ADR how much of a movie is replaced?

Hello experts,

How much dialogue is replaced normally in films and tv shows?

I´ve been analizing some shows and movies and … to my ear… most of it is ADR. For instance, The Dark Knight sounds like its at least 80% ADR.

Am I right?

Thing is…
I’m negotiating a contract to do ADR for an indie movie project. The director wants to do as little ADR as possible, but having seen some of the footage I´m recommending to replace basically all the dialogue.

Is this a sensible option? Whats been your experience? Do you do ADR for “some stuff” or for “most of the movie”??


As little as possibly can.

Post-Sync is needed when the sound guy srewed up, when there is an issue with intelligibility, when rain/wind machines are used, when the power generator was too colse to the set, when the surrounding noise is overtaking (Cars, animals, …), etc …

Most of the projects we have done have very little to no Post-Sync.


What Fredo said. I guess in big Hollywood productions (especially the one you mention) there’s so much going on on the set. Lights, wind machines, smoke machines, and all that stuff so ADR is needed a lot. But I don’t know why an Indie movie, that typically doesn’t have the budget for a lot of FX and machines on set would need a lot of ADR. Except the sound guys really did a bad job with their recording. Then you need to hire better sound guys, because getting good recordings from a set or outdoor is possible.

Even big budget productions that aren’t CGI and FX heavy use their set recordings:

I’ve done too few films to make a well founded statement like Fredo. But in the 2 fictional short films and about 12 documentaries we’ve not once used ADR. Documentaries, of course, are almost a given that there’s no ADR.

Not only on European but also on “Hollywood stile” movies I worked on production sound dialog has a very high value. There are not much directors around that like to do ADR if they can avoid it. Because its hard und difficult work to get the performance from the actors in studio and a big risk of making the movie worse.
There are exeptions (directors, producers knowing that they have a big production sound problem (traffic sound in historical movie etc.) or in one single case I worked with a director that had the idea production sound being a bad compromise and wanted all dialog replaced (180 min)…But nobody normally has this sort of money.

I expect you will have to bring in good arguments for every single line you want to have replaced if your director doesnt like ADR. A general argument like "They do it on all big movies* will nor help…


Hmmm, … I’ve done some indie stuff years ago and the recorded sound was partly unusable.
Budget… they had a hard time spelling that word… Basically, there was hardly enough to finish the movie at all.
When discussing some spots in the film, were the sound was just too bad, I made some point in explaning that it might take almost as long to fix the sound to a usable level, than to do some ADR.
Actors came in mostly pro bono to help the project and some reduced rates on my behalf got the film ready and reasonably well sounding. For the studio it could well count as a little financial bummer, but hey, you learn from doing things, too.

I suggest to put in a little clause that gives room for re- negotiations when things get just too bad. Especially if you share the standpoint that there should not be any crap leaving the studio. It usually falls on your feet, soon enough. Reputation counts a lot and it is rather quickly destroyed for a long time.

Cheers, Big K

Now carefull. I’m a bit offended by statements like this.
It is not that simple. Statements like that are most often heard from people who know nothing about location recording.

There are so many reasons why a location recording might have to be looped. And so many of those reasons are way out of sound crews reach…

I didn’t mean to generalize, although my statement could be read in that way. Sorry for that. I was thinking about a bad experience I once had there. But of course, you’re right. There are a lot of factors to consider, many of them outside the power of the recording crew.

Agreed. If you don’t have a location scout that works with the sound mixer you are going to have problems.

I’ve worked on a number of films and network TV shows doing ADR. The bigger budget ones do more ADR of course. But medium-budget ones redo 5-10% of each major character’s lines in my experience. Minor characters may have 5-10 lines, mostly from lines recorded on top of each other on set because they’re trying to get done quickly. TV shows will do more rewrite ADR lines because they want to “cover” something they feel the audience might not understand (actors HATE to do these). Like Tumppi said, things go wrong and out of your control on the set a lot of times. What looks good on camera may sound bad on camera.

ADR is difficult for everyone involved, so it’s avoided when necessary. Some films go into production knowing they will have to because of production conditions. No/low budget films only have ADR done if the engineer and actor are generous. In your project and other no/lows, I would think the budget won’t allow for so much ADR. You may be able to massage the sound with heavy denoising along with strong ambience underneath to mask it. But most often than not, the director has to just live with it.

I’m just amazed at the sound quality found in shows like Daredevil, Mindhunter, The Good Place, etc, etc Netflix productions. If they´re not ADRing almost everything, then their location sound crews and post audio guys are basically a guild of magicians. :astonished:

Well I don’t know how much ADR they’re doing, but I would pin medals on location crews today. Most do astounding jobs because there are budgets for them. Also, the tools are so much better today than when I started in the mid eighties. A good capture today leaves only minor noise reduction and leveling as the only work before dialogue editing and mixing.

The only thing that is ADR-ed ina movie is the stuff that is “unusable”.
Wind machines, generators, airplanes, problems with location sound, wrong wording, intelligibility, etc …
No one will go into ADR just to make it sound better. There is simply no money and time for it.


And a lot of actors hate it… and will thus not perform that well…

And actors especially hate to do cuss word covers. Most phone it in and can’t wait to get the hell out of there. I don’t blame them one bit. Got down and sat on a bench.

Then… all things considered, would you guys say the ADR engine should not be used as a big selling point for Nuendo?

What about the multilingual voice overs? Movies need to get translated, don´t they?

The ADR feature would be a great tool for that, wouldnt it?

I think the ADR functionality in Nuendo seems great. If the studios I worked in used Nuendo I’d use it for ADR the few times I record it. Awesome selling point. There are actually a ton of great features in Nuendo that are suitable to market it…

We do a good amount of dubbing and post-sync, and the ADR functionality helps us to speed up the process significantly.
I am a big fan of it.


Thanks you guys!
I´m in latin america trying to spread the Nuendo love, but most people are protools users, so I´m the minority!

All of A Fistful of Dollars, was completed via ADR Also, any animated movie, will be competed via ADR. It is a commonly employed process