USCHS Creates a Lip Dub!


Brady Warmbein, Staff Writer

Anyone at Upper St. Clair High School has probably spoken two specific words in the past month: Lip Dub. But what is a Lip Dub? How was a video of such epic proportions created? I, Brady Warmbein, along with two other students: Nikki Gibbons and Dina Leyzarovich, played a critical role in the production and execution of the Lip Dub. My intent for writing this article is to answer the viewers’ most burning questions and provide insight into just how the “Lip Dub” was created.

The Lip Dub is aimed at advertising the big event at our high school: mini-THON. mini-THON is a student-driven fundraising organization which will hold a 12-hour dance marathon with high school students on April 6, 2018. The proceeds raised during the event benefit Four Diamonds, a non-profit which raises money for children with childhood cancer. Since mini-THON’s origination in 2017, the community knows little about the event itself.

Nikki Gibbons, a chairman for mini-THON’s Public Relations committee, pitched the idea to her other committee chairman, Dina Leyzarovich, Mrs. Tarcson (the assistant Activities Director), Mr. Beck (the Assistant Principal), and myself as an idea for community promotion of mini-THON.

“Originally, I was at soccer practice and we were talking about the new Athletic Director, Dr. Deitrick, and we heard that he did a Lip Dub at his old school, North Hills. I was like, ‘Oh, that’s so cool. I’m going to try to make that happen.’ So, I went and talked to Mrs. Tarcson in September or October and we agreed that this was a really cool idea. This was also around the time that I found out I was a chairman for mini-THON. I ultimately realized that I had some awesome people around me and that they would help me with this and we could work together to make this a huge thing.”

After careful planning, we had to get administration on board for filming this video of epic proportions. Mr. Beck approves the majority of our ideas for mini-THON, so we met with him first. Initially, he was skeptical and worried about the safety and security of students and the logistics for the whole day (the route, the song choices, the length of the video, crowd control during unstructured time, etc.). Any concern or question he had, we had to be well equipped to answer.

However, one of the major decisions a Lip Dub requires is how the video would be filmed. Fortunately, Dina Leyzarovich, another chairman for mini-THON’s Public Relations committee, studied dozens of Lip Dubs around the area and was ready to provide a thorough plan.

“One piece of equipment that we used was a Canon XA30 video camera. Mr. Froelich was very generous in letting us borrow that. We transformed a tripod into a monopod because it would have been hard to hold the camera with the legs swinging at your legs. Then, I was filming while Nikki was guiding me through the hallways. We also used Mrs. Tarcson’s Bluetooth speaker to play the audio from.”

“We filmed two takes: the first one was a rehearsal that we basically went through so everyone knew what was going on (we still filmed it just in case). And the second time we filmed it, that’s the one we used.”

Once all of the administration’s questions were vetted, we were ready to share our idea with the students and faculty. With the students, an informational email was sent to each club president and sports captain with a survey asking whether or not they were interested in participating and their song preferences. The faculty was informed by the mini-THON Executive Board at an after-school faculty meeting about the upcoming event.

Many projects followed: the creation of the final audio version of the Lip Dub mashup of 25 songs, determining and drawing the route for the video to be taken, flooding the students and faculty with more emails to create excitement and increase participation, and holding after-school rehearsals with the featured singers.

According to Nikki, “[The route] was really completely random. I was sitting in one of my classes the time before our meeting, and I remember Mr. Beck told me I should have a route picked out and drawn. So, I made it in under five minutes by drawing out a diagram in my notebook.”

Dina added, “We had rehearsals with the featured singers twice in the weeks leading up. The three of us went through a lot to keep everyone up to date.”

Finally, after countless meetings with Mrs. Tarcson, administration, and security, we were ready to launch one of the biggest school spirit events of the year. The filming took less than the two scheduled hours, and the positive responses since the Lip Dub aired December 23 has been overwhelmingly complimentary. The first two hours of school on December 22 were spent filming. Without delay, we began editing and the entire project was completed by the end of the school day. One day later, it was released to the public on Vimeo for their viewing pleasure. And were they please! After the holiday break, Upper St. Clair mini-THON uploaded the video to their YouTube channel for the purpose of spreading it to a wider audience.

Overall, the Lip Dub turned out to be a huge success. Not only was the event a promotion for the high school’s mini-THON, it brought students and faculty together to promote one of the biggest displays of school spirit in USCHS history. And that is priceless. We are grateful to have shared this opportunity with everyone, and we look forward to sharing any other mini-THON related events in the near future. As always: For The Kids!