How do you dub a video?

Dubbing a video is a four-step process which includes creating a new audio track with the dub in order to change from the original audio track.

Dubbing has improved by leaps and bounds from the days when it was almost comical to watch with the rate at which international series have been cross-pollinating in different areas in the world.

Now it is so meticulously done that in most instances, it even carries the same emotional weight as the original. It is a four-step process to successfully dub a video.

First you need to start with practicing the script of the original audio, finding the voice-over artist who will deliver the new audio and maintaining the same energy as the original, and replacing the original audio with the new audio and matching them with each other.

Why would I need to dub a video?

Dubbing is also referred to as revoicing, which means that the original audio track is removed, and a new audio track is used.

In most instances, dubbing is done to introduce a video which is in another language to a new audience, hence the original audio is removed and replaced with audio in the language of the market audience that the content will be introduced to.

However, in some instances, dubbing has been used in parodic skits and videos, in which case the intention is to suggest that someone said something that they did not say.

How do you dub a video?

Dubbing is somewhat easy, but it does require a keen ear and the ability to pay attention to detail. This is as the dub must carry the same intensity and emotion as the original, or it will sound like a local parody when that was not the intention of the dub.

Therefore, the four-step process includes:

Steps Description
Step 1: Knowing the script or the original audio This is important for making the recording easier. Before recording, a detailed translated script must be created in order for the voiceover artist to familiarise themselves with the words, cadence, tone, and emotion of the original.
Step 2: Finding the voiceover artist It is crucial to choose a voice over artist that will match the intention and emotional plot points of the original audio. They do not necessarily have to sound like the original audio, but they should be able to convey the same emotional beats for the dub to be successful.
Step 3: Record the new audio Connect a mic to your PC, playback the video without the original audio and have the voice-over artist read the script. They also need to include adlibs like snickering, giggling, etc. in order to replace those during the final stage.
Step 4: Sync the audio When the audio has been recorded, the last step is to sync the audio with the video. When you are satisfied, you can export the video and the dubbed audio using video editing software.

Hard requirements for dubbing

One of the requirements to successfully achieve crisp dubbing audio is a good quality microphone and studio.

The microphone, and the type of microphone used is key in order to ensure that the audio is crisp and that it only picks up the voice and no other ambient noise that would affect the overall quality of the audio.

Similarly, it is important to record the dub audio track in a studio or isolated area. Not isolating the voice over artist to record can result in an audio track with ambient noise, which can make it difficult to use and it can be expensive to re-record the audio and repeat the process.

Tips for the voice-over artist

While most of the responsibility rests on the producer when it comes to dubbing, who is meant to ensure that the voice-over artist carries the same emotional arc as the original audio, the voice-over artist does need to do some work before recording, including:

  • Familiarise yourself with the original video and audio, as this gives you an idea of what beats to hit and where to take liberties in your interpretation of the original audio
  • Know the character biography of the original character, as this helps you to get to know the character better to allow you to better understand how to embody the character

Is dubbing the same as subtitling?

Dubbing is different from subtitling. But the two practices have the same intent, which is to translate the original video for a new market.

Hence, between revoicing the original audio (dubbing) or re-writing the audio in a different language at the bottom of the screen (subtitling), dubbing is estimated to be much more expensive than subtitling.

Moreover, the turnaround time to dub a feature-length film is estimated to be between six and eight weeks. While subtitling is estimated to take anywhere from a few days to a week.