March 27, 2015
How and Why I Dubbed a Foreign Action Film
A little over a month ago, I was driving to work. This is something that I dreaded every day but was 100% necessary if I was going to go to work that day. Since then, I have decided not to drive to work anymore. Anyways as I was driving to work, I thought about my friend Matt's favorite movie, "The Raid 2." The Raid 2 is a sequel to The Raid: Redemption and is an indonesian action movie.
"It's the best action movie ever made," I told my friends at work.
"I'm not going to read a movie," every single one of them replied.
You see the problem with working with morons is that they don't have the intelligence to both read and watch a movie at the same time. The Raid 2 is spoken almost entirely in Indonesian and is translated into English with subtitles at the bottom of the screen. If you are a slow reader, like many of my coworkers, you are going to find it difficult to keep up with the amazing, action-packed thrill ride directed by Welsh born Gareth Evans.
So for the following reasons, I decided to dub the film into English myself:
1) It would be hilarious.
2) It would be awesome.
3) It would be both hilarious and awesome just to say I did this.
4) I want people to actually experience this adrenaline-rush of a movie.
5) It is good practice in video and sound editing.
6) I could write a somewhat funny article about it on my website afterwards.
The first step of this process was to get a microphone. I walked down the street to my friend Owen's house where I left my microphone about a year earlier. We had recorded an hour-long session of us talking in an attempt to make a podcast. It actually came out quite well but we never progressed with it. So I walked into his basement to look for the mic and could'nt find it. I checked all the drawers where it would've been and it was nowhere to be found. My heart started racing. "Where is the mic?" I thought to myself. "Is this the end of the dubbing journey?" "I haven't even made it past step one!"
All of a sudden, Owen walks out of the bathroom.
"Hey," Owen said in his regular, relaxed manner.
"I can't find the mic," I said embarrassed, looking down at the floor.
"Let me check." Owen opened up the drawer where I had originally looked. His confidence level was way too high and I was ready for a crash of emotions.
"What is he doing?" I thought to myself. "I already checked that drawer."
"Here it is." Owen pulled out the mic and hit me with a one-two punch of astonishment.
"Thanks." I went home and posted on reddit looking for advice.
No one answered my question. The VideoEditing subreddit is a joke.
I imported the entire movie into Final Cut and kept the subtitles on. I then put on headphones and patiently read every single line of the movie with a different voice for each character using the "Record Voiceover" option. This was the most tedious task in the entire project. It literally took longer than anything else. There are a total of 36 different speaking characters in the movie. After I finished, I watched the movie at 32X speed to tally up the total number for the previous sentence.
I read the lines just as they were in the movie. I'm sure most people would think I tried to make a funny story, but I didn't want to confuse anyone. After reading each line, I lined it up perfectly so that the English was right over the Indonesian in the background. I then faded in and out for each line so that there wasn't a sudden drop of background noise. Finally, I adjusted the volume so that it was as good as it could get.
If I were to estimate, there were over 2,500 takes. As many as 3,000. Or even more! The number on each individual voiceover was incorrect so I will never know.
When I finished a month later, I exported the sound only. Then I imported another version of the movie without subtitles into Final Cut. I turned the volume all the way down on this version and added the audio from before. It matched up perfectly. I could finally breathe again.
Here I am pretending to read the last line of the movie for this photo:
I bought myself a beer and pretended to watch the movie for the picture below:
The next morning, I exported the final product after adding my name in the credits. But then I got another hilarious idea. I used a green screen in my kitchen and added myself into the movie for a very short scene.
Those boxes were in fact not wide enough to hold my 4 dollar tripod, so I used 7 boxes of board games instead. I could've sworn I took a picture of it, but I did not. It would've been a much better picture than the one above. Such a shame. I adjusted the lighting and made it look like I was a star just like everyone else. "Ring! Ring!" "Hello?" "Hi, it's Hollywood!"
And that is how and why I dubbed a foreign action film.
What you need to accomplish this:
Patience - 4.5/5 (Just keep at it, slugger)
Free Time - 3/5 (It doesn't matter how long it takes)
Video Editing Skills - 2.5/5 (But you'll learn more!)
Enthusiam - 5/5 (Need those voice acting skills)
Movie - 4.5/5 (Make sure it's one you'll want to watch over and over and over and over)
Space - 1/5 (I did this on the couch)
Technology - 4/5 (A good computer, good software, a mic, decent headphones)
Friend - 3/5 (It's good if you have a friend to surprise with the final product, i.e. Matt)
Secondary Activities - 3.5/5 (In case you need a break, find something fun to do)
Buy this movie on Blu-Ray!