Revoicing

Revoicing is the process of supplying a new voice to a character in a movie or TV show, usually in order to make the character more believable or more intelligible than the original. Audiences see one actor speaking but hear the voice of a completely different actor.

Associated Buzz Creative usually calls on experienced stage or voice actors to provide a high calibre performance that is missing in the production track, following up with fine editing to fit the new dialog as closely as possible to the mouth movements of the original actor.

To illustrate, we've chosen a scene from the action-adventure TV series Relic Hunter. Supervising sound editor Alan Hardiman cast the talented Canadian actor Maggie Huculak to provide a more credible voice for Sydney Fox's adversary in the episode Possessed: the vampire Emanuelle, played onscreen by Zeta Graff. Click the links on the right to watch it before and after revoicing.

In 66 episodes of this series produced over three years, Alan revoiced at least two characters in each episode. Often there were more, partly because international co-production agreements stipulated that French actors be cast in the 12 episodes shot in France. Some of these actors had absolutely no command of the English language, and the script had to be consulted to figure out what they were trying to say. In one such episode, The Executioner's Mask, eight characters were revoiced.

The Cyrano Society

Rising to the task of supplying picture-perfect voice performances was a fantastic group of Canadian actors including Maggie Huculak, John Evans, Jennifer Gould, Andrew Gillies, Donna Goodhand, Philip Akin, Garnet Harding, Darrell Dennis, Victor Young, Frank Ruffo, Helen Taylor, Larry Yachimec, Barclay Hope, and Brenda Robbins. On one memorable occasion when the budget was severely limited, the great Neil Foster single-handedly revoiced three separate characters in the same episode!

These performers all hold membership in The Cyrano Society, an honorary organization dreamed up by Alan Hardiman, after the sublime romantic who lent his voice to the rhetorically challenged Christian, Roxanne's would-be suitor. Left to his own devices, Christian could not woo his way out of a paper bag. Hearing Cyrano's profession of love for her out of the darkness beneath her balcony, and taking him to be Christian, Roxanne falls in love.

Her confession to Christian in Act Four, Scene Eight, can stand as a summation of all that we try to achieve with revoicing during post-production:

"I've adored you since the evening when, under my window, you began to reveal your soul to me in a voice I'd never heard you use before."

In a break with Cyrano, however, we are unwilling to wait for the last act to reveal the truth, and wish to acknowledge the talent that up to now, has never been credited on TV, the DVDs, or the pages of imdb.com.

- My Panache! -

 

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