Audio Post Production:

What are the Difference and Similarities between Voice Over Recording and ADR?

Whenever we switch on our radios or turn on our TV’s and hear a beautifully clear and crisp voice coming through the speakers, there usually isn’t any thought given to exactly how that voice got there.

Voice Over Recording and ADR are part of everyday life, but we don’t give it a real thought because at the end of the day, the examples of these which are the most effective are the ones we actually don’t notice.

Voice Overs in a Nutshell

Voice Over Recording  is a very specific type of post production work, though it does slide into the category of both post production and production. This is very dependent on what the Voice over is actually being used for.

Take a feature film for instance – During principal photography there won’t be very much going on in terms of Voice over work until the shots have already been edited at least to the first rushes (or draft one). This is because the voices require the right timing in the shot in order to really portray the story at hand.

The Short and Sweet on ADR

ADR  stands for automated/automatic dialogue replacement, (Also called a looping session) and  is actually a Voice Over too, however it’s a very specific type, which is used to replace voice which has already been recorded.

What Separates ADR and Voice Over Recording?

Now here comes the major difference. Voice overs aren’t done with the intention of synchronising to what’s happening on screen. ADR however, is.

ADR is also something we aren’t supposed to realise is there at all. For instance, we all remember the infamous Bane voiced by Tom Hardy, from “Dark Knight Rises”. Most people won’t know that the voicing took three full recorded versions before the film actually came out. The voice Hardy did is considered ADR because it was recorded in order to sync up directly with the actor’s actions on screen. ADR sessions always occur after the principal photography has taken place where an actor is called in to re-do section of dialogue which have to be perfectly matched, usually to replace recorded sound which for some reason, can’t be used in the film. This is something you will never notice if done properly. Even more than that, what happens when you have an actor who you really want for a musical but he/she can’t sing?

Straight voice over recording isn’t ever really recorded with this specific requirement in mind. It’s what you hear when, for instance,  someone is narrating a story (think the voice of Tom hanks in Forrest Gump while he is narrating his life). Voice over is also the primary source of spoken voice found on ads on the radio, or vocals which you hear on the speaker system over a P.A in a mall or large scale grocery store.

Voice over does however, require a voice actor who is versatile in terms of knowing what kinds of voices are needed. So for instance, there may be the need for a hard sell type of voice – “Buy NOW at half price, batteries not included!”, or more educational, business centric and so on. It’s important for the director, VO artist and recording producer to know what exactly the script brief is

What this Means for a Studio:

Working on ADR is specialised because there are so many elements which need to be perfectly in place. The actor needs to be able to perfectly reproduce what the dialogue was that they said on the shoot day, or if they are replacing certain dialogue, it needs to fall on exactly the same timeframe.

Voice over is not as specialised in terms of timing or knowledge of film, nor does the director necessarily need to be present when it’s done, but it does require an artist who specialises in different types of voice work, eg: soft and hard sell, accent and character work etc.

At Cosher Recording Studios in Cape Town, South Africa, we have the facility to be able to take care of any voice recording needs, whether that be ADR or voice over recording. We keep a a roster of talented voice over artists, and we also have an in house voice trainer who can assist with all manner of voice direction where specific types of vocals are required. On top of this all of our producers and sound engineers are certified and have years of experience in the industry. This puts us in the unique position to be able to provide both recording a facility and an artist to fit almost any need.

If you need a voiceover done, then consider talking to us about getting it done.