Watch the Detroit Science Center video here.
Three months ago, the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, created a professionally filmed lip dub to promote their city, engage citizens, and have some fun (watch the Grand Rapids video here
A lip dub is a music video of sorts, where people lip sync to a song while constantly moving either outside or through a building, often with the “singer” changing many times during the video, and all done in one continuous, unedited shot. The Grand Rapids lip dub has now had over 4 million views on YouTube. It was produced by the same woman who did the Grand Valley State University lip dub, which is another great example of this type of thing (watch the Grand Valley video here
Detroit Science Center staff were familiar with these two examples and many more, and thus began a hunt to see if any other museum, aquarium, zoo, science center, or IMAX theater had done a professional lip dub yet. We could not find any examples and decided to produce our own version
as both a staff and member event. By including members, we were able to provide another event for our members as a benefit while at the same time getting many more people into the building on the day of the shoot.
The more people the better when it comes to filming a lip dub for promotional purposes. Also, in these hard economic times, when we often cannot afford to do many new projects our staff suggest, this was one example where we could, and it greatly boosted morale.
We used our internal video production team to film and edit the video, thereby radically reducing costs. The filming team was only two staffers and one intern working about 5 hours per week each for five weeks, preparing all the shots, lighting, etc. On the day of shoot they used a Steadicam-like device to reduce the motion while moving throughout the museum filming the action.
The cameraman was closely followed by a person carrying a large boom box blaring out the song “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen, allowing all the characters in the shots to lip sync the words as the camera came by. Another person ran ahead of the camera, advising people it was coming so they could prepare.
We used a few key staffers to do all the hard parts and had all the other staff and members join in as extras, wearing fun costumes, cheering, dancing, using exhibits on the floor, etc.
Lighting was added at key areas where it was dark, the path was tightly scripted to match with the timing of the song, and it ended with everyone gathered on our Science Stage waving and cheering “DSC” for Detroit Science Center.
It took 6 total takes from 7pm till 9pm on a Thursday evening. We fed everyone at 6pm before we started and took a 20-minute break after the fourth take. Editing was easy because it is one continuous shot—all the video editing staff had to do was add the music and the credits at the end.
We had it posted on Vimeo and YouTube within 48 hours, and in 11 days it had over 15,000 views. We got free coverage on several local news stations, in several papers, and were linked on numerous blogs and websites. It was definitely worth it for the free publicity, the boost to staff morale, as a web publicity tool and as a member event.
Senior Manager of Theaters
Detroit Science Center