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June 1994


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"John G. Thomas" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 13 Jun 1994 14:12:22 -0700
text/plain (58 lines)
On Mon, 13 Jun 1994, Daniel Pisano wrote:
> You looped what?
> What is this 'looping'?
> ...just to keep on the technical side of this reply thread.
> Daniel
        With a marketing-eye in the direction of television, it is common
practice to "cover" the potentially offensive words with replacements
rather than have the censor totally remove the audio and have the "drop"
in the soundtrack.
        It's best(and cheapest), to record these alternative words at the
same time as you shoot the scene so that room presence and performance
remain the same.  Words that are replaced later, at a sound studio, NEVER
sound right.
        The term "looping" refers to the now antiquated process of dialog
replacement whereby the words or phrases to be replaced were actually a
piece of magnetic film or recording tape that was spliced end-to-end.
In a sound proof stage, the actor listens to the recording through a
headset while watching the picture on a screen or video monitor.  The
actor watches and listens several times in order to get a sense of the
rhythm of the words.  Then, over the headset, the actor hears a series of
beeps or tones, usually three with an imaginary fourth tone.  The same as
saying, "1, 2, 3, go."
        A microphone records the new words and a sound editor cuts this
new audio material into the sound track so the words come out of the
actor's mouth when they're supposed to.
        Nowdays a new system called Automatic Dialog Replacement, or ADR,
makes the process easier.  Using computers and time coded video tape, the
new material is electronically syncronized with the picture without an
editor having to cut the sound into a track.
        Even though most post-production on features these days is done
with the aid of ADR equipment, the term "Looping" is still used.
        You would loop sound for a lot of reasons:  poor performance, a
technical glitch, noisy backgrounds and to be able to "split" dialog in
scenes with several people.  A lot of other reasons too, including
getting rid of them "bad" words.  The "Hollywood" system places a lot of
emphasis on the often total replacement of dialog and production effects
in a film.  (Keeps a lot of people on the payroll!)
        Sets I've visited in Europe are quite different.  And their
approach to production and post-production sound is different too.  Uh,
oh, the techno-bore strikes again.  If you have any more questions about
this subject, give me a jingle.
---------------->from John G. Thomas ([log in to unmask]) <-------------------