Have you ever watched a movie and thought the dialogue audio seemed a little off sync from the accompanying video? The world we live in is noisy and sound can make or break a film’s success so ADR is an essential part of every audiovisual project. Automated dialogue replacement (ADR) is used to add dialogue already filmed in scene where the actor’s lines recorded on location are inaudible or unusable.
Covid has seen a huge shift to working remotely and although there has been success there have also been some difficulties. Live direction can be more complex when recording ADR remotely. A voice actor doing this by themselves in their home studio will have at least three things to consider: the video, their performance, audio recording and the live direction technicalities. Starting and stopping recordings is important for ADR so the actor has to manage all the technical side of things too whereas if in a studio, the engineer will manage the session so they only have to worry about the performance.
Another challenge to recording ADR audio is re-creating the scene in the film. The job of the ADR team is to, at the very least, replicate the audio set up close enough to the original as technically possible. Getting the timing and pitch just right is essential because, as every actor knows, the slightest difference in the emphasis of a line can alter the scene’s meaning or feeling. The solution is to come into a controlled studio environment and re-record the lines that were inaudible on the location audio. We understand that sometimes there’s nothing that can be done on location and that’s when the studio comes into play for minimising unwanted background noise.
The advantages of having a professional studio can include having a space for up to 12 actors; the studio can also have mic points and headphone ports everywhere making it a great space for crowd recording too. It is possible to have a large projected image and several smaller screens around the room, ideal for checking sync. It is also important to have a good sized room, to minimise any bounce from the control room window, and any other reflections. As for the future, although much work is now being done at home the need for a professional sound studio has certainly not gone away.