Dear All,

Don't mind me if I ask another silly question, and it is this:

Say you're working on a movie and your main character does a lot of breathing and exhales etc.

Your production dialogue is useless - lots of noise to capture intimate breaths, like the Saving Private Ryan beach scene.

Your actor doesn't have anymore ADR time in the budget, or something happens where you can't record anymore ADR with that actor. I would definitely make sure beforehand that I got enough coverage in whatever ADR session the actor does in terms of FX, but let's say something happens and you don't have access to the actor and don't have the breaths you need.

Would you be so bold as to record yourself or another actor for the character's breath?

I guess you would have to clear it through the Sound Supervisor, Director and Producer, but let's say your main character needed more breaths that you don't have. What would you do or what have you done in the past to handle this type of situation if it has come up?


  • Ryan

6 Answers 6


It's quite common to have a group person come in to ADR and perform efforts/breaths/etc for actors in lead roles, due to either budget constraints (too expensive to have those folks stick around) or because the A-list actors choose not to do it.

  • @Jay Thanks for the rapid answer. Would you go so far as to look for a voice double (similar voice to the actor he'll be doing) for the grunts that use the vocal chords?
    – Utopia
    Commented Sep 29, 2010 at 23:55
  • @Ryan, depends on efforts, I suppose. Breaths and stuff are pretty versatile, can fit many applications. More vocal-heavy efforts like grunts and moans would either come from the actor or from a sound-alike actor. Commented Sep 29, 2010 at 23:59
  • @Jay Thanks for the answers. I've met a couple voice-doublers here and there. Interesting gig. Thanks again.
    – Utopia
    Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 0:14

I actually had an instance where I had to replace two words of an actors performance with my own voice (due to a phone msg tone going off in the background and there was no time to get the actor in to record).

It took a while to mimic his voice properly but in the end no-one even noticed. Including the actor!

  • Nice! Great story.
    – Utopia
    Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 1:21

I end up doing a lot of breaths and gasps in foley sessions due to budget constraints or poorly directed ADR sessions. I find that it helps me discover even more ideas by just using my mouth. In a recent animation with dogs, they couldn't find a dog to growl properly with the right aggression so I did it and the director didn't know. It is the inner canine in me possibly.

  • I can vouch for his great dog vocalizations! Commented Sep 30, 2010 at 10:10

I just had to do that on Monday. The girl did not vocalize her fear at all, so I got the director in to do some gasps and breaths and I slotted it in. It made a world of difference to the scene. This was on a very small team - low budget production, so was easy to just do it.


Yup. I do this all the time as well. I'm wondering though, when splitting out tracks for M&E would you put these breaths onto the dialogue track to be re-dubbed or on SFX tracks?


I think it would be cool if he/she were breathing fire/ice you know...it all depends on the context..Id say breaths from someone else would work though or check the alternates.

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