Production Sound in Animation?


Hi everyone,

I went to the movies to watch Finding Dory and as the credits rolled up I spotted  “Production Dialogue & Music edited by…” Would production dialogue be referred to the dialogue recorded at the early stages? As for the music, what got me confused was that the credits consisted of Production Music and Score.

How different is the post production process between animation and film?

Thank you!


Yes. Production dialogue is (relatively) early stage recording with the actors, typically well before animation is completed. ADR will still be recorded later on in post for various reasons: weird mouth/throat noises from the actors, line rewrites or additions, or even weaknesses in performance or tone of the delivery. So in that regard, not much is different…besides the amount of noise reduction you might have to employ as part of the work flow. 😉

Production music is another term for licensed music. There are a few songs in Finding Dory that were definitely not written by Thomas Newman. These are owned by music production and licensing companies. You can think of it this way…any pop songs (even if not being performed by the original artists) are basically production music. Anything brand new that was composed for the film is score.


The credit/credits you saw were “production sound effects and music editing.” This term is used by Pixar to describe the sound and music editing that occurs during the lengthy production phase of their films: storyboarding, layout, and early animation. Production dialog is always cut by picture editors. Production music editing is basically cutting a “temp” score, and production sound effects editing is basically cutting sound to early versions of the film.


I think Shaun covered it mostly, but just to add my experience from animated TV:

In my work production dialogue is recorded with the actors in a studio, reading a script.  Then, a sound editor or picture editor will dig through all the takes to pull out the ones the director/producer liked, and edit them into sequence to match the script.  We call these Radioplays, or production dialogue.


Sometimes radioplays incorporate temp SFX, sometimes not.  The purpose of the radioplay is for the animators to have timeline of everything to animate to, especially for lip flap.  Later when ADR, post dialogue, is added, it’s either due to script changes, animation issues, or someone wanted to change the speed or read of a line, so a they’ll record it to match the animation as best they can, and a dialogue editor will drop it in and sync it to picture using time-compression/expansion and other methods if necessary.
The great thing about animation is everything is generally recorded in a studio!  We still use noise reduction to pull out pops/ticks/mouth sounds, and edit out breaths, but no room tone editing, which is nice.  Also we probably spend a lot more time tweaking sync of a line frame by frame. No animation will ever perfectly match the actual human speaking, there is a limited number of animated mouth movements, depending on budget, you just have to get as close as you can.  

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