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Old July 12th, 2007, 11:43 AM   #1
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Famous last words: "We'll dub it!"

I held my first dubbing session yesterday and it was hard! As the editor I had memorized everybody's lines with their timing and inflection, but the actors had completely forgetten about the film. One came, having lost his script and only seen the rough cut a few times. He watched it over and over but had difficulty in repeating just a few lines. He insisted on writing down everything he said and reading it instead of looking at the screen, depriving himself of the visual cues he could use to know when to talk.

What tips do you have to make dubbing easier for the actors?
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Old July 12th, 2007, 03:13 PM   #2
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I found that it was much easier with no visual cue at all. Take away the video, make them concentrate on the headphones. Give them one line or a few words to loop, with at least a couple of seconds between repeats - not so long that they won't be able to 'feel' when to come back in but not so short that they can't breathe. Just keep rolling so they can get into the hang of it. Give them frequent little breaks - hearing the same thing over and over is mentally exhausting if you're not familiar with it.

I think the visual ends up being distracting. It's good if _you_ can see the visual, so you can try to recreate the sound by placing the actor an appropriate distance from the mic, or have them recreate what they're doing if they're running or something.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 12:19 AM   #3
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Why were you dubbing it? You need to know prior if the actors have no chops. Try getting them to re-record their lines on the set asap after the take.

Cue the loops in with 3 beeps and send that audio on CD with a marked copy of the script and call them about it. Don't send any pix, they won't hear their lines at all and friends will screw with their heads.

Unless they're experienced or overlap, don't have them all in together. With 3 or 4 in the same dubbing session, space the call out according to the amount of work, IE the last guy doesn't have to wait around.

You may have to make some real decisions on the session; don't run someone into the ground, if they can't manage the lip sync, consider cutting away, or as I heard an exasperated director once bellow, 'someone find out if there's a narrator in the building!'
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Old July 13th, 2007, 10:27 AM   #4
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Quote:
Why were you dubbing it?
The sound mixer did a bad job.
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You need to know prior if the actors have no chops.
I did not have the luxury of choosing them for their dubbing ability, in addition to their general acting ability :(
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Try getting them to re-record their lines on the set asap after the take.
I did that before for another project but it did not work because there was no footage to look at. They also acted differently when they were sitting down in a quiet room.

Thanks for the other suggestions.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 10:45 AM   #5
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Abe's dead on. Video cues don't even help, and if anything make it harder. Talent doesn't match the lips, he or she needs to match the voice. It seems counterintuitive, but that's been my experience. Loop single sentences and have them say it back exactly the same.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 10:50 AM   #6
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I just did an ADR session for a kids' educational program and having the video on a monitor, so the talent can see it very clearly, helped a lot. We looped the playback so the actress could hear her original voice in her headphones, and match her inflection, etc.

By looping short manageable phrases in ProTools, just letting it run, she would do it better each time and since we were always recording we'd just stop when she nailed it, check the playback on the video, and move on to the next section.

The recording engineer I worked with on this told me that good ADR depends mainly on the talent. FWIW
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Old July 13th, 2007, 11:02 AM   #7
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It's the same skill used in 'singing along' to music, when the words are known. That's why you chop it up into short takes... and repetitive takes with a rythm to it. The talent listens to the phrase over and over and then 'sings' the same delivery (or better!) with exactly the same rythm. The need to 'synch' with picture was greater back in the day before NLE's. Now it's easier to just slip and slide the soundbites on the dialogue track. As long as the delivery matches, you can move the pieces around.
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Old July 14th, 2007, 07:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Benjamin Hill View Post
The recording engineer I worked with on this told me that good ADR depends mainly on the talent. FWIW
Golden truth....add a good audio tech who can set up a looping session correctly.

Ty Ford
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Old July 24th, 2007, 12:32 AM   #9
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I had a second session with the same actor and we flew through the lines thanks to your advice! I fed him his lines a sentence or less at a time, had him repeat it a few times synchronously on loop with the clip, then a few more times with the clip paused after he had memorized it. The second set was invariably better since he was more focused on what he was saying rather than exerting himself to synchronize his lines.

Thanks, team!
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