ADR & Voice-Over Overview


The human voice is truly an amazing thing. We took the emergency shut off valve that protects our airway from obstruction and turned it into an unparalleled means of communication and artistic expression.  We can send a text or an email to other side of the planet in seconds but it won’t reliably convey the intention or ‘point of view’ of the sender. Everyone knows how dodgy a proposition it is to put sarcasm into text based communication. Many a public apology has been made as a result of this kind of miscommunication.


In the film industry the voice is used in countless ways. From the ‘looping artists’ creating the ambient vocal patter of an emergency room, to the iconic trailer voice pitching an upcoming film, to the choir ‘putting the epic’ in a cinematic space battle, or the mournful soloist echoing the pain we have just seen on screen. Sometimes the work defies definition. Several years back, I got to work on Avatar and Indiana Jones 4 as a ‘stunt singer’. I was basically part of a small group, hired to vocally generate ambient sounds (alien animals & environments, monkey things and 'magic') that would be further processed by the sound designer into something completely original.


This is why it breaks our hearts when our favorite singers and vocalists succumb to years of vocal abuse. Sometimes the damage isn’t even their fault. Acid reflux, injury and an assortment of ailments can cause irreversible damage to the voice. How many times have you seen your favorite athlete come to the podium hoarse; and their voice often has little (or nothing) to do with their sport!




It’s funny how this image almost seems NSFW. Cover up those vocal folds, where’s your sense of decency? Anyway, we are talking about a fairly delicate structure, usually less than an inch long that has the dubious honor of conveying to others everything from our most subtle thoughts to our most powerful emotions. You can image how being the 'gate keeper' on this particular bridge could be hazardous to their health.

ADR & voice-over sessions can be extremely mentally and physically demanding. A big part of this series will be about balancing vocal health with the needs of vocal expression.  The other part will focus on mic technique, booth set up and workflow strategies that will aid you in your ADR and voice-over endeavors.

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About the author

Marc Antonio Pritchett is a working actor, musician and fight coordinator in the greater Los Angeles area. He is the co-founder and lead engineer at Steel Dawn Recording Studio.

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