Jump to content


Photo

Shoot a feature in German or English?


  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 Frank Glencairn

Frank Glencairn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 138 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Germany

Posted 27 August 2010 - 01:09 AM

I´m really undecided.

Got a feature coming up here in Germany but it is also aimed to the international market.
Actually I would love to shoot in German and than do an English dubbing for the rest of the world.

Now everyone and his kid brother keeps telling me, that it is much easier the other way round.

I don´t know. Is there a pool of English/American overdubbing professionals I can draw from? As far as I know - it is seldom done in English language countries. Problem is that all the German actors would be able to do it in English, but most of them will have some sort of accent.

Then I thought, wait a minute - this film takes place in Germany in the 1020s and 30s, so why not even emphasize their accent, including some local dialects, instead to have them talk like a CNN anchorman?.

Do you guys think that this is cheesy or awkward, or would you rather say it would ad some authenticity?

Thanks, Frank

Edited by Frank Glencairn, 27 August 2010 - 01:10 AM.

  • 0

#2 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5070 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 27 August 2010 - 02:12 AM

I don't think an accent is a problem, just as long as people can understand what they're saying. Some regional English speaking accents are pretty strong and people from other parts of the same country can have difficulty understanding them.

Regional accents are much more acceptable than say in the 1950s and actors often don't change their own accent, or they have a dialogue coach who teaches them an accent.
  • 0

#3 Chris Millar

Chris Millar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1642 posts
  • Other

Posted 27 August 2010 - 05:55 AM

A German film about Germans ?

German !
  • 0

#4 Brian Rose

Brian Rose
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 896 posts
  • Student
  • Kansas City area

Posted 27 August 2010 - 03:13 PM

Well, Inglourious Basterds did very well last year, and it was mostly spoken in German, French and Italian!

And from my pov, I get tired of hearing the usually German accented English, or worse, Germans with straight English accents.

But it should also be about which language you're most comfortable in..since you've gotta be involved in the performances. But if you equally confident in English and German, I'd say let your material dictate your story, which would mean German. And of course, you can always slip in some English here and there. Renoir did it in his films, like "Grand Illusion," where the Germans and their French prisoners interact through a common knowledge of English.

Or if you wanna go REALLY oldschool, do like what they did in the early talkie era...shoot it in both languages! You've never seen funny until you've seen Buster Keaton speak phonetic Spanish and German! :)

BR
  • 0

#5 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5070 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 27 August 2010 - 03:54 PM

Personally, I'm happy with sub titles.
  • 0

#6 Dominic Gruenberg

Dominic Gruenberg
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 25 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Cologne, Germany

Posted 29 August 2010 - 04:51 AM

The biggest problem when watching dubbed movies is, that the dub might not feel organic enough to believe that this voice really belongs to the actor. It is always an interpretation of the voice actor. If your actors all can speak English, in my opinion, especially whith the theme of your movie, you should shoot in German and let the actors dub themselves. Only they know their emotions during each of their particular scenes and can play those through for the dub again.
  • 0

#7 Frank Glencairn

Frank Glencairn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 138 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Germany

Posted 29 August 2010 - 11:41 AM

Just came back from a weekend trip. Thanks for your opinions gentlemen.

Doing two takes would be one option - thou I´m not exactly comfortable with that.
That leaves me to shooting in German and have the same actors overdub in English or vice versa.

For the DVD/Bluray release it is no problem at all, one can switch between German and English plus any subtitle he wants or no subs at all.

So it is only a theater thing. I guess actors act better in their native language, but I may be wrong. They where shooting "The Red Baron" in English, than the same actors overdubbed them selves in German. Did anyone saw that? How did you like them acting in English? My lead actor gonna be the same one,as in Red Baron.

Frank

Edited by Frank Glencairn, 29 August 2010 - 11:42 AM.

  • 0

#8 Valentin Farkasch

Valentin Farkasch
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 18 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York

Posted 29 August 2010 - 12:22 PM

one thing to think about is that americans are not very used to see dubbed movies on the other hand germans are so it is less awkward for germans if it is not exactly lip sync.

however i think the most important is what you and the actors are most comfortable with - because if you have a great actor but he has to think more about his language than his acting then you loose performance.

the last german movies that were well received were all just with subtitles as far as i know
das leben der anderen
der untergang
das weise band
  • 0

#9 Mike Lary

Mike Lary
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 472 posts
  • Other

Posted 29 August 2010 - 11:00 PM

Plenty of folks in these forums read subtitles. That's not the case with most people in the states. Many view subtitles as an affront to their movie going experience. They'd rather watch familiar faces speaking in horrible (and often inconsistent) accents. When the Academy Awards announces the nominees for 'Best Foreign Language Film', most US viewers are hearing those movie titles for the first time. I don't see a subtitled movie earning much revenue in the states unless you have a cult following. As far as dubbing goes, the only dubbed films I've seen projected have been in art house theaters. If you're trying to make money, well known actors speaking English seems like the best alternative.
  • 0

#10 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 5070 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 30 August 2010 - 02:34 AM

If you're trying to make money, well known actors speaking English seems like the best alternative.


The first thing potential funders usually ask is "who's in it?"

"Das Boat" was dubbed for the original UK theatrical release, although the later TV mini series version screened in the UK was in sub titled German, as was the later, longer running time feature film version.

Foreign language films are usually found in the art house circuit, rather than the multiplexes, although you do get the occasional crossover film.
  • 0

#11 Claus Harding

Claus Harding
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 65 posts
  • Other

Posted 30 August 2010 - 09:12 AM

If the film is German and takes place in Germany in the 20/30es, it is "German." It should be in German.
You can always think about dubbing it afterwards, but at least the "core film" is in the correct language, with the option of regional German accents, much like in "Das Boot."

