Dubbing, Forced Narratives, Subtitling and SDH Creation
US English and German
After Season 1 aired in 2017, 4 Blocks took audiences by storm. Its cast and crew picked up Best Leading Actor, Best Director, Best Score and Best Producer at the 2017 German Television Academy Awards. A year later, Season 2 was hailed the Best Drama Series and also received critical acclaim by the “German TV Oscars”, the Grimme Awards. Further nominations and awards followed for Season 3 in 2019 and 2020.
Currently in its third season, 4 Blocks is a drama following the life of Ali "Toni” Hamady, the leader of a Lebanese crime family and drug cartel in Neukölln, Berlin. Praised for its authentic “street” language, adding an edge and credibility to its storylines, the creators of 4 Blocks sought realism in their work, teaming up with local actors and incorporating their ideas into the production.
Based on the client’s vision and direction, VSI Berlin was tasked with producing a US English dub that was gritty and real, evoking the energy, diversity and flavour of Neukölln’s neighbourhoods and the personalities inhabiting its streets. Although we’ve partnered with WarnerMedia on localisation projects for the past eight years, this was their first American English dubbing project with us.
Knowing that our LA team was more than equipped to create another binge-worthy US English dub, we combined our resources in Berlin and LA to find the perfect cast. We selected actors that we felt could hold their own with the original German cast, ensuring that the English dub would be believable and appealing to both our German client and American viewers. Given the show’s focus on a Lebanese crime family, we also had the task of casting Arabic-speaking actors to bring the characters to life in the dubbed version.
The project management and subtitling process was handled by our team in Berlin. This demonstrated our signature approach of a local touch with a global perspective, as we worked with the client in their native language and coordinated the project from a local time zone. While the German dialogue was being dubbed into English in LA, we created the US English subtitles in Berlin. We worked with WarnerMedia to decide on the best approach for the additional source languages (Arabic, Turkish, Russian and Chechen). These were translated into English as forced narratives, enabling a seamless transition between the dubbed audio and FNs. We also provided German subtitles and forced narratives, allowing German-speaking audiences to enjoy the new English dub.