To attempt to adapt the Broadway musical Les Miserables, which clocks in at around 3 hours, into a film is undoubtedly ambitious. Its art design, music, and incredibly intricate plot each offer their own obstacles for movie translation. But Tom Hooper, who showed a skill for costume drama with his Oscar-winning The King's Speech, shocked us all when he added another element to this difficult equation by demanding his actor's sing their performances live on set. This is a rare move for movie musicals, as it runs the risk of seriously straining an actor's voice. But as we saw in the sensational indie musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the results can be remarkable.

Still, in this video—courtesy of Flynet Pictures (via Collider) —be warned, you won't see live singing. As you can hear at the video's start, the production crew is running a playback track for the massive cast to lip-sync along to. However, this doesn't mean the movie won't feature live performances. It's more than likely for this huge crowd scene they favored playback as it is infinitely more practical with so many voices involved, and the difference wouldn't be noticed. And seeing as you can see the camera, this shot doesn't appear to focus on Hugh Jackman's Jean Valjean and Anne Hathaway's Fantine too heavily anyway.

In this second video, Jackman is in a getup that situates him near the start of the story. Here you see him storming out of a church, and actually singing what sounds like the final refrain from "What Have I Done," which ends, "another story must begin."

The camera setup shown here is tighter than the former vid, and Jackman appears to belting it for all its worth. This will surely cut down on the amount of takes Hooper can expect from his cast, but even in this shoddy video form, the effect is electric. While I'm still on the fence about some of Hooper's choices for this musical I've long-loved, the live record idea is inspired. And the video above has me eager to see more.

Les Miserables opens December 14th.

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