Hi all,

We recently had to overdub a scene because field recording wasn't an option. All the lines for the scene have been completed in a quiet room, so the sound is quite clean and dry.

However, the scene in question takes place outdoors, and when these overdubbed audio files are applied to the video, it doesn't sound real. It sounds exactly like an overdub... fake!

As I understand it, there are a wide array of post processing techniques that can be utilized and a few parameters that can be tweaked. I have a short list here:

  1. EQ
  2. Reverb
  3. Compression

I'm fairly certain that this is not a complete list. What else could I be missing?

Note: I am currently using Adobe Premiere CS 5.5


5 Answers 5


All you need to make it work when it comes to procesing, provided you actually recorded it in a completely dead room, is reverb and EQ. Then it's all up to the ambiance to seal the deal.

One of the things most notorious for screwing up the illusion of being outdoors is resonances in the bass and lower mid. You said you recorded it in a room, and not a studio, and if that is the case then you probably have a lot of that.


A very wise man once stated the 3P's of ADR... Pitch, Performance, and Placement - in that order. You may be having trouble with your ADR because of the first two. If the talent isn't properly directed to get the right performance in the overdub, then no manner of EQ, Reverb or anything else will really make it work... it will always stand out.

In this case, people outside tend to talk much louder and at a higher pitch than they would inside - usually because of the outside noise. If they recorded inside, and they weren't properly coached, then they probably talked quieter and lower in pitch. If the lines are really being difficult, even with (as others have mentioned) proper BG's in place, then if at all possible try re-recording them, but having them project more. A neat trick I've done is to feed loud BG's into the performers headphones, so they have to speak louder to hear themselves. Does wonders when ADR'ing stuff done in loud traffic or crowds.

On the flip side, well performed ADR does an amazing job of fitting in, even when the mic and room are completely unmatched to production. I once had to track a quick and dirty ADR in a small booth, with a large diaphragm mic, but got a great performance. To this day I still can't actually TELL it's an ADR line in the final mix.

  • -- brilliant! -- Aug 2, 2012 at 18:23
  • I was hoping someone would mention performance! If your actors aren't top tier, then you really need to work on it to get decent ADR. I think every ADR recordist should learn how to coach talent to deliver appropriately, just in case. Aug 2, 2012 at 18:30

Did you put an outdoor ambiance track in? Where does it take place? Is the wind blowing? What do you see in the background?


I always try to piece together multiple ambience tracks to create an effective illusion that the characters are outside. This seems useful if you didn't record a wild track on that particular day. Rod is right in asking you to pay attention to sounds in the background. If there isn't anything particularly interesting use sounds that are off screen e.g. if there is a scene set on the beach and nothing is seen on camera add seagulls, boats, people talking. Hope this helps.


I would also use just a little bit of reverb and eq to try to mix it into the ambiance. The ambiance of course should fit to what you are seeing in the picture. If you are really in a rush rerecord it outside ;-)

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