"Killing Down" ADR, Music, Etc.

Last Thursday I did the first of several ADR sessions with the actors that we need to replace or add dialogue with. For you non-filmmakers this is also called "looping".

The actor watches a screen with the edited scene on it and hears via headphones the original dialogue - then it's played back again, only this time three "pops" are heard and where the fourth would fall they say their lines.

It can be a tedious process I assure you. Especially when the dialogue is on-camera and not off. Off-camera stuff is fairly easy, but the on-camera not only needs to sound the same - but it has to sync with the original. There is software that helps with this (it actually manipulates the wave form to match the original), but it's best to get it as close as possible, then rely on the software.

Why are we doing this? For three main reasons:

1. We're replacing dialogue that was too "noisy" or was recorded too low or off-mic (sometimes a plane might fly over when shooting or an actor turns away from the mic).

2. We are adding some dialogue to make scenes play better. This is done a lot - you add a line from a character who is off-camera to help push the narrative or explain something.

3. We are also doing a "TV version" for future distribution, so anytime there is profanity we're replacing it with a "safe" word. This is challenging too because a descent chunk of the dialogue is in Spanish (and I don't know a cuss word from a friendly salutation). Luckily our ADR team (and all the sound team really) is fluent in Spanish.

Again, this is tough work and often you don't get the exact same performance - which can suck - but nothing is worse than hearing noisy ambience in the background or having ambient changes between cuts of two characters talking.

On the flip side though, sometimes you can improve (or change) an actor's performance by having them loop some lines. I've found sometimes something you thought sounded good on set doesn't sound so good in the dark editing suite - so you have them do some looping.

On the music side of things, I've listened to cues from most of the first two reels - and it's sounding great. Our composer really has a feel for the movie and the stylized sounds we need for the narrative. The music is also directly related to the sound design. They are both critical elements to the story - much more so than any other film I've done so far. When you see the finished film you'll understand (and I hope you get to see it).

Speaking of seeing the film... I hope to have a date soon for the premiere in Dallas. Still working out a few details, but I'll post info as soon as it's firm.

I just hope we get everything done in time for the Cannes film market in May...

-Blake


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Who Am I?

I'm a filmmaker who's produced & directed five feature films including the comedy SPILT MILK (available on iTunes), the new horror/thriller PHOBIA (on iTunes) and the action/thiller KILLING DOWN (which you can buy or rent at pretty much all the usual places).

I also created the Streamy and Webby award-winning web series PINK, which to date has been viewed online around 10 MILLION times at places like YouTube, Hulu, Koldcast and TheWB.com. And speaking of TheWB.com, I also produced and directed an online thriller for them called EXPOSED. It was released summer 2010. And most recently I created a new online sci-fi series called CONTINUUM, which is part of the online indie TV network JTS.tv - Just The Story and NOW available via VOD through indie platform Distrify.

Oh, and I don't shoot weddings. Thanks for asking though.

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