Remote ADR: tips and tools to get the perfect take

Are you looking to run your first remote ADR session, but aren’t sure what you need to do to ensure it all goes smoothly? We’re here to help. Thanks to advancements in remote audio recording software, it’s now possible to record ADR with your talent even if they can’t make it into the studio. 

With the right tools and a little bit of preparation, you can record ADR remotely that can come pretty close to studio-level high quality. It’s not the same as the usual process that happens around the mixing board in physical studios, but you can build an effective production process powered by an internet connection, if you have the right tools.

What is remote ADR?

Remote ADR simply refers to a session of automated dialogue replacement (ADR) that is recorded outside of the studio and/or not in the same location as the director and sound mixer. 

Software for remote sound recording

To be able to run a successful remote ADR session, you’ll need audio recording software that’s capable of capturing audio in a remote location. Here are some of our audio engineers’ favorite platforms for capturing audio and communicating with talent using your favorite DAW:

#1: SourceConnect

SourceConnect is still a favorite among audio professionals for any and all remote audio recording. It works with any DAW and allows the mixer and talent to communicate and record in real-time. 

  • Top Features
  • Ultra-low latency streaming
  • Ability to record and monitor simultaneously 
  • Works with any DAW
  • Multi-track across multiple time zones

#2: Evercast

Evercast is a remote editing collaboration platform that allows creatives to collaborate in real-time on recording and editing sessions. Also, at the same time, video conferencing and utilizing built-in notation features to make notes and suggest changes. 

While you’ll still need audio capture software, Evercast can make communicating with your talent and refining performance much easier. 

  • Top features
  • Ultra-low latency streaming
  • Ability to stream both live performance and pre-recorded edits
  • Ability to stream editing software workspace with other collaborators
  • Full-spectrum audio
  • Video conferencing built-in

#3: Audiomovers Listento

The Listento platform from Audiomovers allows you to stream and record audio from any professional digital audio workstation (DAW), making it perfect for ADR sessions.  

  • Top features
  • Hi-resolution audio (32 bit/96 kHz)
  • Multi-channel (supports mono, stereo, quad, and surround sound)
  • Built-in recorder
  • User-selectable latencies to match their internet connection speed or external video conference

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3 tips for a successful session

We’ve compiled our top tips and tricks that will help your ADR session run smoothly for both you and your talent. 

Tip #1: Have the right equipment

Before you can run a successful remote ADR session, you and your talent will need to purchase the right equipment. This includes high-quality audio capture hardware and software that will allow you to get studio-quality takes from wherever you may be recording. 

On the talent side of the session, they’ll need: 

  • A high-quality microphone
  • If you’re recording synced audio for a TV show or film, it’s best to have a microphone similar to the on-set boom mic (often a shotgun microphone)

  • A recording booth
  • Ideally this should be a soundproof booth designed specifically for audio recording, but at minimum they should be in a quiet room with little reverb like a small closet. 
  • A monitor to watch clips
  • This is vital for synced sound ADR
  • A laptop
  • Local and/or remote recording software

A good practice is to ask your talent what equipment they already have access to and then advise them from there on any additional equipment needed. This will also give you an opportunity to get an idea of what kind of a setup your talent has so you can plan your session accordingly. 

Tip #2: Provide talent with a comprehensive breakdown of the clips needed

No one likes going into an ADR session totally blind, so sending the talent a breakdown of what scenes or clips they’ll need to record ADR for will help them come to the session feeling prepped and prepared. 

A comprehensive cue sheet is important for voice actors, even if you only need a single sentence of ADR. It will keep them in sync with the script and give them time to refresh themselves on the material and practice new take options, which should lead to better takes and a smoother session overall. 

At minimum, your breakdown should include the scripted pages, associated timecode in the clip, and the start/stop points for each clip needed. 

Tip #3: Send technical instructions ahead of the session

To ease the tension created by technical fumbles and save tons of wasted time, it’s vitally important that you send the talent a clear list of technical instructions ahead of the ADR session. This should cover system requirements and login information for whatever software you may be using. 

This step is incredibly important to getting the best performance out of your talent. No one wants to start off a session stressed out over login requirements, and nothing ruins a perfect take like a dropped connection. 

Giving talent a detailed list of instructions ahead of time gives them time to check their equipment and test their connection before the session. It will also help them prepare their space, eliminate background noise and reduce hangups on the technical side of things.

The new era of the “remote recording studio”

While we don’t expect recording studios to vanish anytime soon, we are seeing a new era emerging where virtual “rooms” will become an important alternative to in-person studio rentals. 

When talent is spread out in different locations, you would now have the option to join together in a digital space and use remote recording software to recreate the feeling and features of in-person recording. 

An example of this is Evercast. Not only does Evercast allow you to stream any professional software to your collaborators, but it also allows those collaborators to chat face-to-face in a virtual collaboration room. This means everyone can not only see what’s happening, but they can have live discussions about everything that’s happening on screen. 

With Evercast, you can run an ADR session remotely where the mixer, director, and talent can all watch the selected clips while capturing the new audio, then immediately making edits and watching it back, all without having to leave your respective locations. 

Hopefully, this will open up an entirely new world of collaborative possibilities and make ADR work even easier than ever for future projects.

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