Animation is pretty darn magical- especially the Disney movies that have been made recently. But it does take a lot of hard work and so many hours to make the magic come together.
A few days ago I told you all about rigging – how the characters come to life on the screen, but how do they get their voices? Our group of bloggers sat down in the recording studio with Gabe Guy, the Original Dialogue Mixer for FROZEN. He walked us through how voice overs are done and some interesting tidbits about the film FROZEN specifically.
It took hundreds of hours of recording to make FROZEN, which ended up only being a 1 hr 42 minute film. The recording studio was not that large of room, but with its many monitors, a number of speakers and the sound mixing boards it was a bit intimidating. I suppose this intimidating feeling I had probably had a lot to do with the voice over debut that I would be making within the next half hour. (More on my interesting voice over a bit later…)
We had a view into another room through a large window. The very soundproof booth that most of the film was recorded in. We were in the same recording studio as Kirsten Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad! This was right where Idina belted out the lyrics to the Oscar winning “Let it Go” anthem!
How are voice overs made? Well, it’s not exactly as I had imagined it would work. The actors are actually recorded prior to animation with a written script in from of them. This saves the animators from having to animate lines that don’t make it into the final movie. Also, when the actors are saying their lines, they video record it. The animators watch their movements and facial expressions. This allows them to bring a bit more realism to the characters onscreen. So not only Kristen’s voice, but also her mannerisms were used to create Anna. Crazy, right?
The majority of lines are recorded with just one actor in the studio at a time. But for some scenes, they try to have the included actors recording at the same time to allow for more of a flow.
They wanted this to be the case for the scene with Anna and Kristoff in the sled. Remember that scene? It’s one of my favorites-in my mind it’s where we can see a hint of their feisty banter possibly turning into a chemistry that will grow between the two. *sigh*
They wanted this to be one of the times where both Kristen Bell and Jonathan Groff could record together. However, their schedules would not allow this. Gabe told us that they did something a little different. They had Kristen improv and when he heard her responses he would jump back with something else-which made for a more realistic flow of banter. They hadn’t done this previously – where they were listening to their voice, but they wanted the back and forth interaction to be more genuine. I think the method worked wonderfully, don’t you?
I found an amazing video of the FROZEN actors in the recording studio doing their voice overs. I loved watching the actors faces as they spoke the lines that I remember so clearly from my five or so times watching the film!
Once FROZEN was finalized, the huge task of recording it in a number of different languages with different actors started. Forty one languages to be exact. Can you imagine how hard it would be to find THAT many singers who could do justice to the amazing songs quite like this cast did!
After chatting for a bit with Gabe, they let us give it a whirl! We got to record either the funny scene where Olafa meets Anna, Kristoff and Sven:
Or Olaf’s very cute song and dance number “In Summer”:
I’m not a karaoke star, in fact I can count the number of times I have ventured onto a karaoke stage on one hand. And in these few times I was probably paid in margaritas to do it! Honestly, I did think I could pull off a few of Olaf’s lines. It was so much harder than it would seem!
I found myself watching the characters on screen trying to match the cadence. I should have just been concentrating on getting all of the words on screen out! They flew by and I knew within seconds my chances at a career in voice overs will never, no… it will NEVER be in my future!
See, this is me. But I am smiling, so that means it was before I started!
Many of the other bloggers I watched through the glass did their lines or song wonderfully! If I can get my hands on one of their recordings I promise to share with you. I was surrounded by some serious natural talent!
All opinion are honest and 100% my own. Disney provided an all-expense paid trip to cover the event.