View Full Version : 'Automated' Dialog Replacement
05-14-2006, 05:51 PM
For the uninitiated, ADR (aka looping) is the practice of rerecording an actor's lines and inserting them in place of the sound originally recorded while the camera was rolling. It's a routine matter done for a variety of reasons, such as they weren't able to get a clean audio track on location, or the best looking take had a slight flub in the dialog, etc. When it's done well, no one notices. When it's done poorly, it stands out like the proverbial sore thumb. As an example of the latter, in the climax of The Maltese Falcon . . .Gutman is chipping, then slashing at the bird's enamel coat exclaiming, "It's lead! It's lead!! It's a fake!" . . . in a voice clearly not Sydney Greenstreet's.
Anyway, to the question: Where does Automated figure in? I mean you got your actor sitting in a booth trying to synchronize lines to already-shot footage, you got your recording engineer getting it down on tape, and you got your sound editor doing whatever he does to chuck the original sound and replace it with the new one in the final master from which the prints are made. Plus you probably got your director and a producer or two hanging over everyone's shoulders putting in their two cents worth. I can scarcely think of anything less automated. Where did the term come from?
I've also seen ADR referred to as 'Additional' Dialog Replacement a time or two, but that isn't much better.
05-16-2006, 06:45 PM
05-16-2006, 07:14 PM
The automated or automatic in automated dialog replacement refers to the playback of the dialog footage during the recording.
05-16-2006, 10:42 PM
I don't have an answer for the OP, but I would just like to opine that the example from The Maltese Falcon isn't particularly relevant, since in the scene in question, you can't see Greenstreet's face. The line was just dubbed in, with no attempt to lipsync to picture.
[Is it definitively known that the voice is not Greenstreet's? It's clearly not delivered in the same tone as the lines before and after, but I've always guessed that it may just have been captured at a different time, and therefore didn't fit in well.]
05-17-2006, 09:28 AM
I recently spent close to 30 hours in a studio doing ADR for an independant film. That's nearly as much time as I spent on set. ADR is a hell of a tedious process, and is far from Automated.
Anyway, for the OP, I asked pretty much the same question. Our director, our sound tech, our production manager and producer were all around the studio, they all have degrees in film production, and they all work professionally in the industry. So I asked, "What exactly does ADR stand for?"
No one could agree on an answer. I got "automated dialogue recovery", "audio dialogue recovery" (which seemed silly and redundant to me), "additional dialogue replacement" (which doesn't really describe the process either, the dialogue is either replaced or additional, not both) and my favourite "all dummies re-record".
05-17-2006, 10:10 AM
I think of it as a somewhat antiquated term with origins in early cinema that has survived partly due to the inertia of tradition and partly because nobody remembers what it originally stood for. Filmmaking jargon is full of this stuff; compare "MOS." Also, the basic term "motion picture" is sort of old-fashioned, if you think about it.
Remembering how film editing used to be handled, with cutters looping lengths of celluloid around their necks and hanging them on endless rows of hooks and pegs, and scrolling the film by hand through manual decks while squinting at tiny flickering screens, the idea that using machinery to repeatedly cycle through a scene to re-record dialogue could, in those early days, be considered "automated" makes some sense.
05-17-2006, 10:46 AM
I took a class in this a few years ago, had a lot of fun replacing all the dialogue in Aliens. However, when I started the class, the only defination of ADR I'd heard of was Atomic Demolitions Removal.... I'm not sure what I thought the film-school class was actually going to be....
05-17-2006, 11:16 AM
Texas A&M University started life as Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College. As it grew to university status, the A&M became just part of what it taught. Offically now A&M are not acronyms of anything. Perhaps it's time to concede that ADR isn't an acronym and doesn't stand for anything.
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