Post Production: What Is ADR and How To Do It

ADR is an abbreviation for additional dialogue recorded. Not every location where a film is shot is sound friendly. For example, a scene shot under a highway overpass is going to always be noisey no matter what microphones you use or which sound guy you hire. While this sound might be acceptable for an editor to use for cutting the movie, it won't work with the audience. So we need to have the actor come to the post production house and rerecord some of their lines.

Don't Rely on ADR as a Crutch

ADR is an expensive and tedious process. You should make every possible effort to avoid having to resort to it. Hire a great sound guy with great equipment. They mean the difference in regards to the quality of the audio. Also try to make every possible effort to clean the sound up in an audio editing program. These options are a lot cheaper then renting a studio, hiring a guy to record the ADR, and paying the actors to come in a rerecord their lines. However, sometimes it's unavoidable.

Decide What Needs ADR

Before you start the ADR process you need to decide what parts of the movie need it. Unfortunately ADR is an expensive but necessary part of post production. Try to organize what scenes need ADR in a manner that is cost efficient.

Hire a Studio Experienced in ADR

You're going to have a lot less headaches doing ADR if you find an audio post production house that has experience in ADR and staff who can record the session for you. You need a place that has a monitor in the recording booth so that the actor can match their ADR with their original performance. If the studio does not have that then go some where else. The actor needs to be able to see what they're doing otherwise you have a session that is ten times more longer and frustrating than it needs to be. 

Do It All in One Day

For cost reasons you want to have all the actors do their ADR on the same day so that you are only paying for the studio and recording engineer for one day. You need to get the job done right while keeping the costs in control.

Sync the ADR

If the session was done properly then your ADR should sync perfectly with the recorded performance. The goal is to not have anyone realize that the audio is ADR.

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