Automated dialogue replacement

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Automated dialogue replacement, also known as additional dialogue recording and in its abbreviated form, ADR, is the process in which dialogue from a television series is removed and re-recorded. For domestic series, this usually comes with re-writes and re-takes. However, with foreign series that need to be adapted to another language, ADR is used to remove the original dialogue, and then replace it with dialogue from another language. This is also known by many as dubbing into another language. Even though this practice is often referred to as dubbing, that statement actually narrows the term down, as a dub is simply a copy of existing footage regardless whether or not anything has been added or removed.

ADR Adaptation Process

In the ADR process, a studio hires someone to act as the director. This person usually casts the adaptation of the show, supervises while voice actors are in the booth, and decides what takes are to be used in the final cut. The studio then hires someone to translate the series to the new language. These translations are often very literal, and in some cases (jokes, puns, rhyming schemes), do not always translate properly. To rectify this, writers are hired to take the translations and word them in proper English. This includes writing proper sentences, and structuring the sentences so that they can fit the mouth movements within the footage. On some occasions, usually with the blessing of the studio or by the order of the distributor, the ADR writers take several liberties with the scripts and add new lines, or change references to fit the language the show is being adapted for. Shows like Lupin the 3rd, Digimon and Dragon Ball Z have been known to take light-to-medium liberties with the ADR script, while shows like Samurai Pizza Cats, Duel Masters, and Shin Chan have had a total overhaul in their scripts to completely alter the show. It is not uncommon for the director to also act as a writer.

After the pre-production, the show goes into the recording studio. Due to the low budget of most ADR operations, the actors are often brought into the booth individually, and are able to record several episodes at once in a short amount of time. This keeps the process moving, as group recordings usually require more money to get the actors to prioritize it on their schedules. The disadvantage is that actors are unable to hear other actors that they're exchanging dialogue with, and can't form as natural a reaction. Regardless, the practice is not that harmful to the recording. When the recording is done, the director takes the audio bytes and decides which takes to use for the final mix.

After the final cuts are chosen by the director, the show then goes to post-production. This is when the ADR engineers and mixers take the recordings, and mix them into the show's footage and sound effects. If edits to the show are needed, this is where they're executed. Sometimes, due to legalities involving the show's original soundtrack, new music is scored for the series. After the post-production is completed, the final output is a completed adaptation of the series.