Voice Doubles On Films – Why Are They Needed?


Have you ever heard of a voice double? If you haven’t, it’s certainly an interesting topic if you’re into sound production, or you’re considering working for a voice over agency, or as a voice actor for films in the future.

Below we take a look at what voice doubles are, where you may have heard them before, and why they are really important in so many different industries.

So, why are voice doubles on films needed?

First Things First – What Is A Voice Double?

When you make a film, the sound is mostly recorded live when scenes are filmed. However, there is also plenty that has to be recorded afterwards during post-production.

Whether it is for promotional videos, social media adverts, trailers or parts of the movie that didn’t quite capture the dialogue, sometimes extra sound has to be recorded.

At this stage you would usually have the actor come in and record at a professional  recording studio as and when they are needed. If they are unavailable, unwell, unwilling or otherwise unable to do this, however, then a voice double is needed.

The voice double may also need to record for actors who have passed away. A good example of this is with a voice actor like Stephen Stanton, who has voiced many deceased actors’ voices and boasts a catalogue of over 200 voices he is able to do. He has been used as an Obi-Wan Kenobi character in many voice doubling roles because of his ability to play the Alec Guinness version of the character, who is unfortunately no longer with us. Voice doubles may also be used to voice the characters from films when they are applied to games.

A voice double is a person who can effectively replicate the original actor’s voice. In some instances a voice double speaks another language, so if the film is in English but they want to open it to a French audience, a French voice actor may provide a French voice over for the sound. They would be chosen for their ability to sound as much like the original actor as possible when providing their voiceover, making them a voice double in essence, but in another language.

Voice Doubles – An Example Of ADR

Voice doubles fall into a category called ADR, which is the area of sound production that makes these amazing professional voice actors so important.

ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) is where you re-record an actor’s voice in a professional studio post-production.

This is necessary for many different reasons, including incorrect lines, a change in script, background noise or a lack of audio altogether. It may also be completed for foreign language voice overs, as we mentioned above.

For this reason, a voice double is essential because the budget for the film might not enable the original actor to record their lines again, or the actor might be unavailable for some other reason.

By using a voice actor, the post-production is still able to go ahead without compromising the quality of the film. It also means this production phase isn’t delayed at all, because the sound studio is having to wait for the actor.

Lastly, the overall quality of the film is not compromised because sound production cannot go ahead. Instead, any blemishes in the sound recording can be fixed so that a flawless, polished and professional film is created where hopefully, the viewing audience can’t tell any difference between the actors they see, and the acting they hear.

Could You Go Into Voice Doubling?

If you are interested in being a voice double star, start by speaking with a voice over agency who can advise you about what the job involves. Sometimes doubling vocals are needed in songs, for that you must improve your singing voice. Technical skills and talent are required, but the payoff is a fantastic rate of pay and plenty of satisfying, creative work as a voice double and general voice actor.

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