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Old January 28th, 2018, 02:38 PM   #1
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Miming, lip-sync and cheating

How do other folk deal with music videos where the people mime to playback? I've discovered some do it brilliantly, others from OK down to awful. Worse is when they then beat themselves up because they see it as really bad and other less, er, musical people, don't even notice.

One today was quite good really, but I just wondered how other people deal with anything less than perfect because it adds so time to a shoot.

I also find it quite tricky when I'm concentrating on the camera, to even pay much attention - and today I leftist to to the guy running the tracks and now I'm seeing annoying things in the edit.
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Old January 28th, 2018, 03:46 PM   #2
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Re: Miming, lip-sync and cheating

there is no reason to "mime" since anybody can play or sing over the orginal soundtrack.
you do not care if they sound good or not, sice record will be dubbed later with good soundtrack (the same used during recording).
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Old January 28th, 2018, 06:14 PM   #3
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Re: Miming, lip-sync and cheating

You can always tell the videos where it is bad or shot on a DSLR that is not too sync as there is a cut every half a second!

Good people will usually sing along with the track but some bands still want it to look bad and naff.

We did loads on The Tube and sometimes we actually recorded the band live first and then did a playback with the track we just did.

Two come to mind and one was an unknown band called Red Hot Chilli Peppers in 1986 and this one which was done in the basement of the old Trident TV studios Dean St London:
She lip synced it perfect for every single pass.

All shot on a single Arri SR16mm camera on a jib and recorded mono on a Nagra then played back for multiple takes. (note no timecode and just 50hz pilot tone sync pulse on camera and sound)

Directed by Geoff Wonfor and Edited by the late Andy Matthews.

Graham Brown on camera with Alastair McKenzie focus pulling and me and Nic Grant on sound.
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Old January 28th, 2018, 06:28 PM   #4
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Re: Miming, lip-sync and cheating

I remember how heavy the Nagra was, but being a perfectionist would rather lug it around than settle for a Superscope cassette recorder.

Andrew
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Old January 29th, 2018, 04:22 AM   #5
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Re: Miming, lip-sync and cheating

The best singers are frequently the best mimers - a broadway, award holding performer who could, when his voice got dodgy use his recorded track from the show a few days before and nobody could tell - even me, knowing he was miming.

The problem I'm having is with people whose timing is a little less precise, shall we say. The time it's taking me in the edit - shifting a 2 second clip forwards or backwards in time to make it match is taking serious time, and some edit decisions are having to be made for sync, not artistic reasons.

It's totally my fault because I should have perhaps paid more attention to the playback when shooting, but too much to do, and I assumed, always a bad thing - that somebody else was keeping an ear on sync.
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Old January 29th, 2018, 04:51 AM   #6
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Re: Miming, lip-sync and cheating

I think the real problem is a more analogue one. You're subsidising the poor lip sync effort of the artist.

Recommend doing an edit on an artistic basis and allowing the sync issues to be seen for what they are. Not only will the artist learn to take it seriously the next time, but they will happily see value in paying for you to mask their Milli Vanilli moments.

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Old January 29th, 2018, 05:36 AM   #7
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Re: Miming, lip-sync and cheating

A public performance is one thing. Where the audience is rarely closer than perhaps several meters away from the performer. The problem comes when you start doing closeups where you can see them as if they were at arms-length (or closer). As with many things, true professionals make it look easy and effortless, leading average people to think "I can do that".
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Old January 29th, 2018, 03:09 PM   #8
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Re: Miming, lip-sync and cheating

Here'e the finished thing, as close as I can get - I can still see a few errors, but I don't think most people will twig.
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Old January 29th, 2018, 04:20 PM   #9
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Re: Miming, lip-sync and cheating

It is fine Paul and I have seen a lot lot worse.

Was this a live performance as we would usually do the big close up as the first (Live) pass and then do others as wider cut-aways.

