Friday, September 21, 2018

Let's talk about ADR, Looping, and Dubbing.


Today I'm going to talk about ADR (Automatic Dialogue Replacement), also sometimes incorrectly referred to as looping or dubbing. 

For a film or TV show, ADR is often done because the original dialogue wasn't clear or there's some sound that we could hear in the background. For example, if the shoot is on location, there may be a bird, or a distant plane, or the wind in the trees -- it could be anything that interferes with a clear, crisp dialogue soundtrack. It could even be the fact that the actor was mumbling too much.

The reason I'm using ADR as a subject today is because I have an ADR session in a few days. It's for a TV show that I worked on 10 months ago!

I'm not allowed to reveal which show - but it's on Netflix, and it's on this screen shot:

I've got to get into the same character with the same emotions as I had on the set when I was working with the other actors. Except this time I'll be alone on a sound stage with just the sound crew and the director. They'll play the scene on a big screen and I'll have to match my original lines to the movement of my lips on the screen.

So, besides the technical requirements of matching the dialogue, how does the actor reconnect with their character from months ago? Well, for me it means pulling out my sides (dialogue) from the shoot -- which is why we should always save our scripts or sides after the shoot is done (and have a place where we put them so that we can find them if needed).

I'll study the scene(s) again and picture the scene as we shot it. I'll remember how I responded to the other actor(s) and hear their lines as well as my own. And if possible, I'll try to have the same body language as I had when I did the original scene.

One last thing - unless directed to change your reading by the director, you'll want to do the role (and the emotion) the same way you did it on the set. Don't come in with a whole new (better?) way of doing the dialogue. For all my ADR sessions so far, the director has not changed my way of doing the dialogue -- they've always wanted it the same way as I originally did it.

PS - See my next post for more on my recording session.

As always, if you have any questions about ADR work, or anything else, drop me an email.