LipDubbing with Shoreline Schools

ShorewoodThumbI’m not sure what’s in the water in Shoreline, Washington, but I’m telling you we need to get us some. This month we’re starting a three part series based around an incredible story.

First, an amazing video came out of Shorecrest High School, created by a production classshorecrestthumb taught by Trent Mitchell. The video, a lip dub, was one of the first of its kind. Shot in a continuous sequence it incorporated almost every student at Shorecrest lipsyncing to “Hey Ya!” by OutKast. To say the outcome was incredible is an understatement. The video, released in November 2009, drew attention from not only people from all over Washington, but media from across the world.

But here’s where it gets interesting. Trent Mitchell called up longtime friend from across town, Marty Ballew. A production teacher at Shorecrest’s rival school, Shorewood High School, Ballew intently listened to Mitchell’s tale of creating the difficult lipdub with his class. When Mitchell suggested a competition between the two schools, Ballew couldn’t resist. The contest was on. Ballew needed to create a lip dub better than anything Shorecrest could ever produce.

ShorewoodThumbCollaborating with senior student, Javier Cáceres, Ballew and his group of production students created a comeback video to Hall & Oates’s “You Make My Dreams.”

I know, you’re thinking it’s just another school rivalry. But then why has the competition gotten the attention of SVN and the media? Shorewood’s lib dub, produced in December 2009, was done in one take, with almost every student at Shorewood, with a slight twist: It was done completely backwards. Yes, backwards. Their lib dub not only incorporates decent lip syncing, as Shorecrest’s does, but other strange aspects like cards being sucked into students’ hands and scattered confetti being sucked back down to the ground that could only mean the entire sequence was shot in reverse.

Check out the videos (click on the screens above) and think about the possibilities within your own school. Lib dubs are an incredibly fun, easy way to get tons of students involved while offering the potential of incorporating great cinematic effects and creating a beautifully thought-out production.

What exactly is "LipDubbing?"  According to Wikipedia, A lip dub is a type of video that combines lip synching and audio dubbing to make a music video. It is made by filming individuals or a group of people lip synching while listening to a song or any recorded audio then dubbing over it in post editing with the original audio of the song. There is often some form of mobile audio device used such as an iPod. Often, they look like simple music videos, although many involve a lot of preparation and are well produced. The most popular lip dubs are done in a single unedited shot that often travels through different rooms and situations in, say, an office building. They have become popular with the advent of mass participatory video content sites like YouTube. Tom Johnson, a technical writer who blogs about Web 2.0's effect on communication, describes a good lip dub as having the characteristics, or at least the appearance, of:

  • spontaneity: "It appears as if someone thought up the idea on the spot, pulled out their personal video camera, and said hey everyone, let’s all lip sync this Flagpole Sitta song."
  • authenticity: The people, production and situation appear real.
  • participation: "The video doesn’t consist of one person’s spectacular lip sync, but that of a group, all participating together in this one spontaneous effort, which seems to communicate the attitude and mood of the song."
  • fun: the people in the video are having a lot of fun.

Although many readers have shown an interest in possibly creating a lib dub of their own, many worry (or need to worry) about copyright issues. While using any type of music written, played, and produced by someone else you run the risk of violating important copyright protections that could mean serious consequences.

Stay tuned next month for profiles of both schools, how they created the videos, and further information about each school’s video production program.


AmandaHeadShotAssociate Editor, Amanda Lynn Porter has been involved in many aspects of video/film production. Starting a video production class at her middle school in eighth grade, Amanda has always enjoyed every aspect of videography. After producing many in-school productions, including a daily newscast, Amanda branched out and began directing and producing commercials and short films for law firms, intermediate school districts, and various associations throughout Michigan.

 Most recently, Amanda worked for Michael Moore on his latest documentary: Capitalism: A Love Story. You can read her new column, Amanda's Book Nook each month in School Video News.