective absolutes that the teams needed.

Audio Output and Dynamic Range

Throughout production, the Red Storm/Ubisoft teams had a strong sense of the main audio output level and targeted dynamic range. However, they needed a way to definitively and accurately measure the levels during all aspects of the game in order to adjust the mix effectively to match the target levels.

Measurements

The teams knew they needed to measure not only the main output but also the targeted dialogue levels, RMS levels, and true peaks. They wanted to digitally monitor via 5.1 channels accurately and in a format that could go straight from the mixing console to the gaming device, without anything in between that might alter the measurements.

Consistency

Audio was one of the main production responsibilities that the three studios shared. With multiple sound designers and implementers working in the engine at the same time, the teams needed a resource that would allow them to create A/B comparisons of mix changes and to keep the mix levels consistent, without duplication of effort.

Red Storm Uses LM100
Dolby LM100 Broadcast Loudness Meter

Red Storm/Ubisoft acquired Dolby LM100 Broadcast Loudness Meter units for both the US and Paris studios. Connecting an LM100 directly to each mixing console’s digital output enabled the teams to instantly monitor the measurements needed in both locations. The game teams could thus work across the ocean to define and validate mix and dynamic-range levels and to adjust the game’s main audio output.

Once the teams had set an internal standard for the levels, they were able to use the LM100 measurements as a benchmark throughout the development process.

“We quickly learned how valuable and true the LM100 was as a measurement tool and utilized its technology throughout the remainder of Ghost Recon Future Soldier’s development,” said Justin Drust, Audio Director, Red Storm Entertainment.

Measuring Audio Output and Dynamic Range

He continued, “Having the Dolby LM100 on-site gave us the ability to accurately measure the game’s audio output and dynamic range. The LM100 allowed all studios involved in the production to communicate using absolute measurements as opposed to subjective descriptions.”

About the Dolby LM100 Broadcast Loudness Meter

The Dolby LM100 Broadcast Loudness Meter is a tool for measuring the subjective loudness of dialogue within broadcast programming.

Features unique Dialogue Intelligence™ to accurately measure perceived loudness

Incorporates core measurement algorithms: ITU-R BS.1770-1 and BS.1770-2; EBU R128; Leq(A)

Displays measurements in easy-to-understand numerical format

Accuracy and Precision

“The collaboration and accuracy the Dolby LM100 offered us during production [of Ghost Recon Future Soldier] was invaluable,” stated Justin Drust of Red Storm Entertainment.

“It not only saved a lot of time and potential headaches for the development teams, but I believe it also helped offer a better quality experience in the final product for the consumer.”

Support from Dolby

On the experience of working with Dolby, Drust recounted, “The team at Dolby was extremely helpful in offering advice related to the setup and best practices of the gear. Their support was continually helpful throughout development.

“I would highly recommend the Dolby LM100 to any game audio studio, especially to those of us working with various teams across the world.”

Learn how Dolby can help support your game production.