Advanced TV captures school spirit

Leading   the   Lip   Dub:   Intently filming the 2016 lip dub, Jim Shellard, Student Activities director, and seniors Josh Noll, and George Gould use a golf cart to ensure the steadiness of the footage. The lip dub crew simulated the route every day for three weeks prior to the actual filming of the lib dub in order to guarantee minimal mistakes.

Corey Henry (Etruscan)

Leading the Lip Dub: Intently filming the 2016 lip dub, Jim Shellard, Student Activities director, and seniors Josh Noll, and George Gould use a golf cart to ensure the steadiness of the footage. The lip dub crew simulated the route every day for three weeks prior to the actual filming of the lib dub in order to guarantee minimal mistakes.

Aakash Bhojwani, asst. a&e editor

Teamwork, creativity, perseverance, dedication and flexibility. According to Julie Benca, broadcasting teacher and director of television and film, these skills were all essential for the lip dub crew to create the 2016 GBS lip dub.

According to Benca, the process of making the lip dub started in July with brainstorming meetings between GBS faculty members and advanced television students. Benca says that one thing that made the lip dub different than other TV projects was that many more people were involved.

“They work on a lot of projects […] throughout the year in small groups, but this project was more professional in the sense that it had a much bigger crew,” Benca said. “[The lip dub] had different members of the faculty of GBS giving their advice and giving input, so they had to learn to collaborate and work as a team and […] compromise and […] realize that other people are bringing great ideas to the table and to appreciate that, but also realize when they need to step in and provide their expertise in the area of film and television.”

Seniors Ashley Sklena and Dasha German, lip dub directors, helped establish a route for the lip dub. They, along with seniors Josh Noll and George Gould, directors of photography, and Benca, simulated the filming several times.

“We practiced after school for three weeks straight just making sure that we were getting to these different points on time and getting there with the music,” Benca said. “[We also made sure] that the camera and the music [complemented] each other, and that if we are taking a turn visually, the song changes at that point, so that it looks good rather than just having the music change at random points.”

According to Gould, the unexpected changes throughout filming were hard for the crew to cope with. But Gould acknowledges that the small mistakes don’t outweigh the great final project.

“Not everything goes to plan,” Gould said.  “I knew every single thing that was wrong with that video, and those were the things that I would focus on when in reality, a lot went right.”

According to Benca, the changes throughout the process, such as route changes and where the performers were being positioned, were a good learning experience for the crew because they learned how to adapt.

“The overall feeling of stress and anxiety […] kind of wore on us during this process, so […] the students and I really had to pick ourselves up and keep moving forward,” Benca said. “There was a lot of changes throughout the process that we had to learn how to adapt [to] and tweak our way of doings.”

On Sept. 16, the crew took two takes with the whole school involved.  While Noll filmed the scene, Gould helped guide him through the school, also adjusting the aperture of the camera. Gould explains that German traveled the route with them and made sure that they were at the right places at the right times.

According to Gould, although the crew went through the route and practiced many times, filming the scene with the whole school involved presented challenges. One challenge was making sure they could hear German and the performers could hear their music amongst all of the noise from the crowd.

“We knew what we were supposed to do, but [during] the first [take], there was so much going on,” Gould said. “It was kind of essentially stunning. I wasn’t able to focus on […] what I was supposed to be doing because there were people who wanted profile shots and were jumping out in front of the camera. There were things in the way because people didn’t really know exactly what was going on. It was kind of like,‘Oh my gosh, this is not what we anticipated.’”

Noll says that filming the lip dub felt almost like a blur, and he was very focused on the composition of every shot.

“We had practiced [the lip dub] so many times; it was almost muscle memory what I was supposed to be doing,” Noll said. “So you’re not really thinking about that. I was just looking at the monitor the whole time. I didn’t really see anything around me; I just saw what was on the camera.”

According to Gould, the school’s inconsistent lighting posed a challenge. Some hallways are darker than others, and it is important that the lighting was consistent throughout the video. To accomplish this, Gould had to adjust the aperture of the camera when lighting changes occurred. According to Gould, he did not accomplish this task free of mistakes.

“I accidentally closed the [aperture] on the camera twice throughout the lip dub,” Gould said. “The screen went black for about three frames twice, but we took clips from the first run through and edited it in and had to make it a smooth transition, so no one would notice. That took maybe three hours alone just to fix that half a second of mistakes.”

In addition to the shoot with the whole school involved, a drone was used for the Youth Services, football game, and pool shots. Senior Cameron Daly operated the drone. He says that he had about three months of experience using a drone beforehand.

“Before each shot, I had anywhere between three or four practice shots just to make sure I had the motion right […],” Daly said. “For the football game, we did that shot three different times and picked one. For the more difficult shots, like the inside the pool one where it zooms out to the girls on the pizza, that took around five tries to get it perfect.”

Gould explains that during the editing process, it was important that transitions were seamless. Gould said that one example of this was during the pool scene when the camera switches from a drone to a GoPro, but the crew was able to make it seem like the same camera. Both Noll and Gould express that they felt relief as the video was being edited and things were going well.

“It used to be [that] we just had a blank empty project file with all the music underneath it,” Gould said. “Now, things were filling in, and it was like putting together a puzzle where it was a lot of work and a lot of time. But it’s pretty relieving to be almost done or be done and be able to watch it and be like, ‘This is what we’ve been waiting for over a month.’”

According to Benca, the lip dub crew’s work on the lip dub reflects their capability of doing professional work and working with a big crew. She says that one huge strength of the group was their ability to work well as a team.

“If they didn’t work as a team as well as they did, this could have really fallen apart, but that group was dedicated to creating a high quality product together and doing whatever they needed to do as a team to get the job done,” Benca said.