Q4 2020

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73 W I N T E R Q 4 I S S U E T E C H Findley is not too concerned with audio quality. What is important is that the videoconferencing happens on a device that's separate from what the talent is recording onto. "This way, if the talent has to reboot their computer, we don't lose communication. We just stay on the Zoom call while the technical things are being worked out," he says. T h e m o s t c o m p l e x r e m o t e A D R sessions are those with numerous lines that need to be recorded in sync to pic- ture. Ideally, Source-Connect would be Findley's first choice but the technical involvement on both ends means it's "not an actual viable option for someone without their own studio," he says. "So a really cool solution is from Todd-AO called Actors Mobile ADR. Using the sof tware on our end (Actors Mobile EDITOR for OSX), we cut the picture into little clips — one video clip per line of ADR so there isn't too much content. We can add beeps and cue text. There's a short lead in, with wipes across the screen for synchronization. It will cut out the production dialogue for the actor's line if they want. It's cool in the sense of simulating what they know and love (or hate) about ADR." Findley sends the encrypted video clips to the actor through Todd-AO's Actors Mobile ADR app (only available for iOS devices). The actor uses the app to control playback, record takes, and review their performances. The actor then emails the preferred takes to Findley, who downloads the clips and imports them into Pro Tools. "If we're replacing a line for noise, and there isn't any creative decision to be made (it's just technical ADR) then the actor can do that on their own without direction. Or, the filmmakers can direct the talent via videoconferencing on a separate device. This approach allows the actor to keep doing take after take after take and dial it in, to work on the sync and per- formance. It's a great solution for sync," Findley said. The challenge is that it's labor-inten- sive for the post sound team. It requires more work pre-session "because if some- one has 20 cues of ADR, that means there has to be 20 video clips. This app existed prior to this whole COVID lockdown situ- ation. I feel like it was never necessarily intended to be the ADR solution for an entire project. But people have been using it. They have been doing over 100 cues for features for an actor within this program. There's more money and time spent on making ADR happen now be- cause the process is much more involved. In particular, I'm thinking about loop group," said Findley. GROUP THERAPY "Recording group ADR is a slog for s u re," h e a d d e d . " H ow d o we ge t 1 2 people in different locations to perform together, with different internet connec- tion quality?" For each actor, Findley needs to go through his process of assessing techni- cal proficiency, approving (or supplying) suitable recording equipment, finding an adequate recording space, choosing an appropriate voice recording app, and connecting via videoconferencing. "Not only are there delays sometimes with sync, but there's also lag. One per- son might be getting everything a couple of seconds later than everybody else. Everyone needs to understand that this is working; it just sounds weird at this moment. Right now, it sounds like a train wreck but it's going to be great; trust it. So that's where the infinite patience comes in," he says. Each actor records their own perfor- mances. Each take gets a verbal slate and is labeled with the actor's name and cue number. This creates a ton of files that later need to be imported into Pro Tools, lined up, mixed, and bounced down into one or two mono files. This is how Findley prepares remotely recorded group ADR for dub stage. He notes that Universal Studios is working on a way to bring multiple voice streams into Pro Tools, record them separately but mix them on the fly via a console to more efficiently create a single mixed group ADR track. "We could go into those iso tracks if we want to or need to. But we can start with the mixed tracks. The benefit is that we have all of those iso-tracks if we need to go in there and break it up," he explains. Findley notes that, in terms of tools, sound pros are figuring out how to com- bine what's available to maximize the benefits of each while minimizing the extra work by-product of remote ADR. "There are other ways of doing re- mote ADR. Warner Bros. Sound has their ADR… At A Distance. They send a pelican case with everything in it that the actor needs. The actor puts it on a stand, opens it up, and a very few steps later they are ready to go. It's all being controlled from WB Sound's ADR stage remotely and it's being captured into Pro Tools on their ADR stage at the time it is happening. This inherently removes that whole step of trying to ingest audio later and place it and make it work. It's like the best mashup between Source-Connect and ease-of-use remote tools," said Findley. He concluded, "I feel like some of these tools — what Universal is doing and what WB Sound is doing — are taking away the pain after the fact. You don't want to burn out your post sound team. There is no way around the fact that additional effort is involved in the remote ADR process. The key is to consider all of the players involved when choosing where to shift or distribute the extra workload. ■ Jennifer Walden is a freelance writer who specializes in technology.

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