What is dubbing? And how is it different from voice-over? Let’s not forget that our cinema industry today owes a lot of things to the long development of the history. As a form of international type of entertainment, the movies are possibly distributed to large areas of the world because of the supporting features. Some of them may include dubbing.
Let’s say that a French movie is being distributed to America. There are several ways for the movie distributor to make sure that the (French) movie has a positive welcome. First, they can always use the subtitle. Second, they can dub the movie. People have different preferences when it comes to enjoying their favorite movies. The majority may prefer the subtitles, but some are more comfortable with the dubbing. Some people like to ‘listen to’ the conversation or dialog in their own native language.
Nowadays, dubbing isn’t only used by big-scale movie studios. Dubbing is pretty popular among anime lovers. If you are one of them, you know what I’m talking about. Japanese anime movies are coming various interesting themes and subjects. Those who don’t know Japanese can understand the movies well with the dubbed feature – and they can enjoy those (anime) movies more. Moreover, with the increasing popularity of social media, more and more people post various contents with dubbed features. It’s easy nowadays to make (or choose) your favorite videos and then dub them. But before you are interested in doing those things, it would be better to learn more about dubbing and its difference with a voice-over.
Understanding Dubbing Concept
What is dubbing? It is an art about replacing the original dialogue (usually in a movie) with localized or native recordings. It is a part of the post-production process, where the original (audio) recording is replaced with different language. This is then mixed together and ‘blended’ well with the original media’s audio so it would have natural sound. The idea is to make the language (on the movie) seems genuine as close as possible. When you watch a dubbed movie, there is a sense of naturalism in it, as if the language were a part of the movie from the beginning.
Dubbing vs Voice-Over
Dubbing is often referred as audio dubbing whereas voice-over is referred as voice dubbing. Although both of them may seem similar, they are quite different in nature. They share similar function in terms that both of the process needs special techniques to interpret the message to the (new) audience. But voice-over is often regarded as a technique that doesn’t have enough tonality and emotion, while dubbing is considered more precise.
The audience can notice the voice-over while they won’t notice the dubbing. If you are still confuse, think of it this way: If you have watched Discovery Channel or National Geographic, that’s the idea of how voice-over works. But if you have watched an anime, that’s how the dubbed technology works. Experts say that dubbing is somewhat more adaptable and creative to new audiences, meanwhile the voice-over is more strict and loyal to the original (source) content.
It is pretty common and normal for dubbing work to hide the translation evidence. It is designed that way to make the foreign content look native to the audience. That’s why it is called Language Replacement. Dubbing needs skilled expertise and the process itself is pretty complicated and lengthy. Since audience shouldn’t notice the result, everything should go smoothly and it should blends well.
On the other hand, it doesn’t matter if audience can spot the voice-over. The technology is supposed to be visible and obvious – like I said, the most obvious example is Discovery Channel or National Geographic. You need someone to ‘narrate’ the contents.
The Dubbing Process
As it was mentioned before, dubbing is actually a complicated and not-so-easy process. It is more tedious than most people think. It’s not just about ‘talking’ over the microphone and following the script. You need to include emotion and the audience should be able to feel the atmosphere portrayed on the screen. It is crucial to work with professionals to make sure that the process would go smoothly and the final result would be satisfying. Now that you already understand what is dubbing, it would be wise to understand the stages and the process.
Now that you already understand what is dubbing, you need to know that there are general crucial steps to do the work:
- Script creation. Because the script has to be translated to the native language, you need to create the script. But this should be done carefully. You see, dubbing is mostly about timing. The purpose isn’t only to translate the overall dialog, but to match the dialog with the right timing. It’s crucial to have an experience and professional translator who will be responsible for the translation as well as the timing.
- Talent choice. If you want the project to be successful, choosing the right talent would be important. Professional talents know what they must do. For big movie studios, they may not have any problem with the budgets and hiring the right service. But if you want to create your own projects or contents, at least you need to make sure that you choose the right one. Don’t be too surprised if there are special dubbing artistwith impressive professionalism
- Dialog record. After you have understood the concept of what is dubbing, recording the dialog would be the next stage. This is the stage where things may be quite technical. If you do it in a studio (which is usually provided by the dubbing company), then you may have to deal with sophisticated and big equipments and machines. But if you do it your own for your own projects, you need to have the right microphone and software. And you still need to do the editing, which is another technical aspect that you must consider.
- Tracks layering. After you have written the script, hire the talent, and finish the record, now is the final stage. It involves new dialog (tracks) layering and blends it to the film or contents. Again, the one who can do this is usually a professional with sufficient expertise, skills, and experience.
Dubbing for Professionals
Professional dubbing artists are professionals, despite how people often look down on them. They have tips to help beginner familiarize themselves with the job. For those who are hired for professional purposes (for movie dubbing or TV series), they need to watch the (original and true) material. See how the original casts do it – so they can imagine the scene and carry the footprints to their interpretation.
But for the ‘fun’ contents – as such the contents for social media (like Youtube or Instagram) – you need to imagine how the result outcome should be. If you have your own personal dubbing video projects, what do you want it to be? Funny? Entertaining? Serious? And only then you can set up the tone and the effect.
Dubbing in Today’s Technology
What is dubbing? Is it promising? These days, dubbing isn’t only exclusive to big screen movies, but also to personal contents, especially for social media. If you have observed today’s situation, social media is flooded with contents – and many of them involve dubbing efforts and work.
If you want to start your career in the big-scale industry, you can always browse around and check some reliable names in the dubbing industry. The easiest way is to check some anime dubbing companies – they can use of some new talents. But if you want to make your own projects, it won’t be about the dubbing only but it is more about the contents. It gives you more flexibility in managing your professional and future career.
The Right Dubbing Tool
It’s a good thing that we live in the era of technology. Dubbing technologies today don’t belong to big movie studios or professional companies only. It is possible that today’s vloggers or Youtubers are making use of dubbing technologies to make interesting, creative, and funny contents. There are many dubbing tool and software that you can use to create visually-appealing and engagingly-attractive contents.
Know that you already understand what is dubbing and the detailed aspects of the work, you can start it yourself. Feel free to try some dubbing tools – for the sake of fun and exploration. Some are free, but some are paid ones. Some are even available for paid services, but they do offer free trial period. The options are pretty limitless. There is Adobe Audition that is a paid service. But it offers free trial period. And as a paid service, you can expect premium features. Magix is a free service for PC. Even the free package will give you quite enough impressive performance. But if you want to enjoy the premium services, you need to access Magix Pro. n-Track is another paid service. This is often used by both beginners and professionals. ApowerSoft Video Editor is free software for recording as well as dubbing. It offers greater flexibility for the users.
As you can see, dubbing is basically a complicated and professional business that you mustn’t underestimate or take for granted. It takes hard work and patience. But technology has made it possible for you to do it on your own without involving expensive or complicated technology. Now that you understand what is dubbing and what elements are needed, you can determine whether it is the right business for you or not.