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Old March 19th, 2013, 07:05 PM   #1
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Adr

ADR= Automatic dialog replacement. I know what it is, but I don't know the technical aspects. Does anyone know how these sessions are recorded? The questions I have are... how far away is the microphone from the actor? If the visuals shows a closeup, I assume the mic is very close. But in a wide shot, is adr recorded in a big room? Or is it recorded close, with ambience and reverb added in post to make it sound distant? Do they use the same microphone in ADR as they did in the field?
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Old March 20th, 2013, 02:28 AM   #2
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Re: Adr

Hi I tend to record ADR as neutral as possible so perspective and matching can be done in post rather than doing any at recording stage, the mic is normally about 12 inches away!

Perspective is added (cheated) by using digital reverbs and eq and I personally always liked the lexicon PCM70 small hall but have used all sorts of plug ins to get the right effect.

As for mic's it can be anything from a neuman U87 to one that is more similar to location such as a 416 or even a small capsule cardioid AKG 451 or neuman KM84.

Personally I would always record an actors whole scene if it is required and whilst a lot of people use beeps and visuals wipes to cue artists I have always found that just playing them the guide through their cans and getting them to copy it is far quicker and gives me more takes to play with. If small adjustments are needed you can either do this manually and re-edit words to get a perfect match and the AMS Neve audiofile I tended to use does this to 1/100th of a frame or use an automatching piece of software such as vocalign in pro tools that does it using waveforms.

I once did a whole one hour episode of an ITV cop drama called The Bill because one lead female actor had a heavy cold so we needed to re-voice all her lines to remove the stuffy nose syndrome so adr can not only be about getting over location recording problems.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 05:14 AM   #3
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Re: Adr

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Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post
ADR= Automatic dialog replacement. I know what it is, but I don't know the technical aspects. Does anyone know how these sessions are recorded? The questions I have are... how far away is the microphone from the actor? If the visuals shows a closeup, I assume the mic is very close. But in a wide shot, is adr recorded in a big room? Or is it recorded close, with ambience and reverb added in post to make it sound distant? Do they use the same microphone in ADR as they did in the field?
Agree with Gary ... ADR sessions are best recorded in a proper studio setting though many other quiet locations have been improvised in a pinch. If the recorded ADR is to be intercut with dialog captured on location it can be easier to get a match if the same mic is used for both. The ADR would be recorded 'up close and personal' and tools such as equalization and convolution reverbs then used to give it the perspective of being recorded on location. Dialog, be it location sound or ADR, is always recorded as cleanly as possible and the sense of the location is built up by layering many other elements with the dialog in post.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 11:20 AM   #4
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Re: Adr

Good suggestions above.

Do be wary of the bass-boost that comes with very close micing. The close micing we do for VO/Narration isn't quite the right technique, it has a unique bass qualities that don't sound right for most dialog.

Recording ADR in a sufficiently neutral space that you can get good clean signal without room reverbrance at 6 to 12 inches avoids a lot of post-eq of unwanted low freqs. A popper-stopper appropriately positioned can keep inexperienced talent from eating the mic when you're not looking.

Then there's the actors' performances; it really helps you if they are experienced with ADR. If there was a director involved in shaping their original performances it really helps to have him/her there for the ADR sessions.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 01:21 PM   #5
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Re: Adr

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Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post
...how far away is the microphone from the actor? If the visuals show a closeup, I assume the mic is very close. But in a wide shot, is adr recorded in a big room?
Common misconception that mic placement has something to do with camera angle. It does not.

Dialog audio is only about dialog clarity. You want as high a signal to noise ratio as you can reasonably get, so you want the mic to be as close as you can get without running into proximity effect. Once you have this, everything else is done in post.

This is why you read the advice to capture a minute of "room tone". This gives the post production audio people something to lay underneath your ADR session to help make it match the dialog you captured on set. If they have that, they can then add some reverb and frequency shaping to the dialog and make it sufficiently "seamless" that the viewer isn't yanked out of their "suspension of disbelief" while watching the film because of a noticeable audio change.

