The term ‘lip sync’ might conjure up fabulous Queens in their overly exaggerated make-up, most famously shown in the popular reality competition TV series ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’. However, lip syncing has existed for a long time, and has numerous uses and applications besides drag.
What is Lip Syncing?
The official definition of the verb ‘lip sync’ according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is : “to pretend to sing or say at precisely the same time with recorded sound”. In the entertainment industry, besides it’s prevalent use among drag performers; it has often performed for a mocking pantomime effect. Also, since the audio and video parts of a music video are separately recorded, artists are often miming during the recording of their video clips, in sync to an audio track of themselves. It is also an important tool in the post production phase of film production. Some might even consider dubbing films in a different language to be a more complex form of lip syncing.
A Brief History
The first prominent use of lip syncing was during the 1940s – where popular artists recorded ‘Soundies’ for their fans to listen to and watch on coin operated movie juke-boxes. This phenomenon is long gone, possibly living only in the memories of baby boomers and in historical articles on the pop culture of the time. In the following decades, with the rise in popularity of television; many shows were produced with lip synced performances from various artists. Lip syncing was especially prevalent due to issues with royalties and the logistics. The practice eventually grew more and more controversial – most famously the German-French R&B duo ‘Milli Vanilli’. After their initial international success, they fell into infamy when it was revealed that they had never sung any of their songs; rather they simply lip synced.
Lip-Sync in Popular Culture
When used by performers during live performances, fans are often not pleased. However, a few forms of lip syncing are popular – most notably Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Lip Sync Battle’ and lip syncing by TikTokers. The first is a segment of late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon’s show – whereby he challenges his celebrity guests in a face-off of lip syncing to popular karaoke favorites. In fact, the segment was so popular that it was turned into its own show that debuted in 2015. The show delivered high ratings and had the largest audience of its time slot in eight years.
Far from the celebrity culture of Hollywood, lip syncing on TikTok is something that anyone and everyone can participate in. First popularized by TikTok’s predecessor musical.ly, lip syncing trends followed into the app and grew with Tiktok’s increasing market share of users. There are various types of TikTok lip sync videos, ranging in themes from comedic to tragic, to entertaining.
How to Do a Lip Sync Video
If you are already a TikTok user, you might have probably already noticed how popular these types of videos are. The app contains within it a huge library of songs, and audio snippets such as dialogues from different movies that are available to choose from. Also, from within the app, users are able to edit the video in order to better sync the audio recording to the video – to keep the lips moving in synchronization with the audio record, whatever it may be. Many users, even since the musical.ly phase of the app, have used lip syncs in order to go viral. In fact, some have even resorted to getting followers for musically in an attempt to increase exposure of their accounts on the platform. The process of recording a lip sync video is relatively simple, hence why it is so popular. Users can simply choose from the large variety of songs or other audio snippets from within the camera tab of the app, and then record themselves singing or talking along with the audio. This is followed by editing the start of the audio recording to better synchronize the audio and video together, and then trimming the video file, and the final product is ready. The videos are not only entertaining, but have been used to as marketing tools or as a means by which to spread different ideas.
Technological Uses of Lip Syncing
Besides it’s obvious entertaining value, lip syncing is an important tool that has many useful technological applications. Most notably, it is used in the production of various types of video games – especially strategy games. This is due to the heavy use of sound files to convey information to players, contrary to role playing games that rely on text. It is also used in first person shooter games, as character models are made more and more realistic.
Lip Syncing is both an important tool and fun, entertaining activity. Although it has only a few uses, they are crucial for their applications.