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Berlin to go, english edition, 02/2017

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TALK OF THE TOWN WHEN

TALK OF THE TOWN WHEN HOLLY- WOOD SPEAKS GERMAN Text: Eva Scharmann Dubbing boosts the enjoyment of films. One of the largest and longstanding film dubbing companies in Germany hails from Berlin Quiet on the set, please, and … action! High concentration meets creativity at the studios of Berliner Synchron GmbH, a dubbing company where more than 8,000 films and TV series have been “synchronized” for German audiences since the company was founded in 1949. In this conversation with Berlin to go, Marcus Dröscher, who heads up the venerable Berlin-based company together with his co-Managing Director Dr. Martina Berninger, explains how the company’s founder, Wenzel Lüdecke, revolutionized the dubbing process in postwar Germany. Dröscher also tells us what it takes to make George Clooney sound “typically German.” WHAT PROMPTED THE MUNICH-BASED FILM PRO- DUCER WENZEL LÜDECKE TO FOUND A FILM DUBBING COMPANY IN BERLIN IN 1949? Marcus Dröscher (MD): That was the year the Allies removed import restrictions for foreign companies. Lüdecke recognized the growing need for dubbing in the film industry and founded Berliner Synchron in Lankwitz. He was the only person to acquire permission from the occupying forces to dub British and American films for German audiences. This gave Berliner Synchron a strong monopoly position for over a decade – and allowed us to make film history! WHICH CINEMA CLASSICS DID BERLINER SYNCHRON DUB? MD: Some examples would be Hitchcock’s masterpieces “Rear Window” and “The Birds.” Cult films such as “The Godfather” and “Star Wars” were also dubbed in our studios. Lüdecke revolutionized the German dubbing sector by standardizing and professionalizing the process. To this day, we have an excellent reputation worldwide and are one of the largest dubbing companies in Germany. There are only three other dubbing companies with a similarly broad spread as us. UNLIKE IN OTHER EU COUNTRIES, ALMOST ALL FILMS IN GERMANY ARE DUBBED. WHY IS THIS? MD: There are historical reasons for this. After WWII, Germany had little experience with foreign languages. German audiences did not fare well with subtitles. It took a while for people here to get used to dubbed films. Today, they wouldn’t do without them. A film in a language that’s not your mother tongue will inevitably limit your understanding, and that needlessly diminishes your enjoyment of the film. 20

HOW DO YOU EVALUATE THERE IS A TREMENDOUS WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE WHETHER A FILM IS DUB- DEMAND FOR TALENT IN TO MOVE TO THE EUREF BED WELL OR NOT? THE FILM INDUSTRY AT THE CAMPUS AFTER OVER 60 MD: Basically, audiences have MOMENT. DOES BERLIN YEARS AT YOUR TRADITIO- to be made to believe that An- GIVE YOU AN ADVANTAGE NAL HOME IN LANKWITZ? gelina Jolie and George Clooney IN THAT RESPECT? MD: We are indeed a company are actually speaking German. MD: Absolutely! Berlin is the with a long tradition, but we It’s not just a question of fin- creative capital of Germany, so also always have our eyes set on ding the right expressions and we have access here to a pool of the future. On the EUREF Cam- slang; rather, the goal is to 3,000 dubbing artists, authors pus, we benefit directly from translate American culture into and directors. We also have two that unique startup spirit that German culture. It is a creati- directors as permanent emplo- characterizes Berlin. There are ve process that requires a lot yees, which allows us to ensure so many young and innovative of tact and experience. For ex- a high level of flexibility in our companies hard at work here. ample, we were very successful work. Lots of ideas emerge from our with the Hip-Hop film “Straight exchange with them, and those Outta Compton” and received YOUR INDUSTRY IS SUBJECT ideas will always be very inte- a lot of praise from the film’s TO CONSTANT CHANGE. resting to Berliner Synchron. target group. AS A DUBBING COMPANY, I’m looking forward to seeing HOW DO YOU STAY AT THE what we come up with! WHAT STEPS ARE INVOLVED TOP OF THE FIELD? Illustration: vecteezy.com/zhaolifang IN DUBBING A FILM? MD: The first thing we do is create a rough translation. After that, the dialogue script is written in a lip-synch version. Then the recording process starts and the dubbing actors do their work in a studio together with a director, editor and sound engineer. That is followed by editing processes in which the voices are edited and any necessary effects are added; for example, if the scene takes place in a church, the voices and sounds will have to have a “hall” effect. Project managers are in charge of the whole process and act as the interface between our team and the clients, that is, the distributors who take care of things like dubbing on behalf of film production companies. MD: We maintain a very open and enthusiastic attitude towards new ideas and innovations. For example, we got involved in digitization at a very early stage; by 2009, we had already fully digitized our recording ateliers and installed a server-based fiber optic network with 35 audio workstations. At our new offices on the EUREF Campus in Berlin-Schöneberg, which we moved into in March of this year, we continue to advance along this path. With the help of a new digital work environment, we will soon be able to offer our clients the ability to directly track our work on their projects. Berliner Synchron’s core business in Berlin and Mu nich will always be film and TV dubbing. But the company also works with the partner No Limits Media to create barrier-free film versi ons. In the field of corporate media, the company team of over 60 em ployees also works with compa nies to enhance their acoustic brand management. Together with the subsidiary Edition M Berliner Synchron offers full-service solutions in the area of post-production as well. Since the takeover by S&L Mediengruppe in 2016, the area of entertainment marke ting rounds out the company portfolio. 21

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