View Full Version : Question about movie language editing
05-09-2004, 11:48 AM
Last night, I was watching a movie ("Thelma and Louise") on one of those networks where they won't let the bad words on the air. I noticed when they substituted tamer words and phrases for the original, that it sounded like the same actor's voice. But in other movies, I've noticed that the voice is considerably different when they tame down the language (in particular, "The Breakfast Club" stands out in my mind).
So does the filmmaker record the actor speaking these substitute words and phrases when they make the movie, or is it just a sound-alike dubbed in after the fact?
05-09-2004, 01:31 PM
Usually a 'sound-a-like' is used. Sometimes they really sound like them, sometimes not. What I hate is how sometimes all the backgroud noise is cut silent as the new word is dubbed in, making the dub reallly obvious.
Sometimes they may do different takes with different language choices and then edit different versions.
05-09-2004, 02:40 PM
Sometimes they may do different takes with different language choices and then edit different versions.This is rare, but it's not unheard of. I know of one movie, though I can't remember which one, where a scene in which a woman appeared topless was also shot with the woman wearing a towel so the scene could be included in non-premium television broadcasts.
As far as dialogue replacement, it's actually fairly common for the original actor to re-record dialogue sans profanity during post-production. Dialogue is recorded live on set, but there are frequently problems (passing airplanes, or whatever), so the actors are brought into the studio to do what is called ADR, "automated dialogue replacement," also called "looping." A surprising amount of the movie's soundtrack can be created this way; I read someplace that more than three-quarters of the dialogue in the Lord of the Rings movies was re-recorded in the studio. And as long as you've got the actors there anyway, it's a simple matter to spend an extra hour or so recording alternate versions of lines to change "shit" to "shoot."
In fact, it's become so common nowadays in Hollywood practice that the only place you're liable to hear an obvious mismatch, a looped line performed by an imperfect soundalike rather than the original actor, is either in an older movie that predates the technique or whose actors are dead (e.g. The Blues Brothers), or in a low-budget independent film that didn't have the money to anticipate the various versions it would need (e.g. Clerks).
By the way, these cleaned-up, family-friendly edits of movies are frequently called not "broadcast television versions" but, rather, "airline versions."
05-09-2004, 02:58 PM
I have seen several kinds of censorship used. Some is crude and obvious, some seems deliberately planned so the viewer is more likely to say "what did he say?" than instantly know a word was altered. Here's my technique list bleep blank, including background sounds/music, if any blank, voice only -- possible if access is available to the original recordings where different sounds are on different tracks replacement with similar word, same actor -- shoot for shit replacement with similar word, different actor and the most insidious of all, the original word scrambled in time or otherwise technically jumbled. This may produce the least disruption in the actor's audio characteristics.I have seen this last technique used on the Tonight show.
While we're on the subject, because some bluenoses are upset by the ease most people can read lips for some bad words, I have seen mouths "pixelated," or video scrambled, just around the lip area. And the same treatment is sometimes used to disguise "the finger", just the person's hand image is scrambled.
Think of the permanent damage that would ensue if some child saw or heard the real thing. :rolleyes:
Remember Steve Miller's Jet Airliner song? "Funky shit goin' down in the city..." on the original album was changed to "funky kicks" for airplay. This particular cut required rerecording several tracks, as there were several background vocals saying the same thing. Whenever I hear this on the radio, I find myself singing the "wrong" words, as I heard the album before it was released while I worked on it. "Funky kicks" sounds really strange to me.
05-09-2004, 09:22 PM
This is rare, but it's not unheard of. I know of one movie, though I can't remember which one, where a scene in which a woman appeared topless was also shot with the woman wearing a towel so the scene could be included in non-premium television broadcasts.
Are you thinking of Animal House? I think in the movie, in the scene where Belushi climbs up the ladder and is peeking into the sorority house windows, the girls are having a topless pillow fight. But in the TV version, they were all wearing bras.
05-10-2004, 08:47 AM
I only remember the bra version.
They are really topless?
05-10-2004, 11:20 AM
In the Dudley Moore film Crazy People (I hope that's right) they lamed out so many of the jokes there are effectively two different versions. Oh lemme think - actually they must have planned and filmed both because the gags involve images as well as words. And the lame version just isn't funny. About the only gag that survives is:
Volvos. They're boxy, but they're good.
The one about Jaguars gets squished.
The (ahem) blunt language in the non-lame version is exactly what's funny about it.
05-10-2004, 12:50 PM
...there was a version of Animal House where the sorority girls were wearing bras?
I knew it'd be a waste of time, watching that on network television...
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