Hi guys,

Ok, so I'm working on a short film. Very little dialogue was scripted for the piece, but as the actors got more and more into character they started improvising and adding little side-snippets of dialogue (phone conversations etc), and the director let them.

My dialemma is that as it was completely unscripted, these guys weren't mic'd properly. Now it happens that the producer/editor has decided to use the some shots where one of these guys is in the front of the shot, talking on his phone. The actor isn't available for ADR, and I have no clue what he was saying (as it was improvised) so am finding it difficult to replace myself. It wasn't captured well on any of the production audio (camera or boom). It's otherwise a quiet scene, so the viewer would hear the conversation, or at least snippets of it...

What would you do in this situation? I was thinking of trying to record mumbled conversations myself, but again am having difficulty with it sounding authentic.

Any advice would be appreciated!!


3 Answers 3


Oh man, bad move on the sound recordists part and even worse move from the producer to use those sections! Obviously not your fault at all so I'd say explain the situation to the director/producer and let them decide what they want to do

  • @Joseph Thanks for the suggestion. I had a word with the producer and turns out it was actually partially mimed which is why nothing was picked up on production sound. Wouldn't have been anyway, as the guy wasn't mic'd as he didn't have lines. Think I'm going to have to do some jiggery-pokery with odd bits of recordings!
    – Skarik
    Jul 10, 2013 at 7:13

What Joseph said. I think your best option would be to suggest playing the scene with music and no other sound, or maybe sound really low so only the loudest things pop through and it makes sense you can't hear the talking. Your next option would be to lip read or get someone who can lip read and have another actor overdub the lines.

I was in a similar situation once where the director and producer originally planned for a scene to be all music and shot it MOS and then later decided they wanted sound. Actor not available, hard to figure out what they said, hard to match other actors voice with the way the original actor looked etc. Same sitch. Great examples of why no one should never ever shoot MOS.

  • @Brendan Thanks for your reply! There's no way we can have the scene with just music I'm afraid. I'm gonna have a play around with which sound I do have, and consider having it rather low, like you've suggested.
    – Skarik
    Jul 10, 2013 at 7:17

Just thought I'd add the outcome: I've ended up plugging the gap with some snippets of the actors ad-libbing from other takes. Works fairly well, time-wise, and you'd only notice the lip-sync issues if you were really looking. It is only about a second long though so doesn't look too bad. Best that could be done in these circumstances with the timeframe I have!

Thanks for the suggestions guys.

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