Audio dubbing –
Basics and Tips

Dubbing sound has an important role in video production. This is true for both elaborate film projects as well as for your own, homemade videos. After all, disruptive background noise and fluctuations in volume can occur during any film recording. In many cases, however, the original recording simply does not sound authentic or concise enough for the audience. In the following, we describe a number of tips and tricks for the dubbing videos.

Dubbing video at home

Dubbing video at home

If you want to add sound to your video, the first thing you need is video software that allows you to precisely match image and sound. Most software solutions in this field offer a range of features for audio editing. In Movie Edit Pro Plus, for example, in addition to comprehensive 5.1 surround editing, there are also simple 1-click features for removing background noise.

Dubbing video in a studio

Dubbing video in a studio

For professional dubbing in the film industry, there is often an entire team of sound designers and Foley artists. By using all kinds of props and recording techniques, they create specific noises or sounds that combine to affect the audience's acoustic and visual perception. The "Foley Artist" mimics sounds that are to be dubbed later into the movie.

For example, cellophane foil can be used to imitate the crackling of a campfire, peas on an aluminum sheet can be made to sound like rain, and a glove fitted with paper clips can be used to produce the "patter" of a dog's paws on hard ground. The sky's the limit for creativity in this regard. Of course, everything is usually recorded with high-end studio equipment. But even with equipment which isn't that good, you can still achieve remarkable results with the help of our tips. All you need is a little creativity – and the right software.

Hollywood-like Audio Dubbing –
Set videos to music

The right atmosphere

Naturally, a song should match the scene and the sentiment of the film emotionally. As a rule of thumb, "the more emotional the scene is, the slower the music should be".

You should make sure that the cuts in the video match the basic tempo of the music and changes in line with the song. In other words, these two elements should never be regarded separately from each other. After all, working with dramatic tension and the accompanying changes in tempo is what makes a good video.

Here are a few tips and examples for the perfect audio:

  • Quick scene changes: Techno, dubstep, indie-rock
  • Emotional scenes (e.g., wedding videos): Songs with strings, violins, violas, piano
  • Action: Distorted electric guitars, fast rock music, trap beats, hip hop
  • Recordings from the 80s: Synthesizer-heavy songs, 808 drums
  • Recordings from the 70s: Funk and soul music
  • Vacations in the south: Fast flamenco rhythms, percussion, acoustic guitars

Our tip: Software solutions, such as Fastcut, edit videos automatically to the beat of the music. This is extremely convenient when you need to get things done quickly.

Get goose bumps: Chattering geese

Dubbing videos with sounds is much more complicated – but can also be a lot of fun. There are pre-produced sound effect collections for this purpose, such as the MAGIX sound effects archive. Alternatively, you can record sounds yourself.

No matter which way you go: Timing is crucial! When a sound and the associated picture are out of sync, you''ll quickly notice it. That's why it is especially important to play the scene back several times in a row and experiment with different positions for the audio clip in the timeline. Sometimes even shifting it by milliseconds will produce the desired result.

If you only want to set background music in video material, you should make sure that the songs you use are GEMA and royalty free.

If you only want to set background music in video material, you should make sure that the songs you use are GEMA and royalty free. This is especially important for videos that will be published for example on the internet, TV or cinema or will be shown in front of an audience.

It is therefore recommendable to find out right from the start which songs and sound effects you are allowed to use. These may be specialized professional music and sound effects for video production, for which licenses frequently include a release.

Dubbing video with commentary

Using microphones for audio dubbing

Most camcorders are equipped with at least one microphone these days. However, these are not necessarily high-quality ones. Often, these microphones are just good enough to capture the ambient sound for atmosphere. As soon as it is a matter of recording voice for videos, however, the harsh hissing or pop sounds become disturbing. That's why we recommend using a proper microphone in a quiet location from the outset.

Condenser microphone for

Condenser microphones are often superior to dynamic microphones in terms of sound quality. This is usually due to a more linear frequency response and higher impulse fidelity. On the other hand, they are also less robust in general and not really suitable for use on the road. For recording speech, however, quality takes precedence over robustness to ensure that the voice is clear and intelligible. Furthermore, the condenser microphone is said to generate less background noise. If you really want to bring quality to your recordings, you should consult a dealer for specialized advice on using microphones.

The three most important factors for a recording are:

  1. the distance of the speaker to the microphone,
  2. the level of the input signal during recording and
  3. the volume of the speaker's voice.

Start with a test recording and experiment using different variations of these three factors. Once you have found the right position for the speaker, mark the spot with tape. Also note the recording level.

This will ensure more consistency in voice recordings with breaks. A good place to start for finding the perfect distance between the speaker and the microphone is about 20cm. You can easily estimate this distance with your hands. Spread your little finger as far as possible from your thumb and hold your finger against the microphone or pop guard and your thumb against your chin. From here, you can adjust the distance in small increments.The audio recording's volume can be adjusted or edited afterwards in Movie Edit Pro Plus to match the video footage exactly. If the voiceover recording has any minor flaws, you can then correct them using various audio effects.

Remove sound from video – but how?
How to remove the most common sources of background noise

How to remove the most common sources of background noise

Removing sibilance and pop sounds

Recommended effect: DeEsser. With a DeEsser (or De-"S"-er), you can reduce harsh sibilant and ess sounds or "pops" when saying words with "P". The advantage with dubbing video is that the voice can retain its natural, warm sound with the right editing.

Reducing background noise

Recommended effect: Gate. A "Gate" only allows certain signals you have specified to pass through a "noise gate". This means that you can apply this effect in such a way that the distractive background noises are no longer "transmitted".

If you have a particular interest in optimizing video sound, you may want to take a closer look at Video Sound Cleaning Lab.

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