Lip Dub Filming Persists Despite COVID-19

Edith Holmsten, Staff Writer

Every other year, LASA films a Lip Dub video featuring students and staff lip syncing or dancing to music. Each video is about five minutes long and showcases LASA clubs, electives and school spirit. 

“Dreams” by Beck was chosen as the 2021 song, and the full video was split into 17 different clips that are each less than one minute long. Students participated in this LASA tradition by filming either in-person at school or by submitting videos of themselves in quarantine. The Lip Dub took weeks to produce, but important decisions were made all along the way to create the video, according to senior and Lip Dub director Ella Glasscock.

The process started with Glasscock choosing the theme of dreams because it connected to how this past year has felt. Glasscock said she was inspired by one of her classmates saying that the COVID-19 pandemic felt like a bad dream.

“It just triggered this vision that I had to make a video for LASA that’s a giant dream sequence representing that this whole year has felt like a very strange dream,” Glasscock said. “There have been some good parts of the dream, some weird parts of the dream and maybe some nightmarish parts of the dream, so that’s why we decided on this theme for the video.”

Glasscock also made the choice to use photos of Zoom screens as the connection between each shot to represent the year. She said that she wanted to incorporate Zoom into the video without it being the main element.

“It’s not that we are looking at an actual Zoom screen the whole time, but it is the medium which we pass through in order to connect the scenes,” Glasscock said. “I thought that was super relevant because of the crazy year we’ve had and how much we have been on Zoom.”

After the vision was decided, the Lip Dub crew began to film sections of the video. Audio Video Production teacher Vanessa Mokry said the crew split up the video into different sections to ensure COVID-19 safety. 

“We figured that we would not be able to do it all in one take because we would not be able to get 1,000 kids to come to school one day to do it,” Mokry said. “We just didn’t think that was feasible, but we thought they would come in smaller groups and then we could just put it together.”

The split video changed the schedule of filming, according to Mokry. Instead of working in multiple days to film one video, one clip is filmed in about two hours.

“Usually, when we do a Lip Dub, we get everybody in position for one day, and then the next day we do a dress rehearsal and then the next day we do the real thing,” Mokry said. “Shooting the people that came today, they do all those things on the same day. They figure out where to go. They figure out how to be arranged. Then they do a little bit of a rehearsal, and then they shoot for real.”

Senior and Lip Dub assistant director Melody Main agreed that having separate videos to film has made scheduling film times challenging. Main said that it has been particularly difficult to film larger groups of people.

“We have some really big sets for Theater, Orchestra and Band,” Main said. “Those are big rooms that we have to get permission for. Then the library, the gym [and] lots of different locations that we have to worry about and then also scheduling for teams like the dance team or sports teams, making sure that we’re not overlapping with anyone’s sports practice or band practice.”

While the scheduling portion is difficult, Main said that splitting the video into different parts has allowed for more variety in the video. Each clip can have separate characters and locations, which Main has enjoyed.

“In a regular Lip Dub year, everyone would be lined up in one long stretch,” Main said. “We’re going to just replace that with several smaller stretches that I think will look really nice when all put together. I think that this allows us to be more creative with our concepts because we can change our concepts 17 times and our main characters.”

After the videos were filmed, senior and Lip Dub editor Alexander Smith looked over each take of the videos to decide which would be included in the Lip Dub. Smith used Adobe Premiere, a video editing software, to combine the best takes into one complete video.

“The first step that we are taking is for me to get together with the editors and photographer and a few other people within the crew to pick out the best takes for every day we’ve had to film,” Smith said. “After we have our clips, we’re lining them up in a single file sequence in Premiere.”

With the videos compiled, Smith finalized the video’s audio by removing the background noise. This process is important for cleaning up the video quality, according to Smith. 

“We will most likely cut the audio out of our existing clips and place the song over that so that you can’t hear any of the weird background noises, or you can’t hear any of the directors’ input as we were filming,” Smith said, “so you get a nicer-sounding product to listen to.”

The Lip Dub required weeks of planning, filming, editing and decision making to finalize. Lip Dub filming ended on May 21, and the video is expected to be released during the first week of June. Glasscock said she is glad that the tradition was continued, and she hopes that the video process has helped students connect with each other.

“It’s important to have a Lip Dub in 2021 because for the majority of the year, most everyone has been online for LASA, so this is an opportunity to really bring the school together and have everyone in video,” Glasscock said. “Even though we’re filming at different times, I think it’ll be a great way to showcase the school, and it might even give people a sense of community that maybe they felt they’ve been lacking for this year.”