Hier soir c'était une bonne soirée!
February 8, 2022 11:28 AM   Subscribe

Twelve years ago, to celebrate their initiation week, 172 communications students at the University of Quebec at Montreal decided to put on a show. After weeks of preparation, the costumed and prop-wielding crowd enacted an exuberant, complex, and flawlessly-choreographed performance of the Black Eyed Peas song "I Gotta Feeling" that sprawled through the campus's multi-story Judith Jasmin Pavilion... and they did it all in one continuous take (on their second try). A look behind the scenes. A decade later, a new student body recreated the spectacle with a new song. It was the capstone on a long-running fad called lipdubbing -- a video phenomenon where a single camera moves through a crowd of highly coordinated lip-syncers in a single seamless take, with the original recording dubbed over the finished product.

Though the basic concept was pioneered by viral videos like the Numa Numa Dance and OK Go's "Here It Goes Again", the current model for lipdubbing was conceived by Vimeo founder Jakob Lodwick, who coined the term after dubbing a recording of himself singing "Endless Dream" by Apes & Androids (video sadly lost to linkrot). According to technical writer and blogger Tom Johnson's analysis of the video, the best lipdubs appear "spontaneous, authentic, participatory, and fun." Lodwick's video was followed up by CollegeHumor staff doing their rendition of Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta" [previously]. In 2010, even The Office got into the act.

The technique soon exploded in popularity -- everything from web magazines to TV studios to hospitals to entire cities got into the act. But perhaps no group took to lipdubbing better than universities. Following the lead of The University Lipdub Project (original video), colleges from multiple nations adopted lipdubbing as a way to showcase their campus life and school spirit:

School, Nation - Video info - Song

Institut Universitaire de Technologie de Rouen, France - 140 people - "Thriller" by Michael Jackson
HEC Paris, France - 120 people - "Lollipop" by Mika
l'Université de Poitiers, France - 56 people - "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" by the Scissor Sisters
Mines de Saint Etienne, France - "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" by the Scissor Sisters
IUT Belfort/Montbéliard, France - 353 people (a world record) - "La Confession de Monsieur Connard" by Les Tock'art
HEC Montréal, Canada - 150 people - "Mamma Mia" by Abba
Ecole Polytechnique, France - "Love Is All" by Roger Glover
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany - "LMU" (original song)
IHECS, Belgium - 100+ people - "Banana Split"
European Business School, Germany - "Tell It to My Heart" by Dyane Taylor, "I Get Around" by the Beach Boys
ESC Dijon, France - 95 people - "Working Together" by Gonzales
Essec Business School, France - 200 people - "Let's Get It Started" by the Black Eyed Peas
Emlyon Business School, France - 300 people - "Pop the Music" by Triim, "Video Killed the Radio Star" by Buggles
ENSIC, France - 85 people - "Hot N Cold" by Kate Perry
Campo Limpo Paulista College, Brazil - 56 people - "Ultramen" by Santo Forte

And as the lipdub spirit filtered down to high schools, such as this medley from South Lyon HS, the enduring popularity of the trend likely presaged the rise of the most globally successful lipdub platform of all time: TikTok.
posted by Rhaomi (14 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
[Original discussion - part of #DoublesJubilee!]
posted by Rhaomi at 11:28 AM on February 8, 2022

This is so much fun, and I can't wait to watch all the other videos.

But also, it's physically painful to watch something like this, note how dated the fashion/hair look, and realize 2009 was 12 years ago.
posted by lunasol at 11:45 AM on February 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

I absolutely must get in a plug for my daughter’s old high school, who put together this excellent thing a few years ago, with less lip synching but more enthusiastic dancing.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 11:49 AM on February 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

I still love these - there's something so heartwarming about them. The best ones have a contrast of a good plan and buy in, and yet remain "spontaneous, authentic, participatory, and fun." I'm just a sucker for people doing harmless dumb shit, together. I love when you can really see and feel the "OOH, what if we..." lights having gone on in people's minds.

A favorite I remember from when this was all big: Shoreline doing You Make My Dreams Come True, backwards. It's got all the things that are fun about these, in spades.

Also, I kind of remember MetaFilter talking about trying to do one of these (remotely, each volunteer gets assigned a line) but we couldn't settle on a song. But maybe I'm thinking of something else...
posted by dirtdirt at 12:05 PM on February 8, 2022 [6 favorites]

Lipdubs are "original promise of the internet" stuff, too great not to be stabbed in the crib by the copyright industry. So nice to revisit the survivors, the energy and enthusiasm is refreshing!
posted by rhizome at 12:45 PM on February 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

Didn't understand what was supposed to be special about this then; still don't understand it today.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:08 PM on February 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

Doing all this in a single take is actually quite difficult; there's a reason some Hollywood directors insist on including one-takes in their films even if they aren't strictly necessary, as a feather in their caps. This is a bunch of amateurs.

Young people being enthusiastically goofy about being young and carefree warms the withered hearts of at least some of us middle-aged to olds.
posted by praemunire at 1:14 PM on February 8, 2022 [11 favorites]

This is a really good snapshot into the hair and outfits of 2009. A lot of big flowy scarfs over short-sleeve shirts!
posted by StopMakingSense at 1:50 PM on February 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

I look back on this craze fondly. Simpler times.

This is my university's at the time - UBC LipDub - Raise your Glass & Celebrity Status. Featuring 1000+ people and fairly impressive! Oh the nostalgia.

(Pretty cringey meme references though)
posted by lookoutbelow at 3:57 PM on February 8, 2022

Awesome meme references, you mean!

Only version better than this is when Grover was on a horse - moo! - cow.

The UBC one is deeply impressive, though obviously not one cut and with a much bigger budget.
posted by jb at 6:13 PM on February 8, 2022

Rhaomi, you've made my day. Guessing that you may do so 19 more times this month.
posted by martin q blank at 10:00 AM on February 9, 2022

Didn't understand what was supposed to be special about this then; still don't understand it today.

thanks for letting us know lol
posted by Sebmojo at 11:23 AM on February 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

thanks for letting us know lol

You're welcome roflcopter?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:10 PM on February 9, 2022

live lipdub marriage proposal is sweet.
posted by vespabelle at 7:10 PM on February 10, 2022

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