I will never understand why many people won't read subtitles. For me, listening to dubbing ruins a film and takes away the mood (there are unavoidable exceptions, such as some of Herzog's international work.)

Good luck with the project,

Claus.
  • 0

#12 Frank Glencairn

Frank Glencairn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 138 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Germany

Posted 30 August 2010 - 10:45 AM

Damed, I hate compromises. :angry:

Maybe I just shouldn´t give a flying rats a..., shoot in German and have my actors dub in English.
Was good enough for "Das Boot" - should be good enough for me.

So I can offer 2 versions, German with subtitles for the cinophiles and English for the masses.
I don´t know if this is usual in the US - but here in Germany they show a dubbed version in mayor cinemas and the original version (with or without subtitles) in smaller art house theaters.

Frank
  • 0

#13 John Sprung

John Sprung
  • Sustaining Members
  • 4635 posts
  • Other

Posted 01 September 2010 - 08:52 PM

It all comes down to how you're going to sell it over here. In the art houses, go with German. To cross over, English.




-- J.S.
  • 0

#14 Tony Brown

Tony Brown
  • Sustaining Members
  • 689 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • London

Posted 02 September 2010 - 04:01 PM

No question it should be German, no dub, subtitles.
  • 0

#15 Leo Anthony Vale

Leo Anthony Vale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2010 posts
  • Other
  • Pittsburgh PA

Posted 02 September 2010 - 05:14 PM

It all comes down to how you're going to sell it over here. In the art houses, go with German. To cross over, English.


'Aguirre, the wrath of God', while post-synced, was shot in English and the first track was English. But to play yhe American art house circuit, it had to be redubbed into german & english sub-titles added.

"If it ain't got sub-titles, it ain't art."

I watched 'Fitzcarraldo' on DVD with the default german track. In a scene with an official the lip-sync was rather slippery. But switching to the English track, the lip-sync was okay, though the room tone had a post-sync quality to it.

To paraphrase Col.Klink: "Herzog!!!"
  • 0

#16 K Borowski

K Borowski
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 3905 posts
  • Camera Operator
  • I.A.T.S.E. Local # 600 Eastern Region

Posted 02 September 2010 - 06:29 PM

I'm an American, and only speak English and Russian fluently (I'm a Polock), but in this day and age, English is the international language. I don't agree with this, even taking advantage of it every day. But that is the way it is.. .

At the very least, build in English subtitles (or dubs). I'm pretty sure if it's not at least dubbed English (spoken English better) it will lose money. That f*&%ing sucks, but that is the way of the World.

It used to be Esperanto, French, German, Latin, Greek, Ancient Egyptian?


It will very soon be that Mandarin Chinese is the language of choice, followed closely by Spanish.

Edited by Karl Borowski, 02 September 2010 - 06:30 PM.

  • 0

#17 Chris Millar

Chris Millar
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1642 posts
  • Other

Posted 02 September 2010 - 08:09 PM

I am passionate about this

GERMAN

for flips sake do it in German
  • 0

#18 Phil Connolly

Phil Connolly
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 377 posts
  • Director
  • London

Posted 03 September 2010 - 04:08 AM

If the actors can give a better performance in German then that would be the language I'd shoot in.

I'm not a huge fan of English dubs and in general the Art house crowd are not going to be put off by seeing it in German with subtitles.

I wouldn't worry that much about English speaking mainstream audiences - true they tend not to go for subtitles. But the English market is so saturated with US content there's almost no chance a German film (in any language) would get a truly wide release in those territories. Even the more successful German films such as Lola Rennt and Der Untergang" were only really shown in arthouse cinemas in the UK at least - probably a similar case in the US.

So no point pandering to a market that the film probably doesn't have. Its not that the mainstream English audience won't see a non English language film, its that they won't see a non American film - since foreign content is pushed out of the mainstream cinemas by the big US studios. Its a bit depressing but in the UK, British films that arn't produced by US studios struggle to get into the cinema in any form of wide release, so it would be as difficult or more difficult for a German film to become mainstream.

DVD is a different story foreign films can reach a wider audience and for this an English dub might be required - For instance "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is doing ok on DVD rentals at the moment in the UK - it has both Swedish and English dub on the disk so people can choose - but the cinema release I believe was subtitled. So maybe go with subtitled German and if it does well the DVD could open up the market with the option of an English dub.
  • 0

#19 Frank Glencairn

Frank Glencairn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 138 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Germany

Posted 03 September 2010 - 04:22 AM

I But the English market is so saturated with US content there's almost no chance a German film (in any language) would get a truly wide release in those territories.


Good point Phil.
After wrapping my brain around it for several weeks now, I came to the point, that I gonna shoot in German, just to get better performance out of the actors.

DVD/BluRay will have multi language subtitles and maybe an English dub version.
I guess because of the special subject-matter of the film, DVD/BluRay may make more money anyways as the box office.

Thanks for your thoughts, Frank
  • 0


Willys Widgets

Opal

Visual Products

Technodolly

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

FJS International, LLC

rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

Aerial Filmworks

Paralinx LLC

Wooden Camera

CineLab

Tai Audio

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineTape

The Slider

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Abel Cine

Willys Widgets

Technodolly

Abel Cine

CineTape

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

Ritter Battery

rebotnix Technologies

Opal

The Slider

Aerial Filmworks

Tai Audio

Glidecam

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

FJS International, LLC

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Metropolis Post