Using Revoice Pro For Perfect Sync In Just A Few Clicks - Dialog Editor Steve Bucino Tells Us How
Sound supervisor and ADR/dialog editor Steve Bucino (X-Men, Divergent, Rise of the Guardians, Madagascar 3, Dora The Explorer, Life In Pieces and Speechless) talks about how he uses Revoice Pro to edit wild lines, sync dialog, pitch-map ADR and swap production alt takes.
Steve Bucino is a supervising sound editor and re-recording mixer for primetime television series' and independent feature films. Coming from a background in music production, Steve went to the University of New Haven, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Music and Sound Recording. After graduation, he pursued music recording and mixing for several years before transitioning into post production in New York City, working for various mid-size and boutique audio facilities.
“At the studios I worked for, you needed to be able to handle anything that came through the door. One day you could be sound designing and mixing a commercial campaign and the next, cutting dialog for an independent feature or documentary. A lot of my early experience came from recording dialog and ADR for animation, which ultimately led to recording ADR for live action tv shows and features as well.“
Dialog recording and editing have always been a major part of Steve’s career; which is why as a supervisor, he feels very much at home in ADR sessions with actors.
"If you can correct a lot of the problems at the recording phase, you save yourself a lot of time on the back-end. In the TV world, saving time is a valuable technique!”
“I’ve spent so much time doing ADR recording and dialog editing that now as a supervisor, I know what kind of technical pitfalls to look out for. If you can correct a lot of the problems at the recording phase, you save yourself a lot of time on the back-end. In the TV world, saving time is a valuable technique!”
So it’s hardly surprising that throughout his career, he’s had to deal with the full spectrum of ADR-related challenges.
“Supervising the 20th Century Fox show ‘Life In Pieces’, ’Speechless' and several others, some of the productions adopted the workflow of shooting ADR on set rather than bringing the actors into a traditional ADR session. Once I spotted each week’s show, I would type up my cue sheets and send them to the production team. At that point, it is pretty much out of my hands. The production team takes a cue for every actor and renders a short QuickTime clip of that scene for them. Then, when the actor has a few moments of down time before the whole production wraps up, they are pulled to the side of the set to record their lines. This means they are basically watching a QuickTime clip on a laptop of their scene, then recording their lines wild on set.
This process is often really great for matching the ADR sonically, but not ideal for sync. While most of the actors are fantastic at hearing their lines and mimicking them, inevitably sync drifts after a few takes. Or if there are actual line changes, there may be sections that are on camera, then off, then back on, so timing needs to really match. Furthermore, if the ADR is happening at the end of the day, the entire crew is standing around in silence waiting for the recording to finish so that they can go home. This added pressure often leads to a minimal amount of takes and as you can imagine, an overall sense of needing to rush the process.”
"I rarely switch over to the Revoice Pro window when working on TV projects because I need to move quickly, so the Quick APT is a real game changer for me. There are a lot of lines that get alt’d out from the original cut in order to fix a technical issue, so Revoice Pro makes swapping production alt takes a seamless process.”
But does Steve mainly use Revoice Pro for making ADR wild-lines work quickly, or for other purposes as well?
“Once I started supervising two shows, I knew I was going to need to cut down on my ADR editorial time; especially with ‘Speechless’ which is a half hour comedy from 20th Century Fox for ABC. During that half hour, it’s not unusual for us to have 40 – 60 ADR lines. Most of those lines are added lines, line changes or performance variations, and I’ve found that producers often want to hear as many takes and options as possible, so that means preparing almost any useable take for the dub stage. If you have say, 50 ADR cues and multiple takes of each, the editorial side can add up quickly, so I leant heavily on Revoice Pro to keep me on time for both ‘Life In Pieces’ and ‘Speechless’. I needed the ADR to be somewhat close in sync although it’s rarely perfect, so I would do some light editing manually to get the lines as tight as I could with cutting, then I would use the Quick APT process in Pro Tools. This allowed me to get my naturally cut ADR from close sync to perfect sync in just a few clicks. I rarely switch over to the Revoice Pro window when working on TV projects because I need to move quickly, so the Quick APT is a real game changer for me. Not having to switch applications and knowing that the audio is going to make its round-trip workflow and come back with tight sync that sounds natural, saves me many hours of editing and flipping between workstation windows.”
He shines some light on how he used Revoice Pro to edit the dialog and ADR for the hugely popular ‘Life In Pieces’ sitcom.
“They shot ADR on set, so we really only wanted to burden the production with lines that were absolutely necessary. This meant that while I was cueing, I was listening through a lot of the sound dailies to find alternate takes and solve problems rather than tossing it to the ADR cue sheet. There are a lot of lines that get alt’d out from the original cut in order to fix a technical issue, so Revoice Pro makes swapping production alt takes a seamless process. In fact, most of those alts went un-noticed in the mix because they matched so well!"
Revoice Pro's tuning functionality for pitch-mapping ADR has also proved very useful.
"I don’t want to alter the performance at all, but may need an alt take to fix a tech issue like a loud prop over a line, off-screen set noise or microphone problem. In the comedy genre, so many scenes are improvised or loosely blocked, so the performances may change slightly from take to take. With Revoice Pro, I already know that I can do anything with sync, but with the pitch mapping, I know that I can change the inflection of the alt take to match what the producers are used to hearing in their damaged select take. This allows me to fix the issues and have the performance saved; often going unnoticed, even by the producers and editors."
"With Revoice Pro, I already know that I can do anything with sync, but with the pitch mapping, I know that I can change the inflection of the alt take to match what the producers are used to hearing in their damaged select take.”
Finally, after working with such an impressive list of projects over the years, Steve shares his advice with audio professionals just starting out.
“The industry is changing every year, and it’s incredibly difficult to break into this line of work. Over the years, I’ve had several dozens of interns working with me, and the advice I always try to instill in them is to always be working on something; whether it’s for yourself, a friend or a freebie project. If you can always find something to be working on you will always be learning and getting better. This includes watching other people work. There is tremendous value in (quietly) observing someone else edit, record ADR or mix a show or film. I still take away something new every time I’m in an ADR session or a mix. I’m always observing my peers and trying to improve upon my skill set.
Aside from that, don’t feel entitled. Expect to put in the long hours over several years to get your career some momentum. Use that time to absorb every piece of experience you can expose yourself to. This may require working a second job to pay the bills for a few years while you put in your free (or nearly free) time assisting in studios and applying yourself to some type of apprenticeship. I have always seen success in the younger generation of sound editors/mixers that are willing to show up, on time, pay attention and put in the long hours and do the dirty work. When you have a passion for something, you don’t mind the drudgery that can sometimes be associated with it because that’s what it takes to reap the rewards.
And finally, have fun. My wife is an actress, and I always tell her when she’s going into a voice over session, especially for animation work, to have fun. As a dialog and ADR recording engineer, I can say that 100% of the time the best work comes from the people that actually have fun doing it. This can be applied to sound editors as well. Let yourself get lost in making the perfect car pull up, or chase scene, or laser whoosh. Have fun doing what you do and it will never feel like work.”
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