LIVINGSTON, NJ — Two years after the premier of the first Livingston High School (LHS) Lip Dub, which currently has more than 112,000 views on YouTube, LHS senior Matt Feresten and juniors Adriana Franchino and Sabrina Katz are heading a new LHS Lip Dub that will celebrate the school’s 65th birthday.
The live video, to be filmed on Friday, will once again feature the entire student body—but this time, instead of being decked out in school colors, the students will look a little different. As the camera travels through the halls of LHS, the viewer will take a trip through history, from the 50s to today, as the students and hallways transform into representations of each decade.
“We have each decade split up by grade, so 50s is freshmen, 60s is sophomores, 70s is seniors, 80s is some clubs, 90s is the juniors and the 2000s will be more clubs,” said Feresten.
“We didn’t want it to be the same exact thing as two years ago, so we added the element of going through the decades since it’s the 65th anniversary of LHS,” said Franchino. “I don’t think we’ve found anything like this. We’ve looked through the entire YouTube network and there is nothing that showed the evolution of time, so it was really an interesting perspective on this.”
According to the three producers, the video will begin in black and white, with the freshmen dancing to Elvis Presley while dressed in 50s-themed clothing. The sophomores appear next with 60s music by the Beatles, and the theme continues until 2018.
The video will be filmed all in one take, with Ryan Liu managing the camera stabilizer as Feresten pulls him backward through the hallways. Simultaneously, Franchino and Katz will run through the school to ensure that their peers are prepared at every turn.
“You get the real ‘ra-ra’ spirit value of the students when you’re doing it live,” said Franchino. “If it’s just pre-recorded, it would just be like ‘one, two, three, go’ and then they would do it, but if you’re passing them, they go really hard and we like that aspect of it.”
The team only has two or three shots to get it right, which Katz said puts more pressure on them, but she was also confident that the adrenalin will keep them going.
The three also said the most challenging element is the finale, where the production team will use a drone to catch an aerial view of the student body spelling out “2018” on the LHS turf.
“That was our hardest part,” said Franchino. “We went out in a monsoon to the turf to measure all the yards, but we have all the measurements and we’re good to go and it will hopefully come out well.”
Even more challenging was the research involved in using a drone and the process of obtaining the licensing and insurance needed to do it. Luckily for the LHS Lip Dub team, Environmental Science teacher Alexander Kuziola was licensed and willing to take on the project.
The ultimate goal with this project was to produce a lip dub that was unlike anything else that has been done, and Feresten, Franchino and Katz believe they have accomplished that.
“We researched a lot of lip dubs because we really wanted to think of something that would be different from every other lip dub that every school has been doing for the last three of four years,” said Feresten. “So we came up with this time travel thing where it goes through each decade, the filter changes, the music changes, the outfits change, and nobody’s ever done this. Another cool thing we’ve seen is drone shots, so we thought if we can pull of a drone shot on the field it would be perfect.”
The trio began this process in June of 2017, shortly after last year’s lip dub, “Livingstrong,” was completed. With Feresten, Franchino and Katz in the driver seat, the 2018 lip dub is nearly a year in the making for about 25 LHS sophomores, juniors and seniors who have been hard at work after school and late at night throughout the school year to perfect the project.
“This is something we all wanted to take on, especially after the video last year,” said Katz. “We were all in the studios really sappy and emotional because it was all over and it’s such a big process. There were big shoes to fill with all of [last year’s seniors] gone, and we all collectively agreed that we wanted to step up.”
Franchino and Katz, who were the only two sophomores involved in the 2017 lip dub, were excited to have three AM Wired classes (last year’s, next year’s and their own) working on this year’s production.
“Last year’s experience that we got to go through was incredible, and we wanted to bring on new people that weren’t on crew last year to have them have that experience of such a big project,” said Franchino. “We really had a lot of fun last year and we worked really hard and it came out great so we want to do it again.”
Although this endeavor was something they wanted to take on for their own personal satisfaction, Franchino and Katz both hope to continue their film production careers in college and said this project could help them achieve that goal. Franchino is currently looking at Penn State, Sacred Heart or Rutgers, while Katz has her sights set on the University of Southern California or the University of Miami as a second choice.
Feresten, graduating in June, is heading to Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia to major in film and television. He also said his dream is to study abroad in Paris, and potentially live there some day.
“We hope that the lip dub gains school spirit for Livingston High School,” said Feresten. “There are so many cool programs in the school—like the robotics team and theater and all the sports—but nobody really supports one another, I feel, so we’re hoping that doing this will really bring everyone together.”
The LHS Lip Dub 2018 team can be contacted at LHSLipDub2018@gmail.com. In the event of rain in the forecast for Friday, the video will be filmed instead on Thursday. To check weather updates or to see previews of the upcoming lip dub, visit the Livingston High School Lip Dub 2018 Facebook page.