ADR basically is often done with the same mic used on set, but in a very quiet room, nicely treated to knock down room reverb, with the mic close, but not so close as to induce proximity effect. With a screen to show the action the actor is trying to sync with. And perhaps the director there to try to get the actor to match the emotions of the action on screen as well.

Clearly, it's much better to capture the dialog on set, if possible. ADR is a last resort.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 09:40 AM   #6
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Re: Adr

what does the A in ADR refer to? that is, what is being done *automatically*?
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Old March 21st, 2013, 10:11 AM   #7
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Re: Adr

Thanks guys for all your comments and suggestions! This discussion has led me to another topic...microphone placement for field recording.

Traditional dialogue has been recorded with an overhead boom, with the mic as close to talent as possible, with distance varying according to how wide the shot was. In closeups, the mic is inches above their head. In wide shots, the mic may be 10 feet away. Since getting the cleanest dialogue has always been key, wouldn't using a lavalier be best in MOST situations, since it's always 6 inches away from a person's mouth? Reverb and room acoustics could always be added in post, and the dialogue would always start off clean as can be. What is the reason for not using lavs on all actors all the time?
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Old March 21st, 2013, 12:17 PM   #8
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Re: Adr

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Originally Posted by Roberto Diaz View Post
what does the A in ADR refer to? that is, what is being done *automatically*?

It can also stand for additional dialogue replacement but the automatic part probably refers to the looping that is sometimes done to allow the artists to do each take, once you hit the button on audiofile it automatically plays them a loop of the guide track and drops into record for each take, modern waveform software can also automatically sync up any takes as well.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 12:42 PM   #9
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Re: Adr

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Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post
Since getting the cleanest dialogue has always been key, wouldn't using a lavalier be best in MOST situations, since it's always 6 inches away from a person's mouth?
Cleanest may not be the best way to say it. What you really want is best sounding, which is more vague and yet more accurate at the same time.

The problem is, a lav mic is typically located on the body directly below the mouth/nose. This can lead to nasally sounding audio, and the mic placement only lets it "see" the hemisphere in front of the talent, which can introduce some "interesting" acoustics sometimes. These things are difficult to correct in post; it's difficult to make it sound more like what a person might hear if they were actually in proximity to the talent at the time the scene was actually captured.

Then, if you don't want the lav seen in the shot, it's typically under clothing. This puts the mic in danger of clothing rustle and handling noise. It also puts it in danger of being muffled under layers of clothing. There are ways to deal with these issues, but this typically takes time and involves the talent, wardrobe, and the soundie. Which is a bother.

Finally, if it's a wide shot you may not have an option to run cables (that might be seen), so your lav has to be wireless. This decreases sound quality; even the best wireless system can't beat a $25 cable. And it opens the shoot up to RF interference which is harder and harder to avoid as the airwaves get more crowded.

All reasons to stay with a boom mic if you can.

But even when using a boom mic, most large productions will also use and record from lavs. Think of it as an insurance policy.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 01:54 PM   #10
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Re: Adr

after shooting and posting my last video, I found that "dirtying up the boom" track with a little lav added just enough ambience to make cuts a lot smoother. So, sure, for ADR, I'd boom em' and lav 'em and mix to taste.

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Old March 25th, 2013, 04:36 AM   #11
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Re: Adr

A little while back I had to record someone that wasn't ADR. But the voiceover's sound characteristics had to be a close match to what the person said on-camera so it wouldn't be jarring when his voice was heard under the cutaways.

I did the recording in a quiet environment with the same mic we used in the field. Then added the same background sounds in post to match. The end was seamless.

It helped to coach the "talent" to speak as though he was thinking about what to say. It was a mix of technical details and good acting by a non-actor. :-)
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