Voice Acting, the Challenge of Dubbing TV Series and Films

Mexico owns a high reputation in the dubbing industry in Latin America. Talented voice actors achieve a neutral accent that is well received in the rest of the LA Countries.

The main difference between voice dubbing and plain commercial voice-overs is that voice acting is a more demanding craftsmanship work, because of the wide range of situations, characters, intentions and emotions within a T.V. series or feature films. Most of voice talents around the world don’t take acting lesions and they don’t need to in order to do a fine job. Reading commercial copy requires basically focusing on rhythm and clear pronunciation.

A lot of voice actors do real acting work or have been in drama school, or studied a related discipline. And yes, like any other industry you find great voice talents ready to deliver a great job with little effort or previous training.

I have had the chance to witness great performances in the past, when gifted voice talents perform at the highest levels.

When we go to the movies, most of us don’t stop and think about the long process of creating a feature film. Filming is a long process that takes months or even years. Usually, an actor gets a copy of an entire script, and has a lot of time to prepare himself before the actual shooting begins.

Before I started doing voice acting, I thought the process for dubbing films will be somewhat relaxed and simple, with enough time to read the script, and maybe discussing the characters with the dubbing director, and of course, enough time to practice. I don’t have to tell you, I was wrong. The only preparation you get is your own previous training and experience. I’ll try to explain the procedure the best I can, from the voice actor viewpoint. Mark Hauser

First, the Voice talent gets a call from a Studio to set a date and time of a recording session. A dubbing project is assigned to a dubbing director, and he makes the decision of inviting voice talents to join his project.

The voice actor shows up at the studio and has to wait for his turn, so he spends some time in a waiting room or hallway chatting with some colleagues or reading some magazine, etc. finally; the voice actor gets access to a sound recording booth. In the next room, behind a glass you can find the dubbing director and his audio engineer. There is and an audio console, and a PC with some audio editing software.

The dubbing director has one copy of the script and another copy is inside the recording booth. Each page contains special codes such as time codes that indicate the moment the voice actor must begin his work.

A dubbing director is an artistic director with big responsibilities. He has to be sure everything is recorded the right way, with the right intentions, emotions and intensity.

When the process starts, the voice actor reads his lines synchronizing his voice with original actor’s lips movements. The voice actor memorizes all the lines he can and takes mental notes of any pauses or mood changes in his character. The dubbing director may concede a couple of practice runs before the actual recording begin. The process of matching the voice actor’s voice with the on-screen actor lips movements is known as Lips-Sync.

Voice acting presents some challenges for a voice actor, since he is not aware of the content of the script before a recording session starts. He also ignores what type of character or situation he must deal with or the number of scenes he will be in.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.