UBC Lip Dub goes viral

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Back in 1959 if a Magee graduate was moving on to university in BC there was only one choice: UBC. Even UVic was just a college of UBC until 1963, and SFU, UNBC, Trinity, and our province’s recently upgraded colleges were years away from opening.

University math was also simple back then. A year’s tuition in most UBC faculties cost $252, and a case of Old Style beer was $2.52. Those of us who have helped our children with university decisions and costs are well aware that academic options, tuition fees, and beer prices in Canada have changed dramatically. With all this progress, I wonder if anything has been done to make the dash from B lot to Buchanan for an 8:30am lecture through a howling November rainstorm any less hypothermic?

Most information a ’59 grad needed to know about UBC was contained in the Calendar, which the Registrar’s office handed out. Now, universities market themselves year-round to build a “brand” to attract students, faculty, and research grants. Simply laying out their entrance and degree requirements in print and on the Web doesn’t cut it. Schools have to constantly create buzz in the traditional media and–especially–online. And that’s exactly what the students who made UBC’s “Lip Dub 2011” have done, with the support of the administration.

The dub phenomenon has been around for about five years, and Googling “best lip dubs” will bring up dozens of examples ranging in quality from “awkward but spirited” to “near professional.” UBC’s effort certainly falls in the latter category, and somehow they managed to pull it off without referring to The Great Trek, or mentioning the venerable motto Tuum Est.

The originator of UBC’s production, who got inspired after seeing a UVic dub, defines the phenomenon as a style of video shot for YouTube in the hopes that it will “go viral” and attract thousands of viewers, especially students who might be considering, or even attending, other universities. Mission accomplished, it would appear, as the dub’s hit count soared well over a million in just six weeks. It’s done much to strengthen UBC’s existing community, too, and raised some money for the Make A Wish Foundation.

The cast is a large group of students and community members who rock out in various campus settings to two songs that form the dub’s soundtrack: “Raise Your Glass” by Pink, and “Celebrity Status” by Marianas Trench. Dub camera-work is hand-held, stabilized by a Steadicam, and captures several minutes of action in a single tracking shot. Orchestrating such long sequences requires phenomenal planning, coordination, and patience.

After a cheeky spoken intro, the dub’s action starts in front of the old Library building, which is now the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, housing Arts One, Science One, and other innovative programs, signifying how UBC and other universities are evolving. Oh, and the dub is best viewed full-screen with the sound turned ’way up.

Related Links:

UBC Lip Dub on YouTube Music: “Fill Your Glass”, by Pink; “Celebrity Status”, by Marianas Trench.

The Making of the UBC Lip Dub This clip shows UBC’s camera and sound gear, and the shooting process, plus a few bloopers and outtakes.

Official UBC Lip Dub website Some interesting background info here, but it’s better to view the dub itself on YouTube, where there are no pop-up ads.

UVic’s Lib Dub The one that inspired UBC’s.  Music (mellower than UBC’s choices–it is the Island, after all):  ”Haven’t Met You Yet”, by Michael Buble; “Never Gonna Give You Up”, by Rick Astley.

Vanier Secondary Lip Dub High schools are also producing dubs as spirit-builders. Here’s the one from Georges P. Vanier Secondary in Courtenay, where I taught for 22 years.  Music: “Ordinary Day”, by Great Big Sea.

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One Response to UBC Lip Dub goes viral

  1. Barry Rhoades says:

    Great post Brent! Who would guess that the Lip Dub was shot in one day and was an off-shoot from UBC’s Recruiting Office and not the SUB Pub … or that UBC tuition fees (First Year Arts now $4,800) have gone up much faster than the price of beer (Molson Canadian now $21.49).

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