Film ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement)

Depending on where and when you shot your last spot, ADR might be mission critical to your project’s success. And no, we don’t mean Alternative Dispute Resolution—just keep reading and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

If you’ve been on any many film sets as us, then you know it’s a loud place.

There’s the buzz of generators, the whine of wind and rain machines, and the cacophony of bustling crew members running around. Even the quietest of sets are brimming with noise.

But it’s not just that noise. There’s also all the noises that can’t be controlled: horns honking, planes flying, dogs barking.

What can you do about it? Most likely you only have the location rented for a set number of hours. And that silent moment may never come. So you do what most folks do. You keep shooting hoping your production’s sound mixer can capture every line.

But when you get the dailies, sometimes you’re disappointed. Right as the actor delivers their all-important line…you hear a garbage truck downshift in the background.

In the moment, it’s natural to be frustrated, to think of the shoot as a wash. You may decide to have some ice cream and take a sadness nap. But the truth is with a good ADR team you can save the footage and get your production back on track! What’s more, you may even improve what’s already there.

And you can still have that ice cream, if you want.

What is an ADR Service?

Put simply: Additional Dialogue Replacement (ADR) is the process of re-recording audio in a quieter, more controlled setting.

Some folks refer to ADR as “looping.” This term references pre-digital days when the lines that needed to be replaced were cut into large physical loops of film.

Nowadays ADR is usually done in a digital recording studio—even if the production is shot on film. The modern recording setup allows the engineer and talent to capture useable audio.

Although ADR seems like a magic wand for your production woes, it is not easy. For one thing having actors repeat their performances can yield tepid results. Especially if the actors don’t have anyone from the cast to contextualize their responses. Although some people — like Meryl Streep — love ADR.

Either way ADR is a challenging process. It takes a balance of patience and communication.

Yippee-ki-yay Melted Butter

There’s a lot of reasons to use ADR. Just ask Hugh Jackman: 

But really though. Some people like to use ADR to enhance their performances. Directors use ADR to add sighs or grunts to existing lines. Or sometimes a director decides it’s better yelping a line rather than whispering it. They can use ADR to change it.

ADR also helps fix plot holes. Adding a little voiced-over exposition can is a great band-aid for missing information that gets lost on the cutting room film. 

And of course if you want to dub a version of it for broadcast television, ADR is the way to go. As our friend Bruce Willis puts it in the tv-edited version of Die Hard:  yippee ki-yay, melted butter!

ECG = ADR Professionals

Entertainment Creative Group has the tools necessary to deliver useable, if not immaculate ADR. We have a full-featured audio recording studio on site that’s turnkey for all your ADR needs. No need to coordinate with separate post-production suites: we have all the tools to help you from script-to-screen.

Our audio post-production team can host group looping sessions, standard voiceover recording appointments, and foley sessions. Put simply, if you create the world we can flesh it out with ADR.

Imagine having a fully-realized world, with all the background sound you can imagine, recorded in a single day. And if we’re not doing the video editing or sound mixing for the project, we ensure that asset hand-off is seamless. Tracks are clearly labeled and separated so the project’s sound mixer knows exactly what they’re receiving, and how it fits into the final edit. It couldn’t be easier to complete your ADR.

Give us a call today to learn more about how ECG can help you recover that pivotal line with ADR.

No matter the project, ECG Productions will provide the perfect looping to take your production to the next level, at a cost that fits your budget.