Frankenbiting (also commonly referred to as franken-edits) is a phrase to describe a line that has been edited together from multiple pieces of dialog. If an interviewee didn’t say the line you want, you may be able to cut together various parts of their recording to “manufacture” that line.
It’s best to avoid Frankenbiting when possible, as it can be difficult to maintain a natural sounding delivery. That said, sometimes it’s needed for the narrative goal of a project. Here are a few tips for creating clean Frankenbites:
Avoid tonal shifts – One of the clearest examples of a messy Frankenbite is a big tonal shift in the middle of a line. Listeners will notice if a line delivered in a slow, low voice is suddenly spliced together with a fast, higher pitched delivery. Try to find bites that have a similar tonality and delivery when possible.
Edit on consonants rather than vowels – There are some vocal sounds that are better suited to editing together than others. In general, vowel sounds are difficult to edit together in a natural way. Since vowel sounds feature more tonal content than consonant sounds, any shift in the tonality between the edited lines will be noticeable. Conversely, consonant sounds like esses , th’s , and hard k’s and t’s are easier to cut together naturally. When possible, try to create edit points on consonant sounds rather than tonal, vowel sounds.
Evaluate if the Frankenbite is worth an unnatural sounding line – While you may technically have the words needed to manufacture a particular line, there may be no reasonable way to make that manufactured line sound natural. If you find this is the case, it may be worth reevaluating how important it is to the overall project to have that line. If it’s essential to your narrative goals, it may be worth having a brief bit of unnatural dialog. If it’s just a small change, that frankebite may not be worth alerting your listeners to a funky edit. Depending on the importance, it may be worth contacting the original actor/VO artist to see if they can re-record the line.