Just to elaborate on the above post:
In Hollywood, people use the terms 'ADR', 'Looping', and 'Walla' somewhat interchangeably, with maybe ADR being the umbrella term.
This isn't incorrect per se - but for the actors, session runners, engineers and post-production people that work in the post-voice/dialogue world (I'm speaking specifically about Los Angeles here), those terms actually mean different things.
Also known as 'Additional Dialogue Recording' as well as 'Automated Dialogue Recording', ADR means the actor goes into the sound booth to replace their OWN voice in a Live Action movie or TV show where they themselves were the on-camera actor. ADR means they have been asked to replace and/or expand on their original dialogue for technical, performance or story reasons.
Just to understand the nuance of the various types of ADR, here’s what the other terms refer to in post-production:
In Animation, if one of the actors who VOICED a character in the film or animated show comes in to replace your their OWN voice, or clean something up, or add additional dialogue - those are called ‘Pickups'. As in, on King of the Hill you would here the session runner say, “Oh, Stephen Root is coming in to do some pickups today”.
When an actor or a post person says “We have a Looping session on Thursday", that means (usually) a group of actors know as a ‘Loop Group’ will be adding all of the BACKGROUND voices to a film or TV show.
Wait, what are ‘background voices’ you ask? When Robert De Niro and Al Pacino’s characters are sitting during their famous restaurant scene in “Heat”, there are 50 other people (background actors) also in the restaurant eating, walking around, serving customers, clearing tables, etc - it’s the Loop Group actors that will go in and lay down ALL of those voices - accounting for everyone you see on screen, and also everyone you do not, but know are there.
Looping sets tone for scenes - consider how diverse the tone from a corporate office where people might be speaking in hushed tones versus a rodeo is. Loop Group actors provide the background voices in any scene where background actors are present, and making some sort of audible, verbal noise. This includes coughing, breathing, sneezing and so on.
But sometimes in Looping sessions, Loop Group actors will also replace the original on-camera actors as well - sometimes because the director wants to change the tone of a scene, or maybe the quality of a particular performance. A friend of mine (who does a ton of Looping) was working on a film and there was an on-camera performance the director wasn’t happy with - so he replaced actor’s voice by ADRing the actor's original scripted lines, but now with the addition of an Austrian accent and a change in tone (by adding comedy to the line).
Walla is the term that itself is a niche-within-the-niche of post-production voice. It’s only used to describe the work on specific animated TV shows that instead of using Loop Groups to add background voices (Loop Groups by their nature have a rotating set of actors depending on what’s needed for each session), the animated show (usually) uses the same set of actors for each episode. And they are almost never replacing principal character voices, but just adding voices for all of the on-screen background animated characters. As an aside, sometimes Walla actors speak in gibberish due to the internationality of many shows, because often background voices poke thru in the final mix.
Dubbing is something different and very specific altogether. Dubbing is the term used when the ORIGINAL language of a film or TV show is replaced with a different language - like when an American film is dubbed from English into Portuguese, for example, by using new actors who are native speakers of the language being added to the TV show or movie.
(Disclaimer on posting this: I did 10 seasons of Walla on King of the Hill (as well as other animated shows), have worked in Loop Groups and done a ton of ADR during my acting career, as all actors do.)
I for one would like to say THANK YOU for articles like this and many others covering all aspects of the business.
Covering articles like this, for example was great for me because, first, it was my intention to see "Booksmart", but hadn't yet, so this was a good reminder.
Second, reading an article like this helps distill what scripts & projects decision-makers in LA place value on.
And third, because I didn't even realize that smaller filmmakers where Nolan-style backend deals, so you, that's GREAT to know as well.
I'm actually LESS interested in the DIY, lower-budget filmmaker articles on here. But this is not me voicing an opinion for less of them, it seems like posting diverse articles in addition to Indie stuff is only an added bonus. And that fact that you do post content related to all-things-Hollywood is what keeps me circling your site daily.
In short, great job on EVERYTHING. Please keep articles like this coming : )