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Dear Dubbing & Audio Description teams working on our shows around the world —

We know this is a particularly challenging time as dub production is affected by the COVID-19 crisis, so we have created this article as a resource to help you with alternative / remote workflows.

Please follow your local laws, union guidelines and best practices relating to COVID-19.

PLEASE NOTE: The products and solutions mentioned on this site are not an exhaustive list, nor should they be considered an official endorsement. The details provided here are intended solely to share what we know and encourage further collaboration.

For Dub Studios, Creative Directors, and Sound teams (During COVID-19)

Given the facility shutdowns and social distancing guidance around the world, there are questions about how Dub recording will be done going forward and how it can be effective in this unprecedented pandemic.

While we all must accept the challenging realities of the present day, it is important to keep in mind that there is no substitute for a proper Dub recording room. Final Dub recordings require acoustically quiet environments so that the recordings can be mixed as indoor or outdoor - so they can be precisely controlled by the re-recording mixer. Matching raw Dub dialog to production sound is the most difficult aspect of mixing, even when tracks are expertly recorded. Simply put, home recording will often cause problems downstream for sound finishing, either requiring hours of work to achieve compromised quality or even being deemed unusable entirely.

Additionally, we must keep in mind that good Dubbing starts with great performances, and much of the value of a Dub studio is that it is a performance space where actors, dub directors and engineers collaborate to create or recreate the drama of the scene.

We absolutely understand this reality, but we are also mindful of continuing to produce dubbed content where practicable and to help support the ecosystem and workers in this time.  As such, the following are possible solutions for the specific time we are operating in, and are intended solely as a means of accomplishing necessary work in this immediate, unprecedented time. 

 

For decisions on remote Dub recording, please refer to the recommendations of the creative dubbing directors, audio engineers, & dub production team on the particular project. They will ultimately have to make the recordings work in the final mix, so they are the experts who should drive these decisions. 

We understand that short of recording in a proper facility, we are left with solutions that will likely compromise quality. We also want to ensure that all dubbing contributors can participate in the remote recording solutions presented below (not just the actor, but also the engineer, director and other territory-specific roles who are integral to the process). 

Please contact ktacke@netflix.com & gfaust@netflix.com for support on remote recording.

That understood, here is some guidance on home recording:

 

Bit Rate, Sample Rate, Frame Rate, File Type

Always record at the agreed upon title-specific frame rate. Always record at 24bit/48k/.wav unless a different spec is agreed upon by key editorial and sound personnel.

 

Remote supervision and direction of a recording session

Directing the session remotely can take some adjusting for the Dub Production team and the talent – it will take longer and requires patience – so it is wise to manage expectations around this. Directing via a high quality audio and video connection is preferable, but not always possible. 

  • When sound team is present for the session, we suggest utilizing Source Connect Standard on the supervisor/director side and Source Connect Standard or better on the actor/sound team side
  • When the actor records themself, we suggest a second device running Google Hangouts, ZOOM, Skype or Facetime for the supervisor/director to monitor and provide feedback. For instance, record on an iPhone and direct via computer.
    • Note: In using supplementary video telephony applications, additional recording contributors such as assistants, editors, translators, and supervisors can participate and support the process (as is traditional in many territories). 

 

For full dub production, whether Lip Sync or Voice Over, these applications may work for your teams (no particular order):

  • Remote Collaboration & Record via Pro Tools (option 1) - This allows a remote sound team to sync to an actor using Session Link Pro. Both sides can record and simultaneous video chat is built in. A director or other 3rd party may connect to the session to direct from another location. This is validated as a solid & convenient solution for dub sessions.
    A USB mic must be sent to the actor’s home.
  • Remote Collaboration & Record via Pro Tools (option 2) - This allows a remote sound team to sync to an actor using Source Connect Standard. Both sides can record with a DAW, or the dub studio engineer can record while the actor uses a lighter Source Connect app with video player. A director or other 3rd party may connect to the session to direct from another location via a 3rd party video application.. This is validated as a solid & convenient solution for dub sessions.
    A USB mic must be sent to the actor’s home.
  • Remote Collaboration & Record via ZOODubs cloud-based platform (option 3) - secure cloud-based application enabling script preparation, content streaming, and user-friendly remote recording. ZOODubs allows 3-way collaboration for engineer, actor, and dub director. Partners will need to be onboarded as an agency and then able to utilize the platform like any other software solution. The partner will continue to hire and leverage their own staff and talent accordingly (talent, director, assistant, etc).
    • If requested, a USB mic can be sent to the studio. 
    • Recommend Zoom, Skype, Hangouts (etc) for extra collaboration 
    • ZOODubs platform website

 

For VO or Pickups, these applications are quick solutions for limited number of pickups and single speaker voice-over (no particular order):

Below, please find some tools that may help record pickups only in a “home” setting. We will be creating separate guidance for each one that can be shared with actors and those directing their sessions, so if you are interested in hearing more about them, please contact your Netflix Dub representative. 

