Want a fresh take on the campus tour online video? Have a look at the University LipDub Project!

September 28th, 2009 Karine Joly 16 Comments

This is one of these posts I have to write as soon as possible.

I was working on my weekly newsletter when I checked very quickly Twitter and saw this tweet from Mike Richwalsky about an online video:

Mike knows online videos, so I checked it out and you should too (if you haven’t already seen it on CNN):

It’s a great 1-take 4-minute video that was produced in just 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Really great work with close to 200,000 views on YouTube at the time of this writing.

But, it’s actually more than another silly – yet successful – student video.

It’s the ultimate energizing campus (more like building in this case) tour video with class rooms, labs, cafeteria, commons, etc. And, it’s part of a student-led project started in Germany, University LipDub, inviting students to produce this kind of videos to showcase their institutions, students and even faculty members… just for fun.

I’ve watched a few of these videos and it really looks like this is a non-US trend started in Germany, picked up in other European countries – widely in France – and currently catching up in Canada, especially in Quebec, the French-speaking province.

Here’s a playlist including 18 videos:

After watching a few, I can’t help but think that there’s something to be done to get more of these produced in the US.

What a great project to suggest to your students and an innovative way to present your institution!
What do you think?

16 Responses

  1. Pamela Agar says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this Karine and Mike – we’ve all been enjoying this in London since we saw your tweets. And I can’t get the song out of my head!

    You’re right – it’s a fantastic way to show off an institution – really fun and surprising. I’d love to see what our students would come up with!

  2. This video is simply awesome. It is the best example I’ve seen on how colleges should approach creating videos to reach today’s students. Taking the typical corporate, 30 second tv commerical approach pales in comparison to the energy and enthusiasm in this video.

    FYI – I’ll be using this in my presentation at HighEdWeb 2009. Fits perfectly in with my discussion on how to reach the Millennial Generation

  3. Tim Brixius says:

    Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but did the students secure permission from the Black Eyed Peas to use that song? Maybe we shouldn’t worry to much about copyright in a student-produced vid, but if we want to promote such work on institutional sites, we better.

  4. Karine Joly says:

    Good point, Tim.

    Actually, I contacted the students to find out, but I did a bit of research and it looks like the Black Eyed Peas are part of the Audio ID program from YouTube.

    Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is an ad to buy the song on the video, so the group is actually monetizing the use of their work.

    I’ll let everybody know if this is the case when/if I hear back from the student.

  5. OtherWebGuy says:

    @Tim – That was my first thought, as well. We are in the middle of trying to get our students to put together some videos for our school, and the music copyright issues are the main obstacle we face at the moment.

    @Karine – Thanks for the link. That tells me that the Black-Eyed Peas are most likely aware of the fact that their music is being used, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they support it, especially for commercial purposes (which is clearly the intent of this video). It will be interesting to see if you hear anything from the students on this matter.

  6. Florangela Davila says:

    Terrific video. Definitely will screen it to my students. And yes, the copyright music issue: Would love to hear more about what the students did/did not secure. Cheers.

  7. Mike Nolan says:

    @OtherWebGuy: I wouldn’t say this video was clearly created for commercial purposes. If it was part of their course, or just a bunch of students doing it for fun, is that commercial? If the university planned, organised and paid for it then maybe, but it’s certainly not clear-cut. There are undoubtedly commercial benefits, especially when it gets featured on CNN, but I can imagine the marketing department knew little about it until it went viral!

  8. Karine Joly says:

    So, I’ve heard back from the students.

    They didn’t ask for permission to use the tune and the ad to buy the song was placed by YouTube, so it’s definitely an illustration of the YouTube Audio ID program.

  9. Travis Brock says:

    A great video I watched over and over again. I still can’t believe they gathered everyone, taught them the song, taught them the sequence, and shot it all in one morning.

    This is one of the first LipDub videos that have been widely played in the US both on YouTube and news (on CNN several times). So as more and more videos like this start making there way around the U.S. I am sure we will be seeing more of them from US students too.

  10. Kristen says:

    We are doing a video contest called “Butler’s Best Cribs” so hopefully we will see some great responses: http://go.butler.edu/lifeatbutler/?pg=7933.

  11. Chris Weaver says:

    While I appreciate the energy and enthusiasm in this video, and its one-shot technique is pretty amazing, I’m a little surprised that no one has pointed the numerous alcohol- and sex-related visual innuendos that are all over this video. Here’s a few from just the first half:
    1:02 blow-up sex doll
    1:19 alcohol reference
    1:26 alcohol reference
    2:05-2:17 alcohol reference (passing the gin bottle)
    2:30 female ‘flasher’
    2:35 alcohol reference
    I don’t even list the male flasher, the cross-dressing (I think) nun, the fake priest, and I’m sure many other things my generational sensitivities don’t immediately pick up.
    So while I genuinely like this video, and appreciate the students’ effort and energy, there’s no way I would ever think to promote this from any institutional website, due to the message it’s sending re: “good night = alcohol” (or vice versa).
    So, here’s my question: could the same student energy be captured in a student-produced video with some institutional script oversight? Or would that “kill the mood” right there?

  12. Mike Nolan says:

    I suspect it would kill the mood and you’d not get the level of enthusiasm from the students.

    While I noticed all the things you mentioned, I’m less concerned about it. I probably wouldn’t put a video like that on our homepage but I’d make sure that prospective students got to see it through some other channel as it’s fun and reflects some of the university experience in a more authentic way.

    I don’t know where Chris Weaver is from, but I suspect there are differences between Canada, USA, UK, Continental Europe and every other country – you can buy alcohol in the Quebec at 18 for example so featuring it alongside students is less taboo.

  13. Mike says:

    @Kristen Be careful using the “Cribs” name. We did something similar a few years ago, calling the pieces “MHC Cribs.” Viacom discovered it and we had to change the name (to MHC Dens — http://www.youtube.com/marshillcollege#p/u/23/boc52HiHWfo). Don’t know if it would make a difference that yours are student-produced, and ours were done by our communications/web office.

  14. Phil says:

    To settle the “commercial” things right:
    The original universitylipdub project was 100% non-commercial and based only on excitement and curiosity. The german students only wanted to find out whats up in other countries and on other universities across the world.

    With the huge viral success things started to alter and both marketing blogs and buisness schools jumped on, suggesting to utilize this kind of lipdubs to acquire students and generate advertance (attention).

    The way all good and innocent things go down these days :)

  15. Phil says:

    Args i forgot about Chris:
    The Lipdubs are made to represent the students, the people who fill the ivory towers of education with life. They show those things youre not able to transport in a brochure or in an organised tour through the holy halls of your intitute. And its better they dont try to advertise your university because it ll defenitly gonna spoil the “wow” and “what a fun” effect.

  16. Karine Joly says:


    I know that the university lipdub project was 100% non-commercial. And, I appreciate the perspective from a web visitor based in Germany.
    Marketing isn’t “evil” – especially when it uses transparency and real excitement to engage target audiences and to show them what they can expect from the school/university they want to attend.

Got a question or comment?