While watching a scene in Westworld where two characters are talking in a windy field it struck me that their quiet voices were perfectly audible with no wind noise, no rustling from the nearby trees or grass, nothing but their speech.

How is this recorded? The shot was too wide for a boom mic although it's possible they removed it in post, I suppose. A hidden mic perhaps but it seems like it would have been hard to remove all the other sounds, and other shows have done similar things with characters walking around busy cities and the like.

Is it dubbed in later? The lip sync seems perfect.

4 Answers 4


Usually with ADR

Automated Dialog Replacement (ADR) is the process of re-recording dialogue by the original actor (or a replacement actor) after the filming process to improve audio quality or reflect dialogue changes (also known as "looping" or a "looping session").[8][9] In India the process is simply known as "dubbing", while in the UK, it is also called "post-synchronisation" or "post-sync". The insertion of voice actor performances for animation, such as computer generated imagery or animated cartoons, is often referred to as ADR although it generally does not replace existing dialogue.

The ADR process may be used to:

  • remove extraneous sounds such as production equipment noise, traffic, wind, or other undesirable sounds from the environment


  • 16
    The original take will have been done with lav [tie] mics, under a collar or similar. The re-recording sync is then done with something like VocAlign Pro (which as been around since the 90s) or these days its big brother ReVoice Pro.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 11:39
  • 4
    Because the microphone picks up many things we tune out, good productions will record the sound of every room, with all the same objects present, and the actors standing silently: "room tone". Then they will use that as a backing track under the ADR so it sounds indistinguishable from any original sound or dialogue. If you've ever watched a movie where the background noise noticeably changes with each cut or line of dialogue, they did not make use of room tone. Living in Oblivion features a room tone scene and a very long 30 seconds.
    – Schwern
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 21:36
  • 1
    Alternatively or additionally, use of convolution reverbs to generate a cohesive & reproducible room or even outdoor reverb/ambience, which these days can even be calculated just from the sound from the clapper board, at a push - audioease.com/altiverb/sampling.php
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 7, 2020 at 6:35

In the movie Crazy Stupid Love (2011), according to #5 in this Buzzfeed article, Ryan Gosling had to speak loudly in bar scenes as if he was speaking above the noise, even though the set was quiet.

So, while Paulie_D is probably right in most cases, and in your question's case especially, in other cases they add in the ambient sound later. I only add this answer because your title was a little ambiguous, so it's relevant for other types of noisy scenes.

  • 11
    They're always fun scenes to shoot; everybody yelling at each other in an otherwise perfectly silent room.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 12:20
  • 4
    @Tetsujin The bloopers reel of Ten Things I Hate About You has a great example of this, with everyone dancing silently at the prom: youtu.be/luGbwOLItNk?t=78
    – ceejayoz
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 21:06

It’s added later. It’s the job of an actor to do what’s not always ‘obvious’. There are so many scenes that are noisy and loud, like at a club for example, but if you were there or even watched the “B-roll” you’ll hear how empty it sounds. You could hear a pin drop.


As stated above, ADR is used a lot in big productions.

Wireless body mics hidden in the actors' clothing are capable of capturing the actor's voice while picking up only a tiny bit of the background noise. They are typically highly directional and placed very close to the mouth, so the ratio of the voice level to the background level can be tremendous, making it easier to reduce or eliminate in post production. For wind in particular, physical wind screens (even on tiny lapel mics) and a little post-processing can go a long way to attenuating the volume.

I don't know if it's routinely used in film and TV production, but it's possible to "subtract" much of the background noise if you have multiple recordings of the same scene. For example, independent recordings of Dolores and Maeve's mics will contain nearly identical background noise but be very distinct when one or the other is speaking. Digital signal processing can recognize the commonality those recordings to essentially reconstruct the background noise isolated from the voice audio. That reconstructed noise can then be subtracted out. (The old Nexus One phone had a back-facing microphone to capture ambient noise that was subtracted from the audio captured by the front in order to provide a clearer audio signal.)

When the Today show folks go out into the plaza, it's done live (maybe with a small delay). There's no chance for ADR. If you've ever been there in person, you know the crowd noise can be tremendous. Standing 15-20 feet from the presenters, you cannot hear them (at all!) over the din of crowd. Yet their mics register the crowd noise at far lower levels than that of the presenters' voices. The noise is so low, in fact, that the sound engineers have extra microphones to capture the ambient sound so they can mix the crowd noise back in to make the broadcast audio feel realistic.

  • News stations typically operate on a 15 second or so delay so they can cut to the studio if something horrible happens.
    – JustinCB
    Commented May 8, 2020 at 13:22
  • @JustinCB: Yes, that's why I wrote "(maybe with a small delay)." Commented May 8, 2020 at 20:33

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