You should have almost no lip flap in any story….EVER! (ok, almost EVER)

Almost no Lip Flap

I have a video editing pet peeve called lip flap.  Lip flap is when you take a shot, and the person or persons in the shot is talking while there is narration.  Maybe they are talking to the reporter or another person in the shot.  What they’re really doing is distracting the viewer.  Anytime I see a shot like this edited in a story, I think it’s very distracting.

I’m trying to listen to the narration, and I’m trying to listen to what the person in the shot is saying.  All that listening and I’m retaining hardly any information.  I don’t see lip flap nearly as much as I used to, but I did notice it in this recent CBS Sunday Morning segment on Matzo.

 Go to [1:40] into the story. Her narration returns, and she’s talking on camera.  This is very distracting.


I try and avoid lip flap.  I think you need to avoid lip flap.  Here a story where there could have been lots of lip flap, but there isn’t.  Why?  Because I don’t like lip flap!

The following story is Passion Parties

Watch the story first, then continue with this blog entry.


As you can imagine, the ladies talked a lot throughout the entire party. I simply chose edit points to eliminate any distracting lip flap.  Watch it again.  There are plenty of opportunities in the raw to choose from with no lip flap.  I still show the enjoyment of the passion party just with no lip flap.  Ok, well, almost no lip flap.  If you go to [1:23], I do have a shot with lip flap.


Here is an excellent example of an edit decision I made in which a lazy edit of lip flap could have been made.  Got to [1:51] into the story.  I show a quick shot of the host.


I make an edit when she’s NOT saying anything.  Simple edit decisions like this take away distractions from the viewer.

At [1:57], I do have another edit with lip flap, but I choose to back-time a soundbite over not having lip flap.  Since I’m talking about this story, I thought I’d just mention two more elements that make this story work.


How often do you see stories on the air that, when appropriately edited, get you intimate with the information?  This is one of those stories that needs intimacy.  How do you get intimacy?  You do it with tight shots.

Sometimes extremely tight shots as to avoid future conversations with a Producer or News Director.

As you can see, I had to use shots that gave the viewer enough information to process what they were seeing, without being obscene.  This was a very challenging edit.  Next time someone asks you how important tight shots are, show them this story about Passion Parties.  After you watch, have a conversation about a critical tight shot in EVERY STORY.


Oh, and don’t forget in that next story you edit with all those tight shots  NO MORE LIP FLAP!

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