Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Read my lips

So, it was reported today that the little girl who sang during the Olympic Opening Ceremonies was lip synching. There has been alot of angst and hurt feelings over this. . . .and my response is. . really?? you didn't know??

The fact is that most large stadium/t.v. performances are lip synched. There are a few reasons for this.

1) when you perform at a large stadium, the slapback from the house sound system is so disorienting, that you get confused and can't stay with the music. . . if you were singing live.

2) There would, most likely, not be enough time to set up mics/bands/equip/ for so many performers and put that all through 1 sound system. Its not impossible,. . but just completely unwieldy to get together for a half-time show, for instance.

3) The sound quality of most "live" recordings that are completely live. . . . is not good. From time to time, folks shell out the money for a live recording and they bring extra equipment and it sounds acceptable. (folks still usually go into the studio later and overdub vocals and fix certain parts, etc. . . )

4) Mixing for t.v. is hard. . . . notice how most bands sound terrible on Jay Leno or Letterman.

Also, when you sing. . .you have to breathe occasionally,. . . you can't jump up and down and run a marathon while singing (hello Britney spears). . . .and for men , your adam's apple will move, and the muscles in your neck will flex.

So, when you watch people sing on t.v.. . just watch, listen and see if it matches up. Just because someone has a mic, does not mean you are hearing them. :)

Also, when you move around in front of a mic,. . your sound changes. So, listen and see if their volume is going up and down as they move around, turn their head, etc. . . . .

The girl from Beijing sounded like she was in the middle of the best recording studio in the world, and was 100% on pitch on every note. :)


The Super Bowl is interesting, because they've done both. Tom Petty was obviously lip-synching last year (his vocals were note perfect, with a certain amount of reverb, and inflection. . . . and oh yeah. . . he backed away from the mic while his note was still ringing :) )

But, a few years ago. . . Sting was completely live. . .and I'm pretty sure Paul McCartney was too (unless his pre-recorded vocals were off on a few notes :) )

So, in the case of a super-huge, international event. . . the artist will sometimes get to do it live.

If you see some dude singing at the Citrus Bowl half-time show,. . . . I doubt it. And, I've never seen a Thanksgiving Day half-time show (or parade) that was not completely lip-synched.

Sometimes, they will setup a smaller sound system within a stadium, and then its alot easier to pull off. Its actually just like having a concert at a regular venue. This is what they do at Colorado Rockies games, for instance.

So, buyer beware.

I'm just here to help, everyone!!!! :)


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