Avoiding ADR

Randy Thom’s ADR suggestions


  • Hire a good sound mixer and boom operator, but don’t assume that they can perform miracles.
  • Let the sound people participate in rehearsals.
  • Give your sound crew enough time to figure out how to mic a shot.
  • Light your shots so that a mic on a boom can be placed reasonably close without casting shadows into the frame.
  • If that’s impossible, plan your shot so that mics hidden behind props can help.
  • Shoot in quiet places.
  • Put felt on the soles of actors’ shoes.
  • Encourage your actors to speak up.
  • Have the actors avoid handling noisy props while they’re talking.
  • Have the actors do wild takes, close mic’ed (immediately after the camera take), but speaking at the same level of energy as when the camera was rolling.
  • Have the actors avoid speaking over each other’s lines. If they do it, do wild takes immediately. Sometimes wild takes can be cheated to work (lip sync wise) in on-camera takes of the same scene.
  • Do a re-take if the sound is bad.

What all of this means is that in order to avoid spending money on ADR, you need to spend money and time during production. The difference is that the production performance will almost always be much better than the ADR performance.

Good Luck!