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Old December 29th, 2004, 12:19 AM   #1
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ADR on indie films, whats your experience?

Hi all,
I posted a forum with my bad sound and got some excellent responses on how to fix it. However, i think with the time and effort and money put into the project already i really want some good dialogue. Im thinking if most films incorproate ADR it cant be that hard, but i am wondering what experience people have had with amateur actors and getting the thing to look and not sound like a bad 80's tv show.

I can easily re record the dialogue in the locations which i shot it, so that is a good start. I am getting my friend who does soudn recording on his imac to bring it over and record it on there and tranferit to my box after that.
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Old December 29th, 2004, 12:58 AM   #2
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If you're thinking of re-recording in the original locations where you shot, you'd have to have a monitor there. An easier way would be to record all the dialogue with the actors in a studio or in a very dry environment.

Then, go back to the locations and record the ambience and sound effects, etc.

Dennis
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Old December 29th, 2004, 01:50 AM   #3
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Ive sort of run out of funds so a studio is definately out of the question.

the movie is only like 5 mins long and the dialog is not a huge amount. Its a movie you spend a few hundred on to make but i dont wanna throw it in, you know? i want to rescue it, but from the hip - so to speak.
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Old December 29th, 2004, 02:04 AM   #4
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Well, what I meant was like, get lots of cushions and blankets, find a quiet room in your house and record. In other words what I meant was that there's no point of re-recording all of the dialogue back on location when all you really need is the ambient sound (presence), which you can just record separately and loop.

Dennis
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Old December 29th, 2004, 10:10 AM   #5
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I agree with Dennis. You've really got to do this new dialogue in a controlled environment, not only for the audio quality, but also because it will be a long, detailed endeaver to get it right and you must set up the correct equipment.
The most effective way to do this cheaply is utilize your non-linear editor as a playback system. Build a session with short chunks of your program that must be replaced. Route a video monitor and headphone feeds to another room with your actors and mics.
Play the chunk with a very mild sync pop, video and original audio, then play it again with just the sync pop and video. Record the actors as they re-enact it. Repeat as needed. It's very important to prepare exact scripts of the original dialogue as it occurred for the actors to practice with. It's also very important to rig a talk-back function into the actor's headphone feed, along with the original audio and their mic for the new recording. You can use a simple audio mixer like a Mackie or Behringer for this.
Make sure you record with the proper perspective. This usually means not recording the actors so closely. Getting this to work requires good acoustics in the room and good mics and preamps.
It can be done and done very well, but nobody ever said it was easy. Hopefully your actors are well-tempered and patient, and you have the space to set this up.
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Old December 29th, 2004, 12:35 PM   #6
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Jay, you referred to using "good mikes" and also to recording with the proper perspective. Wouldn't you want to use the same mike as was used on location to try to get the coloring as close as possible (unless the original was knowingly recorded only as a reference track with a wireless or something)? ADR has come a long way, but I think we are all familiar with the lousy 70's era expletive dubs that sounded completely different in presence and tone.
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Old December 29th, 2004, 02:30 PM   #7
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If you are replacing only small sections and maintaining some of the original material within the same scene, then yes you should try to duplicate the original conditions as to mic, distance, general room character, etc.
Even though it takes more time to re-record entire scenes, that's often what it takes to be consistent throughout a continuous segment. My gut feeling was the original poster was aiming more toward re-recording most or all of the dialogue. When I said "short chunks" before, I meant don't be afraid to divide the dialogue into sentences or phrases if the timing is critical.
So my point was, it's easy to fall into a "recording studio" mentality if you're isolating your actors in a neutral space with a monitor and a mic and recording short bits of dialogue at a time to build an entire scene. This can often give un-naturally "close" sounding dialogue in an indie film that has much fewer elements in the soundtrack than a theatrical release where the dialogue has to compete with powerful music and sound effects. Indie films usually have a greater ratio of medium shots versus close-ups too.
Recording at 2 to 3 feet of distance in a quiet, neutral space, using a mic with low self-noise, high-sensitivity and a good preamp can go a long way toward providing a natural end result. It also makes it easier when you have to make small edits within the replacement dialogue to get the lip-sync exactly right, or if you have to use parts from multiple takes. It helps provide a consistent character to the sound and also encourages the actors to use their body language and hand gestures. This allows the actors to relax a little, and these subtle clothing noises and body movements help fill out the track.
There are plenty of low-noise mics available that aren't terribly expensive. The Rode NT1-A is good, but if your room is too lively it will pick up more of this. The Rode NT-3 has a little better isolation and is a little thinner in the bass too. The AT3031 is very quiet and neutral sounding. A tested Oktava MK012 with a hypercardioid head would also be a good choice. All these mics are $200 or less.
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Old December 31st, 2004, 08:05 PM   #8
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I've never had to do this, and I've never seen it done, and I don't know how the big boys do it, but I always thought that if I did have to do it, it'd go a little like this:

I'd create a sequence of the line to be replaced and loop it on the timeline over and over again. With maybe 3 quick beeps in between. Then I'd bring that .mpg or .mov into a non-linear audio program, Sonar or Protools and place it in record. My original audio (that to be scrapped) will play in my cans (or who's ever cans). The constant looping would familiarize me all to well with the lines and any nuances that may need pronouncement. After 2 or three of those loops I'd have it down and could repeat it over and over. Once the video had ended or I thought I hit it right on, I'd review to see which one was really nailed and choose to import that.

Enough has been said about isolation and matching the audio quality, so I won't comment there.

Good luck, Ben
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Old December 31st, 2004, 08:54 PM   #9
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Re: ADR on indie films, whats your experience?

<<<-- Originally posted by Ben Gurvich : Hi all,
I posted a forum with my bad sound and got some excellent responses on how to fix it. However, i think with the time and effort and money put into the project already i really want some good dialogue. Im thinking if most films incorproate ADR it cant be that hard, but i am wondering what experience people have had with amateur actors and getting the thing to look and not sound like a bad 80's tv show.

I can easily re record the dialogue in the locations which i shot it, so that is a good start. I am getting my friend who does soudn recording on his imac to bring it over and record it on there and tranferit to my box after that. -->>>


+++Vocalign is a truly wonderful ADR software. Check it out.

Smiles,

Ty Ford
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Old January 1st, 2005, 08:29 AM   #10
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thankyou all will post my results in a week or two

cheers,
Ben
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