ADR stands for Automated Dialogue Replacement, and an ADR Mixer’s main responsibility is to make sure that all of the dialogue in a film or TV show is accurately placed – and of the highest quality possible.
“Adding in different dialogue is the new norm [for ADR mixing],” says Full Sail 2006 Recording Arts grad Judah Getz, who’s credited as an ADR mixer on dozens of projects, including Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, “Dexter,” and “American Horror Story.” “For whatever reason, when the editors cut scenes together in post, sometimes they don’t work, and actors need to replace words [after production has ended] or fill holes that provide motivation to move the story to the next scene.”
If you’re interested in a career in ADR mixing, or you’re already doing some of your own dialogue re-recording, check out these tips from Judah.
Be Prepared. Judah’s says to be sure you know the room you’re working in and the workflow signal inside and out. “ADR is one of those things where not everybody likes to do it the same way – some want to hear themselves in their headphones, some don’t, etc.” says Judah. “Being able to quickly route those things to the appropriate places and make changes without taking up any extra time is important.” The more prepared you are, the more comfortable everyone else will be.
Know when to speak up … and when not to. It’s important to remember what your role is during an ADR session, says Judah. “If there’s a technical issue, if the actor is jumping and making noise with their feet while talking, and it’s something you can fix technically, then that’s okay,” he says. But when it comes to making performance or directorial notes, that’s not an ADR mixer’s place. There are already so many cooks in the kitchen during these sessions, ADR mixers don’t need to be directors too.
Stay professional. One big thing, says Judah, is don’t assume every actor wants to work the same way. Each session needs to be taken on a case-by-case basis. Also, keep your personal preferences at bay: “If you’re working on a movie that you don’t like, you can’t let that affect what you’re saying to producers,” says Judah. “You can’t let that drag down your enthusiasm level for the job.”