Interviews done in front of beautiful waterfalls...

Wide shots of newscasters with boom mics who want the audience to see all of mount rushmore...

Boom operators who think the back of the mic is the front...

The lady who had to wear her most beautiful but at the same time most jingly earrings, AND that noisy matching bracelet!!!

You've all heard the worst of the worst I'm sure.

Have you ever rejected the recordings?

Do you have the authority to do that? Have you said "No, we can't include this clip because the audio is horrible and I can't salvage it, unless we ADR..."?

5 Answers 5


My experience as a dialogue editor has been that when a project comes in the OMF or conform gets evaluated with the dialogue editor and usually the mixer and post production super or producer. An ADR / Alt search list is generated from this evaluation. To keep things straight I got into the habit of attaching a number to each line - 1 for unusable (broadcast rejection) 2 for borderline (if we can't get the actor in, and there's no ALT, we can make it work but ADR would be better) and 3 to get if they're already in and there's time left.

I've never personally out and out rejected anything, but I've had many a frank conversation that have goone along the lines of "That's in the track, I can't make it much better, I recommend we ADR this" If you're the mixer, you need to have access to your broadcaster's tech specs and be able to tell the client if the audio you have is within those specs.


I think you have a duty to voice your concerns to the producer if it's a small team and you're the only sound guy or Supervising sound editor if you're part of a larger audio team. Because, in the end, it's your name that gets attached to the work. Once you make your case to those involved, it's up to them and their budget to determine how to address it. That's my guess. Perhaps someone has a recent example of this happening.

  • I'm with Malvicus. Speak up & point out the issue. After all, you are the sound professional. But recognize that it's ultimately not your decision to make. Aug 10, 2010 at 13:13

I have recently had a very similar situation, and by explaining the bad quality of the direct sound to the director, he finally understood and asked me for options.

If the producer/director really trust you for the job, and the budget allows, they WILL go the ADR way. If not, you have the right to reject the job in order to save your own reputation.


In TV land most broadcast requirements I've read state that dialogue needs to be clearly audible in the mix and free from things like distortion. So, if I get a take of dialogue that is distorted I immediately fail QC. However with izotopeRX I can save some bother by clearing the distortion. If I really can't fix the issue I'd definitely call it as simply state it's not broadcastable.

Here's the BBC specs...

5.5 General Audio Quality Requirements a) The audio shall be free of spurious signals such as noise, hum and cross-talk.
b) Sibilance and distortion, wow and flutter shall not be apparent. c) The audio shall not show dynamic and frequency response artefacts as a result of the action of noise reduction or low bit rate coding systems. d) Audio compression should be used as little as possible as the effects of compression used for broadcast distribution and transmission can exacerbate impairments.
e) Dynamic range shall not be excessive. It shall be suitable for the whole range of domestic listening. f) Care shall be taken when incorporating background music and effects with dialogue, or people with a hearing impairment and poor listening conditions can find the dialogue difficult to hear. Inaudibility is a common complaint from viewers. Reference to “TV Set Style” speakers, preferably in mono, should be made during the sound mixing process. g) Producers shall follow the Guidelines for a Visually Impaired Audience - Section 8.


I'll agree with Ian... As a mixer, I'm ultimately responsible for ensuring that the project passes whatever QC is necessary (Distributor, broadcaster, etc). If it comes back because I missed something, than my company has to fix it on our dime. If an interview/dialog line is NOT going to pass than I will let the director/producer know the line is not acceptable.

Now sometimes, I get the "It will pass, you're just being difficult/trying to charge us more" speech... which lasts until it comes back from QC and THEY have to pay to have it redone! :) Oddly enough after one or two of those, they listen when I council ADR/Re-record.

Sadly, it seems network QC specs have fallen in the last few years. Stuff that was 100% guaranteed to fail in the past, now seems to fly through - but that's a whole 'nother story!

  • I've noticed that phase errors don't seem to be mentioned much, I wonder if broadcasters assume that even the smallest crap TV will come with Stereo speakers that it's becoming irrelevant? One broadcaster I know of doesn't seem to care about specs at all if some of what I've heard on there is anything to go by.
    – ianjpalmer
    Aug 11, 2010 at 9:40

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