What is ADR in the Film Industry and Who Needs It?

Business & Corporate Blog

What is ADR in the Film Industry and Who Needs It?

ADR stands for automated dialogue replacement and is a process  of re-recording dialogue by an original actor in a film after the movie has been shot to improve audio quality or reflect desired changes to the dialogue. This is also known as a “looping session”, and goes by the name “looping”.

ADR services are performed in a studio where there is typically the actor re-recording the dialogue, a post-production director and film team, and the sound engineer. ADR for film, television, and marketing are all common to the industry, and this article will talk more about that.

All About Los Angeles ADR Studios and ADR New York Studios

The best ADR studios in Los Angeles all the way to New York and everything in between must meet a certain standard to be considered the best in the industry, and an ADR studio sought by post-production teams that demand the best.

First, a successful post production project must be executed in comfort. When conditions are comfortable, actors, directors, and other professionals are able to put out their best work. This means the ADR studio must have a clean, modern aesthetic with comfortable furniture, climate control, communication options, food and beverage, and the necessary facilities presented in a polished manner.

It goes without saying that the right mics and technologies be in place. Any top ADR studio will have a deep mic locker with everything from a standard LDC (large diaphragm condenser) recording studio microphone for voice over like the Neumann U87 to the best shotgun mics for isolating and focus.

Post Production Teams Look at ADR Studio Portfolios

The number of ADR studios in Los Angeles tripled in the last four years. Unfortunately, many of these are novie operations that run from basements and garages. Often, people who are new to their post production roles will look for a low-cost ADR solution and stumble onto these voiceover recording studios that undercut the legitimate operations. They have a polished website, talk a great talk, and lock studis into an ironclad contract before the post production manager realizes they signed up with a novice operation.

Before you sign a contract with an ADR studio, do your research. Look at their portfolio. If you see a number of film school projects and a few random TV commercials, keep walking. Instead, look for an ADR studio that has repeat projects with major film and TV studios, organizations, and has won awards in the film and TV industry for voiceover and ADR related services.

Get to Know the Team

When you call ADR studios pay attention to the kinds of questions they ask. Your project’s goals should be their focus, and in order to offer the highest quality ADR, the studio needs to probe and understand your goals so they can align accordingly. If the ADR studio is more fixated on promoting themselves as opposed to learning about your project, you can find a better partner.