The magic of audio dubbing lets us watch and enjoy shows that were originally produced in other languages. Audio dubbing is very common for international movies and TV show releases and even advertisements. Audio dubbing is also a great option for those who would rather not read subtitles the entire movie or show.
So what are the ins and outs of audio dubbing? Let’s explore what dubbing is andthe post-production process.
What is dubbing?
Audio dubbing is when the original dialogue audio of a film or TV show is swapped with one of a different language. An editor also might dub the audio when the original audio from filming isn’t usable. In both instances, the new audio must be mixed with the other audio tracks so that it doesn’t take away from the film.
Why is it important to understand audio dubbing?
Audio dubbing increases the reach of your work. if you want to release your film internationally and have more people view your film, you will need to dub the film into different languages.
Sometimes your original audio isn’t salvageable. This could be due to mic issues or distracting background audio. In this case, you can re-record your dialogue and mix it in while video editing without anyone noticing.
Lastly, you don’t want your audio dubbing to be jarring and distract from your film. You want the audio dubbed track to seem as natural as possible. The only way to ensure this is through learning how to properly dub your film.
How Does Dubbing Work?
Dubbing simply attempts to reproduce an original work for a new audience, but the mechanics aren’t always that simple. In fact, a successful dub requires collaboration among a wide range of specialists who contribute to the final product. That attention to detail is crucial for creating the best possible dub.
Preparing a Script
Writing a script in a new language is a significant challenge on its own.
Translators need to balance the literal meaning of the original script with the need to cater to a totally different audience.
That said, this process becomes even more complicated when the script needs to match an existing video or animation.
Rather than simply translating dialogue as closely as possible, the script developers need to build it in such a way that the new recording will match the pacing and timing of the original product.
If an animated character appears to take three seconds to utter a line, for example, the translated dialogue needs to allow the dubbing voice actor to get through the same line in the same amount of time.
After getting a script ready for the new voice overs, you’ll need to look for voice actors to take up the roles in the target language.
This step can be particularly tricky for smaller studios and creative projects that don’t have the same network of international voice acting talent (or even employees who speak the target language).
Like any other voice over work, dubbing is at its best when the voice actors are tailored to the specific needs of the job.
While it’s impossible to find a perfect match for an original actor, you can still take steps to find the best possible voice actor in the target language.
Make sure to write a clear job description that tells applicants exactly what you’re looking for—you can even include a recording of the original voice actor.
Recording the Dub
Once you have a final script and a team of voice actors, you’re ready to record the new voice tracks.
Again, the recording process involves collaboration from a number of different professionals, so it’s important to be fully prepared before starting to record your dub.
Professional voice actors often have cutting-edge equipment to optimize the quality of the recording and minimize background noise, ensuring the best final product possible.They often use the voice over recording software to edit their audio.
They generally also have dedicated spaces for professional-quality recordings, removing the need to reserve studio space (although a studio environment may be preferable for some projects.
Even though dubbing voice actors don’t need to exactly mimic the original performance, it may still be helpful for them to have the opportunity to listen to the actors they’re dubbing over.
While you might only provide a short sample recording during the casting process, you should also consider giving your chosen actors a full copy of the original production.
Dub recording usually involves actors reading their lines while watching the same point in the original video.
This keeps the recording connected to the narrative and gives each line its proper place in the story.
Of course, the project director will need to direct the actors and ensure that they’re achieving the correct tone.
Cowboy Bebop, one of the earliest animes to gain a following in the United States, is often considered one of the best examples of dubbing in anime.
Rather than simply trying to imitate the original voices, the English voice actors find unique and creative ways to explore the characters on their own terms while staying true to the creator’s vision.
Layering the Audio
After recording the new voice lines, all that’s left is to integrate them into the video or animation.
The audio recording needs to match up with the on-screen mouth movements, so this is an extremely precise process that should be left to an experienced professional. Poorly optimized dubs will stick out and detract from the overall impression.
Finally, you’ll end up with a seamless recording that should appear just as natural as it did in the original language.
Successful dubbing takes time, resources, and contributions from various professionals, but the final result is well worth the effort.
Automated dialogue replacement, or ADR, is also used to re-record audio lines that didn’t go well during the initial take.
The example below demonstrates the potential improvement ADR can offer even outside of traditional dubbing contexts.
Crisp, accurate voice overs are often a critical element of the polished final product in dubbing as well as conventional films and TV shows.
Thank you for your reading. Good Luck!