A fandub (not to be confused with a fansub) is a fan-made dub or redub of a production, typically completely altering dialogues, story plots and personalities of protagonists in a funny way (frequently referred to as "fundub"). The quality of these fandubs range in production value; from low-end poor microphone quality, no sound effects, to professional voice actors donating their time and energy with professional sound equipment and sound effects. Fans use copyrighted material and heavily modify the original content to create a new version of material. Fandubbing, except redubbing, is most commonly done with Japanese animation.
Copyright implications for fandubs are very similar to fansubs except the difference of scale (see Fansub for a detailed explanation of the legal and ethical issues with this type of distribution).
Radio Plays/Audio Dramas Edit
Often, the need to rely on visual imagery is unnecessary. In the amateur voice acting world, this results is an audio drama. These productions require a little extra work by the producer to ensure that the story is properly conveyed, without confusing the audience. Without the benefit of visuals, the producer must use creative thinking to properly create the scene and atmosphere of his or her story.
Of key importance in this process is ambiance. The presence of just enough sound effects to accurately suggest the action without becoming slaves to pure realism. Producers of these audio dramas often take lessons from the works of the past, such as The Shadow. The proper usage of sound effects and music can make or break the quality of the production.
Radio plays/Audio dramas also require a fair bit of attention and time to mix. There is a good deal of tweaking that must be done. Often, making certain that volume levels of sound effects and music can take longer than the actual recording of the lines themselves. The advantage, however, is that there is more freedom to make changes "on the fly", by using software that allows for multi-track mixing.
Equipment Used Edit
Fandubs and radioplays do not require state-of-the-art technology to produce. A simple, inexpensive vocal microphone and a PC with some type of recording software are all that is needed. The quality of work that one outputs is dramatically increased by purchasing a higher-end microphone with a PC adapter, adding a mixer board, and some professional software.
At first, Windows Sound Recorder was the recording program of widest use for amateur voice acting. However, programs such as Goldwave, Audacity, and Cool Edit have come into popular usage. Goldwave and Cool Edit (now known as Adobe Audition), are both pay-per-license software, much like any other that would be sold over the counter. Audacity, is released under the GNU General Public License and is free for use. Key features of these products are: multi-track mixing, filters (echo), video to sound prototyping, noise reduction, and removal of vocal tracks (for BGM purposes).
Fandubs require a quality video editing software. Being fans and not professionals, such software goes beyond the normal operating budget of a fandub team (that budget being $0). VirtualDub is an inexpensive solution (and in wide use in the AVA community). VirtualDub is, like Audacity, released under the GNU General Public License and is open-source software.
Amateur voice acting began simultaneously and independently from each other in a small number of developed countries. On of the first recorded projects, dating from 1994, is "Sinnlos im Weltraum" ("Senseless in Space"), a German redub of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The recordings were distributed on VHS, and copies were circulating only among a smaller group of people due to the technical limitations of the media. With digitalisation, starting in 1998, the fandub gained enormous popularity among the German audience.
However, the first commonly noticed fandub can be regarded as Mark Sprague's Sailor Moon S internet fandub, receiving international publicity on the Sailor Moon News Group. Mark's fandub prompted many others to produce similar productions of their favorite shows. However, due to equipment and modem limitation, many fandubs rarely made it past the audition phase.
As a quick fix and inspired from the idea of anime audio drama CDs, the idea of a radio play was introduced. The radio play partially solved many issues fans had -- now, with basic equipment and a nice story or script, they could create their own "series" without the time consuming task of animating frame-by-frame. Many fans flocked to the Anime Web Turnpike, which eventually formed a Fandub/Radio Play category.
AVAs Michiru and Laura formed the Voice Acting Resource Center (VARC) as a common gathering place for fans looking to break in to the AVA scene. Hosting for the VARC began with Xoom.com in 1998, until its final days on Redrival in 2001 when scheduling conflicts prevented Laura and Michiru from updating and moderating the site. The VARC contained a constantly updated listing of radio plays and voice overs, as well as tips, tricks, rants, and even the foundations of VA etiquette.
Silent Dreams (SDUBB) and FLAVA Edit
During the last few months of the VARC, another board with similar interests called "AVA no Yume" (English Translation: AVA's Dream) came about. Silent Dreams was moderate by a core group of VAs (the second wave of "oldies"). SDUBB was hosted on aitenshi.nu -- a collective site owned by established AVAs Tom Galang (now a designer), Pixie (practicing artist), Marcy (professional stage actress), and Malanai. With a majority of SDUBB members already involved in the AVA community, a category was set up devoted just to AVAing (project advertising, auditions, etc...) -- however, the SDUBB was never intended to be a replacement for the VARC.
A second community/AVA web clique was later formed known as FLAVA (Fine Lookin' Amateur Voice Actors) on the website http://www.filette.net. This group became a new community, eventually relocating to http://www.laflava.com. FLAVA was run by Christine Lee (pro-voice over in Canada). FLAVA was a place for "newbies" to sharpen their AVA skills and meet others with similar passions.
Around 2001 there was a massive shift in authority; the "original" amateur voice actors (the oldies) left the AVA world en masse. One reason for this is "growing up". Many of the oldies started in their pre-teen years. Now, they were going away to college, starting their professions, tiring of old hobbies, moving around the country, etc. Aside from Tom Galang, the owners of SDUBB retired from the community. SDUBB attempted to reinvent itself a number of times under Tom's watchful eye as the VAMB and under other aliases, but it did not stick. Eventually, aitenshi.nu died, as did the SDUBB.
Meanwhile, FLAVA was flourishing. The active member count was at an all time high, and new productions were completed weekly. However, Christine Lee left the amateur community to concentrate on her career. As a result, FLAVA suffered from a nearly life-ending server crash in 2002. Over the next few months, members such as Matt Cruea and Sapphira would attempt revivals with little success.
As FLAVA and SDUBB fell out of the social scene, the Voice Acting Alliance (VAA) rose. With the mass influx of members from FLAVA and SDUBB, the VAA, which had been a smaller forum with few devotees, gained new status as the conglomerate resource center / voice acting forum.
Other AVA Internet Communities Edit
A recently formed community (December 2004) is the Voice Acting Club (otherwise known as the Newgrounds Voice Acting Club) established by Kagome. Beginning life as a single thread on the Newgrounds forums, it expanded and spun off into a forum in its own right: becoming a popular site for flash artists searching for voice over talents unaware of talent pools outside of the VAC.
Quite a few AVAs have gone on to do professional work, and the opposite is also true as a few professional voice actors have found times to visit the communities. The life of the AVA community is a fluid one, moving to the buzz of new media, better, cheaper equipment, younger generations, and Internet trends.