Looping

2007-05-28 - 11:28 | Uncategorized |

We started doing the ADR (asynchronous dialog replacement, or looping) on Sunday at Darrell’s, with Jacques and Dean. Jacques’ session went quickly as he has relatively few lines. Dean’s lines, more than anyone else in the movie, took us late into the night. Halfway through we feasted on Judy’s dners, which are meat wraps dripping with a white sauce sweet enough to be donut frosting. The first few bites were delicious, but they were so filling I struggled to finish just one.

Looping the audio can be risky on one hand, as you’re jeopardizing the best performances of actors who are into the situation and the dynamics of the scene by replacing that dialog with stuff you record alone inside a small room, all in one go. On the other hand, it’s also a chance to improve some of the more lackluster performances. The challenge is to come out ahead, not just with pristine audio, but with improved dynamics that add to the scenes.

Darrell prepares for ADR by taking all the dialog and chopping it up into easily managed bits, playing them for the actor, and then having the actor repeat it as closely as possible, minus any special instruction. Once we got going it went fairly smoothly, though Dean’s Chinese lines were a bit bumpy. He would hear his line from the rough cut, and then I would pronounce it more correctly for him, and he would try to match it all up. While we didn’t make him native-speaker fluent, I think we improved his pronunciation over the original. He also improved his Scottish accent.

I checked off the lines as we went through, offering ideas whenever I had them. We also recorded some alternative lines for edits that we’re considering. It’s good to have Dean’s stuff finished, because his was the largest part, and everyone else has less than that. Next weekend we’re planning t0 do Rowan and April’s ADR. There are a lot of people in the film, so the whole ADR thing is going to drag out quite a while, I think. Dean’s going to do some of the extra voices, like that of Shirzi, who has disappeared, as will Darrell. From what I heard, the sound on this movie is going to be pretty amazing.

Dean and I have shown the rough cut to a few people to get an idea of what needs fixing. Paul, Darrell, Dean and I had a long discussion on the subject as well. So far, the reactions have been positive and the input helpful. Rowan said he was shocked at how good it was. Some of the advice is contradictory, and we’ll need to work out what to do about those areas. One definite problem, however, is that the rough cut is well over two and a half hours long. That means that some characters and even entire scenes are going to have to be cut. I hate to do it, but it’s got to be done. In this age of “Deleted Scenes” sections on DVDs, however, it’s not as devastating as it could have been.


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