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5 Tips for Quality ADR Sound

Experienced professionals know how to capture ADR sound when location audio isn’t great. Sometimes, you just have to use automated dialogue replacement in order to ensure great sound for your dialogue. Whether you’re capturing a scene in which the mic just couldn’t be used or you’re working to replace all of the dialogue in a film that is being translated to another language, ADR comes to your rescue constantly. ADR is a critical step when location audio doesn’t suffice.

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Follow these 5 tips for quality ADR sound to ensure you get great sound for your dialogue no matter what the original location audio is like.

1. Create an ADR Recording Space

Sound Booth

The first critical step in capturing great ADR is to have a space set up that is ready to record your sound. Post-production audio capture is all about quality. You have full control, or at least near full control, when capturing audio and sound in post-production. Don’t screw it up!

The goal is to sound treat the room so that it is as soundproof as absolutely possible. This way you can capture ADR that is crystal clear and only what you want to capture–nothing more. If you’re working on a small budget, consider covering the walls and floors with the cheapest soundproofing material you can buy–acoustic panels or heavy blankets will work. Cover every surface you can to ensure the sound is absorbed.

2. Gather ADR Equipment

Since you’re trying to match the original dialogue, it may be best to use the exact same microphone and audio equipment that you used when on location. Microphones and other sound recording equipment tend to have different polar patterns and varied frequency response.

Using a microphone that is different from what you used when you recorded your footage will only result in certain features being changed or lost.

Gather equipment that was used on location and prepare to record great automated dialogue replacement with ease! Most audio engineers will agree that using the same microphone and other equipment that was used no location is key.

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure you have a digital audio workstation, headphones, video monitor and interface.

3. Place Microphones

The microphone placement will depend on a number of factors including what microphone is being used and what the budget is on the film set. As you determine where to place the microphone, consider the distance between the mic and the actor or actress that will provide the most realistic recording.

A filter may also be used to further improve the realism of the recording at this time.

How the actor delivers the dialogue is another important consideration at this time. The success of the ADR recording is dependent on the style and tone of delivery.

If an actor was moving during a scene, they may wish to replicate the movement when recording the dialogue so as to produce the same tone and mood that was originally intended for the scene.

However, keep in mind that the actor should not move out of the axis of the microphone or make any loud noises in order to preserve the quality.

4. Prepare ADR Track

Audio Mixer

Before you have your subject prepare to record the audio, consider providing them with an ADR track that they can use to see the upcoming scene. A countdown allows them to prepare and then a quick shot of the scene and dialogue allows them to know what they need to do. Not all ADR recordings have this luxury but it does seem to work when incorporated.

5. Add Sound Effects

Finally, when recording automated dialogue replacement, the sound effects can make a major difference in whether the audio sounds natural or not. ADR that doesn’t sound natural can be improved with a layer of sound effects added to the timeline.

Foley sound can also be used at this time to further improve the ADR so that the audio captures the tones of footsteps, movements, or other elements that were originally on the scene when the first recordings were captured.

Ready to get started with top quality production and ADR sound that will bring your film to life? Give Beverly Boy Productions a call at 888-462-7808! We can’t wait to assist you.

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