It may have also helped your edit if you had some close up guitar shots to use as bridges and cutaways, side cheats and even shots from behind would also have helped.

Never sure about shooting up the nose on these type of videos as mics and hardware just get in the way and make it messy and I presume this is ungraded as there are some colour changes but hey it has been know on mainstream videos to have B camera and other cut-aways thrown in as black and white etc so just being picky. Keeping the camera moving on the jib can also help to hide a multitude of sins too.
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Old January 30th, 2018, 01:07 AM   #10
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Re: Miming, lip-sync and cheating

Ha! You got it Gary. The guitar shots got rejected because his fingers were a giveaway close in, I got quite a few comments like, can you lose the shot at 2:57 because I'm playing a downwards Em but the track is an upwards one. As filler it was wasted. Everything was LED bar two dedos, and making the camera on the right match took a number of attempts and this is the closest I got. I split screened the face, and got that the same, but no matter what I did, the lights would not then match?

The rear and side shots revealed too much of the junk, and people, and while they were croppable, from a 4K GoPro hidden on the set, he didn't like them. The junked stuff was all the moving jib shots, but I I didn't shoot enough wide, and sadly I ruined all the high angle stuff because my varifocal glasses didn't reveal the poor focus. Ironically on afterwards did the lighting guy, who had a monitor say he noticed they were very soft.

There is a second lit with blue light, and they did a bizarre thing I've not seen before. You know the vertical smear you get from intense highlights, the LEDs were quite dimmed down and the PWM makes them flicker, but then vertical smear appears as side by side vertical short bands of a different blue that move slowly up the screen like a special effect! Took masks and a lot of faffing to fix that one.

It was all track, I had them a week ahead so a somewhat random recording order.
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Old January 30th, 2018, 04:59 AM   #11
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Re: Miming, lip-sync and cheating

Ha ha well it's all down to the performance then and maybe next time he may like to do a moody travelogue type video with no playing or lip sync to follow.

I saw the other one and have had that effect on my camera too but even worse with some LED uplighters actually pulsing, some were OK and some were dreadful.

Problem with modern CMOS video cameras is that what you see is not what they translate and a UV filter may be needed for some types of lights.

Red has always been a problem even for film and that Cocteau Twins film had to be lit very carefully by Graham as they wanted total Red gel but that would just smear and blow out so a compromise was done.

Red can also be a problem for Sony cameras too as I understand that they don't have an IR filter like my Panasonic P2 cameras do but then people sometimes say that P2 cameras are too green compared to Sony.

Oh well you did your best and it is a shame that you had to bin all the good shots due to lack of ability or understanding that miming can be much harder than just doing it live.
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Old January 30th, 2018, 01:49 PM   #12
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Re: Miming, lip-sync and cheating

Hey Paul,

Nice work. That guy should be very pleased with the end result. There is nothing there for him to complain about unless it was a big budget production and it wasn't.

On the lip sync I think you nailed it. Even when I was looking for it I rarely saw it out of sync. It is never obvious. I think it will not be noticed. Especially today when even the general audience has their brains programed to accept bad sync and unnatural sound by all of the BIG names that put out crap. I don't believe all that many Grammy award winning artists are putting out stuff that looks and sounds much better than yours.

For one of those editing jobs that became a process of elimination (hateful to do) as you tossed stuff out, I still see a lot done right. The exposure balance from his face, guitar, set, and effects lighting is perfect. There is no bright spot all around him from the dedos. It all blends well. The hazers are set just right for background effect and do not interfere with the talent shots. Of course.....the lighting guy looses some of those points for not speaking up on set about what he said he saw. You gave him a monitor. Anyone on my crews can speak up. That does not mean they always do.

I did notice the camera mismatch. But like you said, you got the face right so his shirt is not a big deal.

I like it. I like to see good music videos produced without big studio budgets that can hit the mark. You just made one.

Kind Regards,

Steve
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