 

  • Note: These phone applications are built for individuals and do not have security features like usernames and passwords natively built-in. Because of this, Netflix Security is limited in how we can support or investigate issues relating to these apps. If these apps are used in your workflow we strongly recommend following our Media Tracking, File Collaboration, and Mobile Device security recommendations in the Security Guidelines section of this document before using these apps.

 

  • Remote Collaboration Digital Audio Workstation - This allows a remote sound team to push picture and record an AAC stream back from the actor. We’re in the early stages of researching this solution, but it’s promising.

 

For ADR, VO, or Dub recordings with quality compromises

Netflix understands that remote recordings may not reach the same sound quality as from a proper facility. We recommend doing tests and sending these to creative decision makers before agreeing to home recording as a solution.

Recordings should be done in a quiet room with little leakage from the outside. The room  should have textiles on as many surfaces as possible, such as curtains. Closets can work well for this. The actor should keep a distance of at least 12” from the microphone or recording device.

Sync ADR will be very difficult for talent to record on their own, but it's possible with a DAW recording setup on a laptop. Many actors already have home setups. We don't feel a need to be prescriptive about what exact equipment should be used; most modern equipment is of reasonably good quality and we don't want people rushing to buy expensive gear that may still yield compromised audio because of a compromised recording environment. A reflection filter like SE Reflexion filter pro can be helpful in controlling reflections in challenging environments.

We should not expect that the same equipment we see in professional studios will be used in an ad-hoc temporary recording scenario. For those looking to create a more professional recording environment, the following guides provide a wealth of information on achieving something closer to studio quality. For a good quality recording, a central problem will be the sound of the room and not the recording equipment. 

Recording Dubbed Dialogue In A Home Environment

Localized Dialog Recording Recommendations

 

Security Guidelines

We recommend following our Home Studio Security Guidance for remote work. We are faced with uncertain circumstances and do not have the access to materials and resources that we normally do. With that in mind, please reach out to security if you have questions about our recommendations.

We are providing this guidance to support you in protecting our content. Most importantly, be safe and please use common sense. Be mindful of your surroundings and take all of the basic steps to keep you and your devices protected. 

Additional questions or concerns should be raised to sis@netflix.com and your Netflix Dubbing representative. 

 

Media Tracking 

All video assets should be shared using  approved systems and should be identifiable to the end recipient. We recommend the following:

  • Digital Transfers should use a secure and approved platform (e.g. Content Hub Workspace, PIX, Aspera). If you are unsure about a transfer tool - reach out to SIS@Netflix.com. Transfers on physical drives should be done using hardware encrypted drives with the passwords/keys sent separately.
  • Keep records of persons and organizations with access to content.
  • Burn in individualized watermarks for all video turnover materials.

 

Dub - Local Media Copy

To prepare for the possibility to continue the mixing process from home:

  • Copy all footage (picture proxies) and reference sound elements to encrypted hard drives. Reach out to sis@netflix.com with questions about drive security or configuration. 

 

File Collaboration Security

For dubbing pickups and similar workflows where talent will need access to content, we recommend sharing content via a secure Media Management solution. In cases where this is not feasible Google Drive can be used. See below for security best practices when creating Drives: 

  • Files shared must only be accessible to the individual(s) who need them. Once the folder structure is created use the ‘Advanced’ options to update sharing Settings to share directly with the intended audience. 
  • When someone completes their work on a project they should be removed from the project folders or any other place where they have been given access.
  • Only provide “Editor” access to people with a need - this helps prevent oversharing. 
  • Do not email links to files in Drive. Emailing links will change permissions to files and allow for public access. Instead, setup file sharing permissions directly in Drive. 
  • Avoid moving files between folders - this changes permissions - and double check file permissions after any files are moved.

 

If Google Drive is not feasible to share files, you should enable similar settings on the file collaboration platform you choose. Reach out to sis@netflix.com with questions. 

 

Mobile Device Security

For recording done on mobile devices we recommend the following security guidelines:

  • Keep your device and apps up to date, as this is critical to protecting your data. 
  • All devices should use a passcode or biometric controls (TouchID, FaceID) for access.
  • Netflix strongly recommends enabling ‘Find My’ functionality. This is available on both iOS and Android, which helps locate and/or wipe a missing device. 
  • Do not use any App Stores other than the official Apple App Store and Google Play store. 
  • Any lost or stolen device containing content should be reported to Netflix Studio Information Security. This includes personally owned devices as well as those issued by Netflix or our Production partners

 

Change Log

  • 2020-05-19: v1.4
    • Source Connect Pro Tools Template added
  • 2020-05-11: V1.3
    • Source Nexus - need Basic or Pro version added
  • 2020-05-05: V1.2
    • Linked to partner help center for Recording Dubbed Dialog at Home doc
  • 2020-04-22: V1.1
    • Added ZOODubs as remote option
    • USB Mic availability added to remote solutions
    • Added Source Connect User Guide
    • Added New Recording Dubbed Dialogue In A Home Environment.pdf
  • 2020-04-15: v1.0 - published

 

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