To Lip Sync or Not to Lip Sync?

August 7, 2009 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment

A Critical Question, an Expert Answer. But to understand my incredibly relevant solution, I suggest you watch these two videos first:


Guess which one wins? That’s right. The second one. You know why? because it’s tasteful. Cataracs, you failed. Too bad, because that song is fucking catchy. Next time you’re making a video and you’re debating whether to lip sync or not, ask these important questions:

1) Is lip syncing relevent to the story and/or location? If not, then skip it. Unless the lyrics are just so completely the opposite of what you’re trying to go for, ie: a song about slaughtering someone set in a field of flowers, then go for. It’s just crazy enough that it might work. Having hot chicks try and kill you is just too painfully close a real club experience for my taste.

2) Do your lyrics even mean anything? Are they particularly deep and verbose, or just plain formulated for maximum air play? If you’re not attached, then drop ’em in the vid.

3) Can you sing while acting? It sounds easy, but multi-tasking in front of a camera is hard. If you’re not comfortable, like these two clowns clearly aren’t, then don’t even bother. Plus, everyone knows that acting sincere in your own video just makes everyone uncomfortable. That goes for you too, Bono (or maybe it was him wearing a dress? either way, you’ll grimace).

I love the Peter Bjorn and John video because it keeps lip-syncing to a minimum, slipping it in whilst bookending the lyrics with some standard thriller dance moves. I know what some lip sync lovers might be saying right now: “But those two guys in the video aren’t the band members! Of course they shouldn’t lip sync!” It doesn’t matter. They do a good job. Especially since it’s the best Michael jackson homage I have ever seen.

Here are some great videos with lead singers choosing to be interesting in front of the camera rather than obsessed with their shallow prose:

Kanye West- Touch The Sky “I’m leaving on an aer-o-plane”. He’s leaving on an airplane! Get it?
Weezer- Perfect Situation Once again, clever, clever choice of lip-syncing. It lets you breathe in between the words, cutting to interesting things. Not everything in a performance video needs to be sung, and most of the lyrics are performed by a professional actress. Smart.
Familjen – Det snurrar i min skalle And of course, the emmy-award winning master of lip-syncing, Familjen, for using ultra-right wing religious ceremony footage for one bad-ass music vid.


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