So, what is looping exactly?
Looping is adding background voices and dialogue in movies, TV, video games, commercials and animation. It’s what you call Group ADR or Additional Dialogue Recording.
It’s required when the original vocal audio needs to be fixed or vocal audio needs to be added, be it dialogue (dubbing), efforts (sounds of fighting, kissing, heavy breathing, for example), walla (crowd sounds, etc), and much much more. ADR is also useful when a character’s intent needs to be changed. A looper can change the emotion behind a character simply by changing the words or phrasing originally recorded.
Sometimes the original performers in the film or project do the ADR / looping. Many times a loop group is hired, to cover all ADR and looping issues.
A loop group is an ensemble of voice actors that come to the studio to record together all the background voices in an ADR session. It’s a lot of improvisation. However, it can be very specific depending on what that extra looks like they are saying. This can be a tricky process, one we obviously love!
If a loop group is required, the loop group leader(s) will work with the post production supervisor (or director) to spot/cue what is needed, and they will then cast their loop group according to the ADR and looping requirements for that production.
It’s a part of the post production process, and while it can take a lot of time and energy, it can also be a great deal of fun! It’s extremely rewarding, as it truly helps bring a project to life, makes a scene real, helps complete a picture and tell the story intended.
Having a cohesive and well lead loop group can dramatically bring to life the world you are creating. Bringing the loopers all together in the studio creates a natural chatter that is very authentic and realistic to the scene.
Movies have background actors called “extras”. Extras don’t speak unless featured. They simply move their mouths pretending to speak. Sometimes they mouth specific words but with no sound.
The scene – Two principle actors are sitting in a coffee shop having a conversation. They are surrounded by background extras pretending to have real conversations as coffee shop patrons. That background coffee chatter is where we come in. It will require “walla” to fill in the background sound. We’re the loop group that will come in to fix that audio, bring that scene to life.
Say the scene is set in a busy airport with people walking, gesturing, standing in lines or doing whatever people do in airports. The loopers will do the same. They may move around while improvising lines or give a voice with the same physical gestures they see on screen. A well trained voice actor will perform breath sounds, or “efforts”, to someone running. You could also have a group of only 5 voice actors looping a scene at Disneyland and make it sound like 100’s of happy vacationers. Amaaaaazing, right?!
Loopgroups have been a bit of a secret in the “industry” for a long time. We aren’t sure why, as they are an integral part of the post production process. They are hugely important, and we believe they should be accessible to studios large and small.
We, at LoopTown, find the whole process exciting, fun and take it quite seriously. We’re passionate about the projects we work on, are incredibly proud of our LoopTown talent, and if your project could benefit from some quality looping/ADR, drop us a line! We’d love to help out.