For a moment of fame on YouTube, past “celebrities” have generally been witty, loathsome or incredibly lucky. Now there’s also lip dubbing.
Rising in popularity at universities all over the world, lip dubbing is the latest trend to hit UC Santa Cruz. A lip dub video features hundreds of costumed students lip-syncing to a song, one continuous and unedited camera shot winding through different areas of a building and millions of hits online.
UCSC Weekend Activities, a student-organized club through OPERS, is bringing lip dubbing to the West Coast for spring quarter. Tony Dianda, organizer of the club, said that no events were organized for this quarter due to fears of further inclement weather.
UCSC’s lip dub video will join the many that can be found online — a quick YouTube search reveals a veritable plethora of other works. These range from the University of Montreal’s library-based rendition of Offspring’s “Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)” to Rosemead High School’s “I Gotta Feeling,” a cover of the Black Eyed Peas’ song.
Dianda said that the club’s biggest motivation is to allow students to reach out and be brought together from opposite sides of campus.
“Because there is no real central part of campus or football games that everyone goes to, meeting people is more difficult [than at other schools],” Dianda said. “Anyone can participate in our activities. It’s not targeted towards any particular group. It’s targeted towards everybody.”
Past events hosted by UCSC Weekend Activities have included campuswide games of Capture the Flag and stargazing outings. Their upcoming lip dubbing event is set to take place sometime during the first three weeks of spring quarter.
The event will be free for participants, who can register on the group’s Facebook page.
“Last quarter we tried to do stargazing and ended up with 140 confirmed guests,” Dianda said. “I’m expecting somewhere between 100–600 people for this.”
Students have spent the last month voting on the group’s Facebook page for the song they feel would best represent Santa Cruz. After much deliberation, Smash Mouth’s “Walking on the Sun” lost to the B-52s’ “Love Shack.”
Third-year Robert Culpi, the organizer of the UCSC event, said he first had the idea of staging the lip dubbing event after watching one of these videos.
“My friend suggested I try to do it myself,” Culpi said, “but I quickly realized that it was far too big of a project to do on my own. I realized I needed a bigger group to get it going so I handed off the idea to the UCSC Weekend Activities club by writing on their Facebook wall.”
For the UCSC Weekend Activities’ lip dubbing project, Dianda has brought together a small team of about eight people, whose jobs include makeup, costume design, choreography and filming.
Second-year America Whitten, the advertisement director, said she is doing everything she can to publicize the event.
“We will be tabling, putting up posters, making announcements in lecture halls and sending messages via Facebook,” Whitten said.
The team said the hardest part of organizing the event has been choosing the location where the filming will take place. After much debate, OPERS was selected as the best location for filming, narrowly edging out the Music Center. Film director third-year Andrew Burgher had the final word on choice of location.
“We chose that location mainly because the area there has a lot of places for us to move around in,” Burgher said.
Burgher hopes to mesh the past styles of lip dub videos — such as filming in large spaces — with “a little twist of Santa Cruz” by potentially adding in shots of the bay and campus.
As the videographer, Burgher said one of the most challenging aspects of filming a lip dubbing video is producing one continuous take.
“To make it possible, I will be using a Steadicam,” Burgher said. “To pull this off successfully, there will have to be a lot of moving parts working in unison — this meaning that all logistical elements of the production from camera and crew to sound and choreography will have to be prepared, practiced and rehearsed.”
Efficiency and practice are key to the success of a lip dub video, which demands split-second synchronization, hundreds of props and personnel and zero errors in the final cut, so at least one pre-event meeting will be arranged. There will be a preset path and specific casting for each particular moment in the song.
Culpi, who had the idea to create this video, said the project is in good hands and could be quite successful.
“The team that I met with are all really approachable,” Culpi said, “and I feel they have a good handle on the event.”