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Looping Dialogue

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 3/5/2010

Learn how to loop dialogue in case it was not properly recorded on location.

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    Getting Sound

    Recording audio when you are filming your digital video project can be much more difficult than might be expected. When you are trying to record dialogue in particular you can have sound difficulties, noise, interference, or jumbling by the people speaking them. To get the conversations to sound just right sometimes you have to “loop” them in post-production.

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    Looping

    Looping dialogue means to re-record lines in a secure audio location that were already recorded during live filming. This is done in either a professional or amateur recording studio, where the clarity and consistency of the voice recording is the primary target. This way you will be able to play the perfectly recorded dialogue over the background sound to make it come across as it was intended.

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    Recording the Actor

    To do this you have the actor go into the recording location and have them watch the original footage. Then you have them wear a microphone-headset combination while watching the footage. As they watch themselves say the lines they also say the lines, trying to keep it in perfect unison with the video footage. The sound is then recorded during this process. It is best to have them do this several times for each line so that you can have a selection to choose from.

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    Make it Clean

    Since you want to have the cleanest audio possible it is best to find the most professional audio facility you can. If you have a little bit of money it is best to rent a professional audio station and hire an audio mixer to get it just right. You can also try to do this with your DV camera, with an onboard computer microphone, or with a standard DAT. The success of each system is really going to be determined once you listen to the recordings you have just made.

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    Editing

    Since it will usually just be small sections of dialogue areas that you will need to loop you will probably be splicing together looped dialogue with regular dialogue. Keeping in mind that you are going to need to match up the background sound with the dialogue that was recorded on location it is best to make sure that you have recorded some background noise from the location without the dialogue in it or record background sounds on a separate channel while you are filming. Try to match it up as best as you can, but once you add music and sound effects it shouldn’t be noticeable.

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    Do It Right the First Time

    This is a difficult and tedious process, so try to get it right the first time. Getting your location recording done perfect is the best way to speed up the entire project.