Say What?

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The final touches are being put on my Columbia focus film. Time has flown by fast. I’ve learned so much, but I’m still a little flustered at the same time. No time for doubt. I have a deadline to meet.

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Last week I called in my actors and conducted what we call ADR sessions. ADR stands for Automated Dialogue Replacement or Additional Dialogue Recording. If you aren’t in the “know”, you would probably use the term “dubbing.” This is process of recording and replacing voices on a film after shooting.

There are tons of reasons you might ADR or dub a project. Sometimes a script calls for voiceover. Voiceover is when you hear a character speaking, but you don’t see them saying the words on screen. That would generally be something like hearing someone’s thoughts. Another reason would be narration. That’s usually when an unseen character or even a character we’ve been introduced to tells the audience information vital to understanding the story.

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But sometimes we dub dialogue because we just didn’t get the dialogue during the original shoot. (Hint, hint: That’s what happened with me. We did not get all the dialogue, because I was yelling directions. For the record, I knew I was heard and planned to ADR.) Some lines didn’t record properly, which was not my plan, and some dialogue had to be dubbed because the lips did not match the words when we cut from on angle of a speech to another.

I had to set up two sessions, because I was not able to schedule my actors to meet together. You’d think I needed everyone to meet together…but it ain’t so. Actually it’s very common for actors to never meet the others when they are dubbing dialogue. But I digress.

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I met with Rob first. He played Cristal and there were a few lines of his/hers that I wanted cleaned up. It took a little while to get set up, because the equipment was new to everyone. After we were all settled, I placed Rob in the sound stage. He wore a pair of headphones and watched edited footage on a large monitor. We would cue up the line of dialogue and then play it in a short loop. Three beeps would sound and then he would come in with the line. It was sort of like karaoke. After each take, I’d give Rob my feedback and then we’d tape again. This must be what it’s like to direct voice actors in cartoons. Maybe I have an idea for a thesis. Anyway, Rob got through his lines and then it was my turn. Did I mention I have a part in the movie? My character’s profession rhymes with “drug dealing pimp.” Oh…that is what I play. And I got to be a bad a## on the mic. Yea-ah!

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Two days later, I met with Givonni who played Brian.  The process was similar but ran a little smoother. Basically this is because we were used to the equipment. I got a kick out of working with Givonni because he hadn’t seen the footage. I’m happy to say he looked like he was enjoying himself. I’m happy to say the ADR sessions worked out well. Now I’m eager to find out if I was able to recreate the same emotion in the booth as we had on set.