AHS students compete in ‘Lip Dub’ contest | VIDEO

ARLINGTON — Nearly the entire 1,600-strong student body of Arlington High School donned costumes, tossed confetti, chanted and stomped their feet on Friday, April 20, to show their spirit for a unique contest that will also showcase the students’ video production skills.

AHS’s entry into the “Lip Dub” contest will be screened at Anacortes High School on the evening of Wednesday, April 25, alongside those of the Anacortes, Everett, Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley high schools. Although Arlington’s students and staff coordinated the prep work for their video over the course of the months and weeks leading up to the afternoon of April 20, that Friday’s shooting itself only lasted for two takes, the second of which wound up being used.

Participation in the “Lip Dub,” and the choice of song to which its participants lip-sync, must be approved by school administration. Beyond that, each school’s video must be a single continuous take that is taped on school grounds and makes use of as many students as possible, and school staff are also allowed to appear.

Erik Heinz, who teaches English and video production at Arlington High School, credited the success of the taping to student leadership, as well as faculty support and flexibility. Although only 10 students lip-synced on camera, Heinz estimated that between 1,400-1,500 students crowded the gymnasium, hallways and commons of the AHS facility to perform. Between $2,000 to $3,000 was spent on the taping, but a number of those purchases will yield long-term usage value to the school, including the new stead-i-cam that student Josh Robinson used to shoot the video, complete with the vest, brace and arm.

“We did do two rehearsals with just the lip-syncers and the camera, but with that many students, there was no way we could do a full-on dress rehearsal before the day of the taping,” Heinz said. “Our goal was to get every single kid in there.”

Both Heinz and Robinson were surprised by how smoothly the two tapings went that afternoon, since they lasted less than an hour total and Heinz considered even the unused first take to be admission-quality. As for Robinson, he simply maintained a very narrow focus on his own job.

“I had to trust the people around me enough to assume we wouldn’t trip over each other,” said Robinson, who spent several sequences of the video practically racing down corridors to film as many of his classmates as he could. “I’d never used this equipment before and I’d never done a project like this before, but now I can put it on my resume. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out at first. I wasn’t expecting the chanting at the end to be so loud.”

Danielle Spafford, one of the student lip-syncers, echoed Robinson by admitting that she hadn’t been sure whether they could even pull off the production, due to their inability to fully rehearse the video before the first taping itself.

“We had to cut out a lot of the things we were planning on adding to the video, just because we didn’t time everything right,” said Spafford, who stepped outside of her comfort zone by stepping in front of the camera. “Normally I’m a behind-the-scenes kind of girl who doesn’t like to be noticed, but this just seemed like a whole new experience that not many people get.”

Spafford praised her peers for their team spirit and willingness to collaborate on the video, which she believes helped bolster the school’s spirit in addition to showcasing it.

Katelynn Stovall, who did work behind the scenes as part of student leadership, noted that settling on the final choice of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” was one of the more challenging aspects of the production, because they wanted it to be an upbeat song that everyone would know.

“Everything after that was pretty easy,” Stovall said. “Throughout this competition, everyone stayed positive and there was no trash-talking. Everyone was cheering on everyone else. This was super fun to do, and everyone I know who participated had a blast.”


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