Video Dubbing Manifesto

The video genre known as “video dubbing,” or dubbing for short, has a rather short history, and thus is still in its early developmental stages, but has potential to be an influential medium for commentary and criticism while also providing a humorous look on many often overly dramatic aspects of life. Dubbing, also known as rerecording, was first used in films to fill in blank audio, or for translating purposes.  To dub video is to simply record over the original audio with new audio.  The genre of dubbing over footage for the purpose of creating something new was born from this practice of dubbing for the sake of editing.  Before the web, plenty of films were dubbed for editing purposes, and almost any film can found dubbed in another language, so the history of dubbing is vast, but the history of clip dubbing is more specific. The first online dubbed video I can find comes from the YouTube account day job orchestra, and it was uploaded in 2006.  The video is a dub of news footage with several different characters.  The creators were clearly not trying to accurately dub the video, but instead were just trying to be as vulgar as possible in an attempt to be humorous, but they were not successful in this endeavor.

I would surmise that the target audience for dubbed videos was originally young people, due to the vulgarity and lack of editing in early videos.  Young people, when browsing through online videos, are generally more likely to watch a vulgar, less-than-perfect video than an older person.  However, now that BLR has become the main provider of dubbed videos, I would say the target audience has shifted to just about anybody looking for a funny video.  BLR has upped the quality of video and really opened the genre to the general public. There are three main clip dubbers online:  Bad Lip Reading, dayjoborchestra, and jaboodydubs.  Of the three of them, BLR is the most recent on the scene, and clearly the most creative and original of the three.  As well, BLR has the best quality video and audio, and it is clear the BLR puts more effort and thought into their videos than djo or jd.  BLR is also still producing videos, their most recent video having been uploaded on January 15th 2013.

The most famous, and the most creative group that produces these dubbed videos is the “Bad Lip Reading” group.  This dubbing idea is extremely well executed by the BLR group.  A great example of the abilities of BLR is the video “’Herman Cain’—A BLR Soundbite,” in which Herman Cain’s campaign motto is: “Everybody needs toucan stubs.”  Lines like “McDonald’s special.  Give me a large plate.  Then I’ll sing, sing, sing about it” and “Mexican people don’t eat sugar, especially when it’s a mixture of lice and tiger DNA” seem to fit so perfectly with the video of Herman Cain and his actual words, and really allows the viewer to see that not everything is so serious, that if you look closely enough, there is humor in everything.  BLR has the freedom to choose both which clips they want to sue and they have some flexibility with what dialogue they want to sue.  In other words, they have ability to create almost any story line they want to, albeit they are restricted by what words they can use to fit with the mouths of the characters.

The genre of video dubbing has certainly evolved over the years, and I think that the future of the genre lies with Bad Lip Reading.  First and foremost, the genre began with dubbing videos for the sake of editing.  Someone somewhere, at this point not known to the world, began to use dubbing as a story telling technique, and created a genre that that I think is still in its early stages.  Some of the early videos focus on making fun of products through advertising or films that are generally “out there.” Video dubbing is genre that is still young, so no one is quite sure what exactly it is or what it can be quite yet.  Many of the early videos are vulgar and served no real purpose other than to be vulgar.  The vulgarity of the language is only considered funny because it is couple with video of an innocent topic, like the snuggie.  But, newcomers like BLR, are really pushing the boundaries of the genre.  BLR has given the genre some stability and some concreteness.

When done well, video dubbing is a strong instrument for criticism or commentary, and I think that this critical aspect offers the only real, concrete future for the genre.  Unless the genre finds some way to be seen as a medium for social commentary, I think it will die out like most fads do. The genre needs to become a way for people to express any feeling they may have about a film or product, but I do realize that the only way that a dubbed video works is if it humorous.  So, I think that dubbing can actually be useful in pointing out the often over-dramatic nature of certain genres of film, and the often over-dramatic persona of society in general.  It is important to laugh at ourselves every once in a while and realize that everything is not so serious.  Video dubbing offers society an opportunity to step back and take a real look at itself, and realize that there is humor to be found in most things.

The Future of Video Dubbing

The genre of video dubbing has certainly evolved over the years, and I think that the future of the genre lies with Bad Lip Reading.  First and foremost, the genre began with dubbing videos for the sake of editing.  Someone somewhere, at this point not known to the world, began to use dubbing as a story telling technique, and created a genre that that I think is still in its early stages.  Some of the early videos focus on making fun of products through advertising or films that are generally “out there.” An example of this is the following video.

I think that video dubbing is genre that is still young, so no one is quite sure what exactly it is or what it can be quite yet.  Many of the early videos are vulgar and served no real purpose other than to be vulgar.  The vulgarity of the language is only considered funny because it is couple with video of an innocent topic, like the snuggie.  But, newcomers like BLR, are really pushing the boundaries of the genre.  BLR has given the genre some stability and some concreteness.

