ADR or automatic dialogue replacement, is not just for fixing poorly recorded dialogue. In fact it is the number-one quick fix for solving story problems in post.
Let’s say you watch the first cut of your movie and find a big effing plot hold in the middle of your gorgeous cinematic masterpiece. What are you, as an indie director, to do?
You probably don’t have enough budget left to go back and re-shoot the scene or sequence.
But you do have talent and creativity (you got this far right?). Here’s the step-by-step to using ADR for fixing plot holes:
- Dig into the script. Find what you’re missing. Fix the problem on paper in rough terms.
- Simplify the problem. Take the solution to your problem and translate it into a single sentence that a character can speak on screen. It needs to be quick and easy for the audience to grasp.
- Identify the scene. Find a scene in your film, hopefully near the issue you’re trying to correct, where two or three actors are talking and listening. As a good director with lots of talent you probably shot ample coverage of people listening and reacting.
- Identify the beat. In that scene, find a place where your new line of dialogue fits. Massage it a bit to make it flow into the sequence.
- Temp Record the line yourself for timing purposes.
- Drop it in the cut, over a listening character. Massage until it flows naturally
- Re-record with your actor.
And bingo! You just saved your film. ADR is a powerful tool and used sparingly can make a bad film decent and a good film great!