BROKEN ARROW— Broken Arrow High School’s recently released 2015 Lip Dub video has gone viral, with more than 1 million views on YouTube after 12 days since its debut.
The 12-minute video incorporates a variety of Broken Arrow school groups and sports teams lip-syncing to different songs. A few of the tracks include Kanye West’s “All of the Lights” and High School Musical’s “We’re All In This Together.”
At least 2,000 students out of the total 3,600 were featured in the video project.
Broken Arrow Public Schools video production manager Greg Spencer directed and edited the video while video production teacher Nolan Couch recorded it.
Spencer and Couch are both Miami High School graduates and business partners in a company called Dustbowl Digital.
Couch said he used a Panasonic GH4 camera to record the students singing, while Spencer shot with the DJI Phantom camera on a drone.
“The Panasonic shoots really good video and slow motion, as well,” Couch said. “That first scene where the girl is singing in slow motion, we shot that scene in 60 frames per second, which is twice as slow. Her mouth is singing the song at regular speed and to do that, you have to sing the song 200 percent faster. She has to sing it so fast for it look normal. It worked out really well.”
Couch and Spencer worked on last year’s Broken Arrow lip dub video and wanted to make this year’s even better.
“We did a lip dub video last year when I got hired and started in June of last school year,” Spencer said. “The director of student activities came to me and told me about how students in a leadership group wanted to do a lip dub and asked if I would help them film it and edit it. I agreed, and we got somewhere near 75,000 views from last year’s video, which is a good modest number.”
Spencer said the first video was dramatically different than this year’s because he had more control of the planning stages.
“I told them this year if we were going to do another video that I wanted to be in full control,” Spencer said. “We had a meeting with students in July and pitched around ideas and songs.”
After researching and watching other school’s videos on YouTube, the team came up with their own version.
“Last year’s lip dub was filmed on the first week of school, and this one was done on homecoming, so we had a lot of time to hype people up about it,” Couch said. “We had more students and grouped involved with this one.”
The 2014 version was filmed in one shot, while this year’s was shot over a three week period and edited to look like one shot.
“I worked on the one last year, and we wanted to put that video to shame,” Couch said. “We wanted to do the best we possibly could with this one. We expected a pretty positive reaction locally, but we didn’t think it would get as big as it did this quickly.”
After the video was uploaded, Spencer shared it among different media outlets.
“Shortly after being shared by the student body, the Tulsa World and news channels had heard about it,” Spencer said. “It had a local viralness and hit that next stage after USA Today Sports wrote an article about it.
“It was a really cool article, and the video had only been out for two days. He called it the lip dub to end all lip dubs. A week ago, it was shared by seventeen.com, which got the buzz going. In the course of the next few days, it was being picked up by Cosmo, Teen Vogue, MTV and Billboard.”
The video soon skyrocketed to a million views. Spencer and Couch knew the video was going to be a success among the student body but never imagined it would reach national heights.
“In a way this validates other projects we’ve done, too,” Spencer said. “We’ve taken a lot of pride in Broken Arrow and what we’ve been doing video production wise. This caps it off. Not only just video production but our student’s leadership and involvement is at an all time high, too.”
Spencer said their video is the second highest viewed high school lip dub on YouTube.
“There was only one other lip dub from a high school that ever hit a million views, and it has 2.2 million views,” Spencer said. “It was made five years ago in a high school in Washington called Shorewood. As of right now, we’re almost to 1.2 million views.”
The planning stages behind video production also took Spencer three weeks to complete.
“I scripted it out how I wanted it to look, where we should shoot everything and pitched it to the kids,” Spencer said. “In the leadership group, we appointed one kid from each group to be the point man with those teams. They would contact the teams and coordinate it.”
The songs were carefully chosen by students and administration to correlate with that sport’s team or group. For example, the football team is seen singing Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop,” which displays their team’s ambition.
“I know the football team wasn’t too pleased to sing Miley Cyrus, but I think in the end, they were happy with it,” Spencer said. “They’re in the state championship Friday, so I think the combination of that song’s lyrics coincides with the team.”
The production team ran into difficulties with a few of the songs because of YouTube copyright issues. YouTube has prearranged copyright agreements with record labels and reserve the rights to change those at anytime.
“When we planned it out at first, those songs weren’t blocked,” Spencer said. “We had a couple of groups where we ran into copyright issues. Wrestling for example, wanted to do a One Direction song, but it was blocked. It’s funny how it worked out. I think them joining in on Silento’s ‘Watch Me’ song turned out to be even funnier.”
Also seen dancing and singing to Silento’s “Watch Me” are the school’s administration.
“That was all of our principals,” Spencer said. “We have about 10 principals. I tossed them all an email, and they were all on board with it. That was probably the quickest shot we had.”
On Oct. 30, the last scene of the video was shot during an all school assembly during Homecoming week and the students danced and sang to High School Musical’s “We’re All In This Together.”
Students who knew the dance were asked to come to the dance floor. The students practiced their routines and then shot the ending for the video.
“We had three different cameras going for the end scene,” Spencer said. “Nolan was shooting on the floor for some glidecam shots, we had a tripod in the stands, and then I was flying a drone inside and got some cool shots.”
Spencer cut and edited the video using Final Cut Pro X within a week. According to Spencer, a behind the scenes video from the lip dub will be coming out soon.
“We do a show that comes out every few weeks called 'The Pulse,'” Spencer said. “I think it will either be on the next episode or the following one.”
“We’re having some students work on the behind the scenes video as a project,” Couch said. “We hope to have it finished by Christmas break.”
The main goal of the video was to showcase the school and the engagement of their student body.
“I want people to learn that Broken Arrow is a great place to go to school, and there’s a lot of support in the district,” Couch said. “The video was used to create engagement in the school and make kids feel good about going here. I want them to learn to be more involved and enjoy their time here.”
A link to the video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBofJ5uxqFU.