Reflection Of The Lip Sync Task

Posted: September 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Green Day

Green Day

During the Lip Sync task our group encountered difficulties from the very beginning. Firstly, we all had different music tastes, so it was really hard to choose a song and focus on it. After a while we managed to brainstorm ideas and find a song we all liked and knew well enough to learn the lyrics in a short amount of time. We chose ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ by Green Day, however this actually wasn’t the best choice as all our group were female, so in the video itself it was obvious we were all simply lip syncing, when it comes to our real task though this may change because our groups will change so gender of the singer may not be an issue.

Once we had finally chosen a song, we set about filming. We knew we had to put thought into framing and negative spaces within a shot, because with the A2 course more attention to detail is needed in the cinematography phase in terms of planning and execution.  It was also part of our criteria to film in three different locations. With our preliminary task these weren’t very thought out. We chose the areas that were most accessible and ideal for filming in the time we had to prepare the task. These locations didn’t exactly fit in with the song and seemed random in the final piece. In the future when preparing our real video shoot, much more preparation and thought will go into the location of the filming as locations are a huge part of communicating to the audience, certain messages/themes/ideas that song contains as well as entertaining them and holding their attention.

Also, throughout the filming process we found it very hard to actually lip sync the song without being obvious. When in outside locations we had no means of playing the song on external devices, because only two of us had the song on our iPods which resulted with no loud speaker for playback. This limited us when filming because if the location was outside, the iPod earphones had to be used so we were in time with the song. This made it look obvious that we were singing along to the song instead of actually performing it which is the goal in a real music video. We did attempt this, just as a mock up for attempts in A2 but as we suspected, having to use the earphones put a block on how much we could do within the shots. Luckily since our previous shots didn’t involve much physical activity, it blended in with the overall style of what we attempted to show in all four locations we filmed in. We had aimed for a motionless, solitary style placing the person within the shot on their own which was sometimes combined with the use of negative spaces to convey a lonely mournful effect on the audience.  In the shots where we were situated in the same place as a computer, we were able to easily perfect the lip syncing technique because we could hear the cues within the song for the start of lyrics better as it was louder, and the others in the group could sing along too in order to help the person being filmed if they forgot some of the words.

When it came to the song choice, there were a few revelations that were made. ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ has a very long instrumental and a shorter one featured in the middle parts of the song. We only realised half way through the filming process that we needed to come up with something to fill this gap, seeing as we’d decided that we were going to use a lot of motionless, emotional close ups and mid shots on the ‘singer’ when the lyrics were sung. We were aware that an instrumental would be boring if the star was just sat there staring out into space, so we filmed a variety of black and white pictures from Google images on the subject of WWII as ‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ is quite a political song about war. However, due to the lack of planning surrounding our preliminary task, we realised when it came to the editing stage, that there were numerous gaps between lyrics that needed ‘interesting’ montages like one we’d planned for the larger instrumental. We had a very limited filming time, so this left us with no option of re-filming different pictures. We had to simply recycle footage and repeat it over again; unfortunately this re-use of the pictures resulted in a loss of impact and became the opposite of what we’d wanted to be as it was predictable and uninteresting after the third time of being shown on screen.

When we were editing, as the main editor I found it incredibly hard to stop and start cuts from the footage at the right place. It was safe to say that when done efficiently the cinematography stage was a lot quicker than the editing stage, and as a pre-cautionary for the actual product I have made a mental note that all filming should be planned to the nearest detail, just make this process even quicker, allowing for extended time in the editing suite.

Another problem we encountered whilst filming was discovering the hard way about the amount of emphasis you had to put onto each word whilst singing/miming the song. In the shot where one of our group members was positioned against a wall, the lip movement is significantly smaller and more unnoticeable than in the rest of the video. This was because, even though all of the group loved the location choice and framing in the shot, nearly all the footage was unusable due to the fact you couldn’t see her lips moving, therefore you couldn’t tell if she was singing the song or not. This made it look unprofessional and confusing as well as making it near impossible to edit the footage into the right place within the song. The latter was mainly due to the fact that she wasn’t singing the song aloud as well. When we were editing we had to try and lip read in order to line up the footage. This brings me to the next point, when it comes to the final product, the volunteer to be our star will have to be confident enough to sing the lyrics out loud in public locations as well as performing the song in the camera to make it realistic and appealing to the target audience we choose. We must also make sure to inform our ‘star’ to clearly articulate the words within the song, however if they’re singing it aloud this should hopefully come naturally anyway.

Also whilst making the preliminary exercise we encountered a few marketing issues. We hadn’t really thought about anything other than the practical side to the video, so issues like what shots we were going to take and the framing took higher importance than taking into account the more business like ideas behind a music video, like the marketing values, entertainment and enjoyment factors, and certain aspects of a music video that made it interesting like star image. Due to this lack of thought, we ended up with three different shots of stationary people merely lip-syncing… However, I believe that making this mistake was actually needed, so that when we reviewed our own music video with our teachers we could clearly see how to improve our own work. This was needed because with these mistakes fresh in our mind the real product would be made to a much more professional standard with these ulterior ideals planted at the forefront of our minds when planning it.

‘Wake Me Up When September Ends’ – Green Day

In the feedback session with our tutor, she pointed out a few routine things with our filming process. After musing over this feedback we came up with three main points we needed to think about when filming the actual product. We needed to put thought into public places, if there was a road nearby, or a path, we needed to film away from those areas so that no one could disrupt the shots or put the people being filmed off. We also took on board advice about continuity and being precise when filming so that errors with continuity wouldn’t occur in the final product, and lastly we all wanted to make sure that we had taken multiple shots of the same person singing the song – at least three times through the whole song. Due to the fact we had three ‘artists’ this when put into the context of the final thing would equate to three run throughs of the song at every location used, so that when we came to editing, we had ample amounts to switch between so we didn’t end up with unusable or less than satisfactory footage.

Overall, for the time we had to produce the preliminary task, I believe we all worked well and that even if the outcome was not exactly what we wanted we learnt a lot of valuable and necessary lessons in order to get our final product up to a much higher standard. I think we were successful with editing in terms of managing to get the lip syncing footage precise, although we were conscious of needing to add more transitions and effects into the final piece to give it a more professional edge.

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