DUBBING: AN INTEGRAL PART OF MOVIEMAKING
DUBBING: AN INTEGRAL PART OF MOVIEMAKING
by JERRY O. TIRAZONA
Dubbing means to fit a new sound tract in a film, to add sound effects or to re-record.
During the time of the so-called studio system in Hollywood and in the Philippines, dubbing was merely in erms of addditional sound effects. The “dialouge tract” then was original, or that which was recorded during the actual shooting, otherwise refered to as the sink sound. Having a “clean” sound at the time was not much of a problem because filming was mostly done within the studio backlot wherein atmospheric sounds were well-controlled.
Dubbing actually started sometime in 1945 in Italy during the height of neorealism in films when filmmakers like Robert Rossellini, Vittorio de Sica, Luchino Visconti and several others began to make films with the goal of revealing contemporary social conditions. With the Cinecitta Studios destroyed during the war following the downfall of Mussolini, and with sound equipment rare, neorealists had to rely on actual locales so that their photographic work tended towards the raw roughness of documentaries. Rossellini, for instance, had to buy bits of negative stocks from street photographers that as a result, his famous “Open City” was shot on different qualities of film stock. Shooting on streets and buildings made Italian filmmakers proficient at available light photography which avoided the “three-front” lighting system of Hollywood. Dubbing started and the ability to postsynchronize dialouge permitted filmmakers to work on location with smaller crews and to achieve maximum camera movements.
The French New Wave films from 1959 to 1964, shot cheaply on locaiton, utilized portable equipment with cameras having “wild” motors to allow a selection of filming speeds — thus, dubbing had to be resorted to. With more and more films from France and Italy exported to other countries and territories, dubbing was a big boon to minimize the language barrier. Since then, the technique of dubbing has become an integral part of movie-making.
In Hollywood, voice dubing as a standard technique in sound re-recording started with the downfall of the big studios which gave rise to so-called independent filmmaker. Movie productions and producers started to shoot their movies on location to evade subsidizing the cost of studio labor and maintenance, using portable filming equipments and smaller crew and technical staff. As a result, the original
sound recorded during the shooting became wanting of quality, thus dubbing had to be resorted to.
In the Philippines, however, it was not until the middle of 1970s when movies had to be dubbed — initially not so much for the much desired sound quality, but more so for shooting convenience. It wa^ a time when a lot of quickie movies were being produced and there were but a few shooting equipment available. Filming with “wild sound” had to be resorted to with the use of the portable Arritlex camera in order to make-do with the shrotage of the standard equipment for sink sound. With “wild sound” being noisy and doesn’t synch with the lip movement, dubbing was imperative — until at present when standard shooting requires such a sound re-recording technique, this is beneficial specially for action features because it provides for the utmost freedom of camera movement and speed. In having synch sound, the filmmaker has to contend with providing a blimp for the camera to equip it with a synchronous motor — which are quite heavy and seldom available.
Voice dubbing through the years has become not just a necessity but as an art because of the fact that it involves voice acting. Dubbers don’t just synch speech on the lip movement of the actors — they also emote by means of their voices. They don’t just ape a particular voice but bring forth the necessary emotions and moods thus enhancing the actor’s performance on screen. Even the stars have realized the important role played by dubbers in the field of acting that, as a result, they dub their voices for their respective movies.
Because it takes skill and experience to be a dubber, this is the reason why ever since this technical aspect was introduced in the local movie industry there are only but a handful of them servicing the needs of feature films. And since they feel that thf.r duties and responsibilities are as important a? :h -c of the rest in the overall scheme of movie procu;:: n dubbers led by Lucy Quinto and Josie Gaivei -.v r strived hard during the last few vears to tv rtc,••_–nized as part and parcel of the movie industry.
Their efforts paid off, for with the help of Rudy Fernandez who heads the Katipunan ng niga Artista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (KAPP), they now have a voice in the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP).