How does ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) work? There's an entry in Wikipedia that says what it is (essentially actors dubbing their lines in post production, sometimes requiring several takes) but I don't see what's "automatic" about it. It doesn't seem to work all that well because I can almost always tell when it has been used.

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    The term "automated" is not really appropriate for the actual action, to be honest. I'm guessing there's a historic reason for it but the process is far from automated.
    – Catija
    May 28, 2015 at 20:00
  • 'Automated' is not equivalent to 'automatic'. 'Automated' indicates some processing took place to superimpose the newly-recorded words. There is some (little) expectation that it is seamless and undetectable. Maybe the detection you have is because TOO MUCH play was afforded the section making it seem too processed in the midst of the natural scene.
    – wbogacz
    May 28, 2015 at 20:34
  • I can also tell when ADR has been used in many cases, even when the quality and the budget of the movie is impressive and I'm disappointed. Not sure why it's called "automated" though. May 28, 2015 at 20:39
  • I want to point out that much of the movie Twister (with Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton) was ADR, but I couldn't tell. I do notice it in some other movies and shows though. And like everyone else commenting on this, I don't know where the "automated" part of it comes from. May 28, 2015 at 20:42
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    Is "automated" even the correct word? I also see "Additional Dialogue Recording" as an explanation, which makes more sense.
    – BCdotWEB
    Sep 25, 2015 at 7:57

1 Answer 1


I would be hugely surprised if you can actually always tell when ADR has been used - your point re a computer automatically cutting & shuffling time is precisely how modern ADR is done, using a new recording of the actor talking over his old lines - then chopped & shuffled in such a way that it is literally impossible to tell that the lip sync is not 'real'

In that situation, the only giveaway would be if the sound department failed to successfully drop the new audio nicely into the foley track - if they got the room reverb wrong, etc - highly unlikely on a high budget production.

Examples of software to specifically do this task
* VocAlign Pro [This is the one I used to use, 20 years ago - things have moved on since, but the page has audio/video demos so you can see how the process works]
* ADRStudio
* VirtualVTR
* VoiceQ

There are also some seriously expensive hardware solutions, from people like SoundMaster

BTW, just because automated & automatic are almost synonymous does not mean they are actually exactly the same thing.
The process may be automated [processed by machine], but it is not automatic [done with no human intervention].

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