I've noticed that in almost every TV show or movie I've ever seen, the audio does not sync up with the actor's jaw/mouth movements when the actor is being filmed from behind. It looks as if the actor is saying something completely different than the audio I hear. It's shocking how universal it is - pick any live-action content and you'll see it at least 90% of the time. Reality shows, comedies, action, it doesn't seem to matter, they're all affected. It's worst in quick cuts. Why is this?

  • 1
    So you are saying that if 2 actors are having a conversation with one facing the camera and one looking away from the camera, the audio seems to be in sync with the actor facing the camera but out of sync with the person facing away?
    – krb
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 21:48
  • Yes - but it's less egregious in extended dialogue scenes than it is in quick cuts. Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 22:05
  • 2
    Without specific examples this is for sure going to get VTCed. However, I do know what you're talking about and whenever I encounter this I always chalk it up to cheap/quick editing. Maybe there was something wrong with the original shot that wasn't noticed at first so they just strip the audio and use a different angle, one that doesn't include the speaker's mouth.
    – Charles
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 2:44
  • 5
    This seems like a completely valid question. People have to start learning at some point, and this could be someone's jumping-off point. Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 8:32
  • 2
    Yeah I’m confused about this being on hold. As someone who has done some audio post work, I can say there is a definite, objective answer to this. Abdnit seems to be on topic. Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 14:55

1 Answer 1


Because the sequences are edited. You may be watching an edit assembled from several takes and entire lines of dialogue may be omitted at the editing stage.

On some shoots, there may only be one camera. This means the scene has to be shot from one angle, performed multiple times, then the reverse shot set up, performed multiple times and an edit assembled, usually from the preferred performances, but sometimes combining different takes if there are any problems.

The use of cutaways and “noddies” - nodding interviewers - is a telltale sign of editing in interviews that most people don’t notice, but once you’re aware of how video is put together, you notice it all the time.

  • 3
    I agree completely. And perhaps more to the point, when editing, the editors are focused more on syncing audio to the lips of people facing towards the camera than syncing it to the jaw movements of the people facing away, since the latter is less likely to be noticed (although some people, like OP obviously, will notice it.)
    – Steve-O
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 13:02
  • 1
    Not sure, but might also mention that in some of those over the shoulder shots, the back of the head we see is often a stand-in for the actual actor.
    – HorusKol
    Commented Aug 1, 2019 at 23:47
  • Also, often when shooting over someone’s shoulder, they are asked to not to face directly person whose face is in shot, but slightly to one side of them. Otherwise the side of their face is not it shot, just the back of their head, which looks odd. Commented Oct 19, 2019 at 19:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .