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Preaching Duality October 5, 2007

Posted by William J. Meyer in Jack's Production.

This week I stepped across a directing threshold. I turned a man into a robot. Jeff and I recorded Chris’ dialogue replacement. What our pals in the UK call post-synchronization. Now, I enjoy every aspect of the filmmaking process, if for nothing else than the overall sensation of constructing an infinite puzzle, however…

Synchronicity in action! Last weekend I read an interview with editor Walter Murch discussing ADR. He paraphrased director Jean Renoir saying, “…replacing the original sound with something else is an invention of the devil and that if such a thing had been possible in the thirteenth century, the practitioners would have been burned at the stake for preaching the duality of the soul! Renoir felt that a person’s voice was an expression of that person’s soul, and that to fool around with it in any way was to do the devil’s work.”

I sympathize. Directing someone to mimic the pace and energy of a previously existing performance, even if it is their own, is not very polite in my opinion. Unfortunately, I’ve experienced too many short films where the suspension of disbelief collapses under the burden of horrendous sound quality. This must not be the case with Jack. A limited crew plus a million forest insects plus everyone in the neighborhood mowing their lawn plus vaulted ceilings led to a lot of inferior sound recording. Having a uniform quality foundation for dialogue will benefit the film, and so we forge ahead.

You can see my makeshift video playback system in the second photo below. I exported the ADR sequences from Final Cut Pro as mp4 files, and then played them off my Titanium Powerbook. I did have fun being a one man audience for three hours in the recording booth, though. The sound loop of communication was kinda funny, too: I could hear Jeff in my headphones, Chris could hear himself in his headphones, and Jeff could hear Chris in the control booth.

-William, Director

Chris ADR 1

Chris ADR 2



1. Something 'Vaguely European' - October 5, 2007

I find it hard to believe that Jean Renoir would prefer Star Wars with Darth Vader sounding like some UK bodybuilder muffled behind a plastic mask rather than James Earl Jones. Would he have have had John Williams and the London Philharmonic orchestra on location playing live for the Hoth scenes in Norway as well? Hey, Buddy! Nobody wants to try to clean a spit valve in a 30 degree wind chill!!! As for being burned at the stake, I suspect that a person showing a film at all in the thirteenth century would have been burned at the stake for witchery. Times change Jean, deal with it…

…as much as someone can posthumously deal with anything that is (ie. Not a whole hell of a lot).

JEJ is the OG!

2. Patrick - October 14, 2007

What kind of mic is being used for the ADR?

[Hey Patrick! That there mic is the Shure SM7. -wjm]

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