The Importance of an Experienced ADR Studio
Congratulations, you’ve finished shooting your project! As you move to the next steps of post-production, audio is without a doubt a key component. While you go through the film, you may quickly find that ADR (Automated or Additional Dialogue Replacement) is necessary for a number of scenes or actors. Film sets can be noisy, and additional factors such as rustling from the hidden-mic, weird distortion in the sound, or maybe a last-minute line change or a different inflection, can all result in necessary ADR.
When it comes to doing ADR, the process as you know can be arduous. Getting the actor to bring the same emotion, annunciation, timbre, and speed to sync their mouth movements, all in a studio environment...well, it can take time. Obviously, it all needs to be seamless and unnoticeable to the viewer. With the help of an experienced studio, the Director or Producer can focus on working with the actor to bring out and replicate their best performance, while the ADR Mixer can focus on the timing and sound quality of the audio recording to ensure it matches the original footage. It is highly important to stay organized and have clear communication with the production team to ensure the recording equipment set up is correct and having all necessary cue sheets and materials beforehand.
Actor listens to the lines leading up to theirs which need to be replaced - while watching the picture on a screen
Three beeps cue the actor
On the fourth “Imaginary” beep (there’s no sound!), the actor will re-record the line
Actor records the line
The engineer plays back the recording so the actor and production team can assess
Repeat steps as needed!
All takes are kept in order of recording and are labeled per cue and take, and selects plus alternates are pulled to respective tracks and edited to refine the sync. Sometimes the selects are composites of several takes.
Remote ADR can be conducted through dedicated broadcast-quality audio connections and synchronized playback in two studios anywhere in the world
Now, let's get technical!
For an ADR set up, we recommend using at least two microphones to match the boom and lavalier from the filming set. In efforts to replicate the dialogue as close as possible, we try to use the same microphone that was used on set. At Disher Sound, we have the industry standard Sennheiser 416 boom as well as a Sanken CSS-5, which is known for an incredibly even response and excellent tone due to its multiple element structure. We also have a pair of ultra-focused AKG 451 Shotguns and the wider patterned Sennheiser ME-66. Sometimes, we set up a “safety” boom back 6 inches and down 6dB, if there’s some potential for extra loud delivery.
As far as lavaliers go, we have the industry standard Sanken COS11d, as well as Shure and Audio Technica. We have over 50 microphones to choose from depending on the application of the recording.
We generally use the Millennia HV-3C Preamps for ADR, as they are the lowest noise, highest gain, and most neutral-toned pre-amps.
Even after the recording is complete, there are many additional elements an experienced engineer will address during the mix. It is a highly nuanced process to adjust the EQ and room ambiance to ensure the dialogue will seamlessly flow in the picture's scene.
Disher Sound is well versed in all phases of audio post. The flexible acoustic set up of the large Studio A makes it the perfect space for all kinds of voice recordings, especially ADR. Alternatively, if that space is booked, our Studio C is also well equipped for dialogue recordings. This continues to be a consistent area of business for us and it’s a process that we truly enjoy!
Here are just a few of many projects we've done ADR for:
13 Reasons Why (TV Series)
Hawaii Five-0 (TV Series)
The Company You Keep (Robert Redford & Richard Jenkins) (Film)
Altered Carbon (TV Series)
Fabulous Filipino Brothers (Dante Basco + 5 additional actors) (Film)
Weekend at Bernie's (Film)
Malware Bytes (Commercial)
The Cherokee Word for Water (Film)
Trouble in Paradise (Web Series)
Curious George (Film)
Beautiful Dreamer (Film)
Love Takes Flight (TV Film)
Yours Truly (Documentary)
Imminent Night (Film)
West Wing (Peter Coyote) (TV Series)
Seizing Me (Film)
Iris (Short Film)
Douche-aholics (Web Series)
The Flash (BD Wong) (Film)
The Good Fight (TV series)
Long Road Home (Film)
American Paradise (Short Film)
- The Disher Sound Team