One iZotope to Save Them All

Ray Beentjes, dialogue editor for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, made extensive use of iZotope's RX 4 audio repair and enhancement toolkit to capture on-set dialogue.
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Cambridge, MA (December 18, 2014)—Ray Beentjes, dialogue editor for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, made extensive use of iZotope's RX 4 audio repair and enhancement toolkit to capture on-set dialogue.

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When Beentjes began working on The Lord of the Rings 15 years ago, many of the actors' best performances were unusable, often contaminated with noise from production equipment and the surrounding environment. In the end, only 5 to 10 percent of the original location audio was usable for the final cut, because the production team didn't have a solution for salvaging the troubled audio.

"An actor could have delivered a stellar performance on location, but the audio would often be unusable," Beentjes points out. "They would then have to spend hours in a dubbing room re-recording their lines, and due to the complexity of the production, they might be covering what was six months' worth of filming in a two-day ADR session. That often makes it very difficult to create the same mood again.”

The audio team began searching for a solution that would enable them to rescue troubled audio from the best on-location performances and chose iZotope's RX audio repair software, which Beentjes describes as a "game changer." Today, the team is reportedly able to save more than 80 percent of the original production dialogue, and blend in ADR when required.

"RX has been fantastic, and we've developed a completely different workflow," Beentjes says. "Now we can focus on finding the best performances from the original material delivered by the actors. [Director] Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh [producer and Jackson’s wife] love utilizing production audio over ADR where possible if it sells the performance better, and then it's up to us to clean up that audio and get it working. That's their gold, and that's where the magic is for us."

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