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Luc-Olivier Cloutier and Marie-Ève Hébert
Photo : Nathalie St-Pierre

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The lipdub on YouTube

The UQAM lipdub: behind the scenes

Categories : Communication, Students

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The one-shot sequence lasting more than four minutes ended with all participants gathered in the Communications studio.
Photo : Fanny Lafontaine Jacob

Par Pierre-Etienne Caza

The success story of the new 2009 school year is unquestionably the lively, spirited lipdub, a lip-synch video featuring 172 UQAM students filmed at the Communications Department during orientation week. Directed by graduating students Luc-Olivier Cloutier and Marie-Ève Hébert, it has circled the globe on YouTube. The two directors, surprised by the tremendous response, have given interviews on several Canadian television stations (CBC, CTV, Global, TVA, etc.) and even on American news channel CNN.

You can view their lipdub on YouTube by entering the words "lipdub UQAM". But be warned: the dubbed song, "I Gotta Feeling" by The Black Eyed Peas, may be humming in your head for the rest of the day...

"Initially, we just wanted to have fun and were intrigued by the challenge of organizing and producing this kind of project," explains Luc-Olivier Cloutier, who was also cameraman and editor. They met the challenge brilliantly and people are clearly delighted with the results.

Behind the scenes

The idea, launched in the wake of lipdubs made at HEC Montréal last winter, was embraced enthusiastically by the Communications Orientation Committee. The first step was choosing a song. "We considered '1990' by Jean Leloup, but it was too fast," explains co-director, Marie-Ève Hébert.

But the Black Eyed Peas song had all the qualities they were looking for. "It's an up-beat song that was a worldwide hit last summer. The students already knew the words, which made it easier." Not to mention that in the YouTube era, a song like that could snowball on the Web...

In August, the two directors choreographed each line of the song, and planned some of the costumes. They chose a route starting outside the Judith-Jasmin Pavilion and ending in the Communications studio, ensuring that the timing fit the running time of the song, just over four minutes. A week before the shoot, they held a dry run with a dozen people, including Catherine Choquette (assistant director), Antoine Bolduc (production coordinator), Maxime Lamontagne (assistant camera), and Mathieu Potvin (computer graphics and props).

The big question mark was how many people would actually show up on schedule on Thursday, September 10. Although the filmmakers had created a Facebook group (with a project logo courtesy of their colleague Mathieu Potvin), and new communication students had received the words of the song in their orientation package, nobody could predict how many would dare to take the plunge.

"We planned different scenarios, depending on the number of participants," says Luc-Olivier Cloutier, who, as it turned out, had no reason to worry: 172 people responded to the call (about 120 new students, and the rest in second and third year).

One off-camera rehearsal, a dress rehearsal and two takes later, it was in the can… in barely two and a quarter hours. "The participants were really patient and disciplined," notes Luc-Olivier appreciatively. After filming ended, at 6:15 p.m., he added the opening and closing credits at top speed and the lip dup was broadcast on MusiquePlus by 8:30 that same night.

The UQAM effect

Since then, the lipdub has been viewed more than 1 million times on YouTube and has inspired thousands of enthusiastic comments from viewers, including many proud UQAM students. "We've been getting comments from around the world!" exclaims Luc-Olivier Cloutier. "It's a terrific showcase for UQAM." The directors have been approached by two Quebec companies to produce additional lipdubs, and a video production company has contacted them as well. In short, this great adventure has also given them great visibility.

***

What is a lipdub?

A phenomenon that has mushroomed in recent years on the Web, the lipdub is a single-shot music video in which participants lip-synch a popular song. It is intended to demonstrate the creative energy and high spirits of an institution or company.

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Source : Journal L'UQAM, vol. XXXVI, no 3 (5 octobre 2009)

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