Bad Lip Reading is different that other producers in the sense that they generally have story in their videos, though at times that is a stretch.  But, BLR has an obvious focus on producing well-made videos that are targeted at a wide audience, not just immature teenagers like many of the original videos.  I think BLR is where the future of the genre lies.  When done well, video dubbing is a strong instrument for criticism or commentary, and I think that this critical aspect offers the only real, concrete future for the genre.  Unless the genre finds some way to be seen as a medium for social commentary, I think it will die out like most fads do.

I’d like to see the genre become a way for people to express any feeling they may have about a film or product, but I do realize that the only way that a dubbing video works is if it humorous.  So, I think that dubbing can actually be useful in pointing out the often over-dramatic nature of certain genres of film, and the often over-dramatic persona of society in general.  It is important to laugh at ourselves every once in a while and realize that everything is not so serious.  Video dubbing offers society an opportunity to step back and take a real look at itself, and realize that there is humor in most things.

History of Lip Reading

Dubbing, also known as rerecording, was first used in films to fill in blank audio, or for translating purposes.  The genre of dubbing over footage for the purpose of creating something new was born from this practice of dubbing for the sake of editing.  The name of the first feature length film that was dubbed for the purpose of creating something new, in other words not for editing, is escaping me now, but I vividly recall watching it as a child and recognizing its creativity and uniqueness.  Before the web, plenty of films were dubbed for editing purposes, and almost any film can found dubbed in another language, so the history of dubbing is vast, but the history of clip dubbing is more specific.

The first online dubbed video I can find comes from the YouTube account dayjoborchestra, and it was uploaded in 2006.  The video is a dub of news footage with several different characters.  The creators were clearly not going for accuracy with their dalogue, but instead were trying to be vulgar in order to give off the essence of humor, which they also failed to.  Clearly this video is an early attempt at clip dubbing, a genre that has now been nearly perfected by BLR.

I would surmise that the target audience for dubbed videos was originally young people, due to the vulgarity and lack of editing in early videos.  Young people, when browsing through online videos, are generally more likely to watch a vulgar, less-than-perfect than an older person.  However, no that BLR has become the main provider of dubbed videos, I would say the target audience has shifted to just about anybody looking for a funny video.  BLR has upped the quality of video and really opened the genre to the general public.

There are three main clip dubbers online:  Bad Lip Reading, dayjoborchestra, and jaboodydubs.  Of the three of them, BLR is the most recent on the scene, and clearly the most creative and original of the three.  As well, BLR has the best quality video and audio, and it is clear the BLR puts more effort and thought into their videos than djo or jd.  BLR is also still producing videos, their most recent video having been uploaded on January 15th

Lip Reading Manifesto

Lip reading videos are any videos that are dubbed with new dialogue.  These videos range from commercials, to clips from films, to clips from political advertisements.  As well, the videos range in how well the dubbing is executed, which is clearly visible when watching the videos.  Lip reading videos serve, for the most part, to simply be funny and mock something or someone.  But, some videos go further than just mocking, and are making the point that some popular films are overly dramatic, and that some politicians take themselves too seriously.  By using original video with dubbed words, the viewer can see that there is actually something humorous to be found in most any film, commercial, etc.  The defining characteristics of these videos are virtually any clips with new dialogue dubbed in.  Some producers choose and cut clips from movies, while others will dub over uncut video.

The most famous, and the most creative group that produces these dubbed videos is the group known as “Bad Lip Reading.”  Video dubbing is extremely well executed by the BLR group.  A great example of the abilities of BLR is the video “’Herman Cain’—A BLR Soundbite,” in which Herman Cain’s campaign motto is: “Everybody needs toucan stubs.”  Lines like “McDonald’s special.  Give me a large plate.  Then I’ll sing, sing, sing about it” and “Mexican people don’t eat sugar, especially when it’s a mixture of lice and tiger DNA” seem to fit so perfectly with the video of Herman Cain and his actual words, and really allows the viewer to see that not everything is so serious, that if you look closely enough, there is humor in everything.  BLR has the freedom to choose both which clips they want to sue and they have some flexibility with what dialogue they want to sue.  In other words, they have ability to create almost any story line they want to, albeit they are restricted by what words they can use to fit with the mouths of the characters.

A couple more great videos from BLR:  Hunger Games and Twilight.

There are other producers of these videos, another being the group with the YouTube account “Jaboody Dubs.”  This group focuses mostly on commercials, trying to point out the ridiculousness of the product being advertised.  A great example of this is the video “Snuggie Dub,” in which they mock the Snuggie.  However, in these videos, it is the narration that is dubbed, not individual characters.  So, these producers have the freedom to choose any dialogue they want for the videos because they do not have to match the dialogue with a characters mouth.  However, when Jaboody Dubs does do have to match words with mouths, they are less accurate than BLR, which gives their videos a less polished feeling.

Another commercial dubbing from Jaboody Dubs:  Loudmouth Leo Dub